July 26, 2013 4:00am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
'Real Housewives of New Jersey' Feud: Caroline Manzo on the Retreat From Hell
The Gorga-Giudice retreat isn't going exactly as planned.
In the most recent episode of Bravo's The Real Housewives of New Jersey, viewers saw the long-running feud between the Gorgas and the Giudices get physical when brothers-in-law Joe Gorga and Joe Giudice got into an altercation during a retreat meant to bring peace to the family.
Toward the end of the episode, Teresa Giudice summoned Caroline Manzo to the Lake George, N.Y., location where relationship experts were trying (unsuccessfully) to help the family work through their issues. It ended with Joe Gorga and his sister, Teresa, breaking down in tears while being counseled by Dr. Venus Nicolino.
Ahead of Sunday's upcoming episode, Manzo talked to The Hollywood Reporter about what's ahead for the Gorgas and Giudices and previewed another big trip for the cast.
The Hollywood Reporter: What was going through your mind when you got the call from Teresa?
Caroline Manzo: It was shock. I certainly didn't expect to hear from anyone. I expected to hear stories afterward. I was very surprised to hear from Teresa. As I mentioned on the show, for her to call me, I knew there had to be a crisis mode going on. She's a strong girl and doesn't usually ask for help. I knew something was up.
THR: How long did it take for you to make up your mind to go?
Manzo: I had a conversation with my husband, but it happened very quickly. She called me very early in the morning, and I was in Lake George by 10:30 in the morning. It's a four-hour drive. The bottom line is, I made a promise to both Teresa and Joe that I would be there for them. If they needed me, good or bad, I've got to help.
THR: Were you surprised that the fight between the two Joes got physical?
Manzo: Yes. It's something you don't necessarily expect when gathering with your friends and family. I'm sure it was a surprise for them as well. It's not something on your agenda. I don't think anybody expected that.
THR: Once you got up there, Dr. V had already arrived. Were you able to do much to help?
Manzo: For me, I felt that once Dr. V was there -- I think all I will say is that I was very pleasantly surprised when I got there, and my role kind of shifted in my mind once I got there. I won't say how.
THR: Do you think Teresa and her brother truly want to make amends?
Manzo: There is no denying how much they love each other, but they are both very, very stubborn. The two of them -- they have the same mentality that: "You have to give." "No, I don't have to give, you do." In order to make it work, somebody has to give. They do love each other very much, but you have to remember, this is a few years' worth of estrangement, if you will. And to some degree, within a couple of years, beyond what is said and done to each other, there is a trickle-down effect on so many other people. The hurt is very deep; it's not going to be an easy fix. It will take a lot more than what you've seen already, and you do see a lot of that happen as the season continues. This is not over yet; there is plenty more.
THR: Earlier in the season, you reached out to Joe Gorga, prompting his wife, Melissa, to confess to Joe that she was annoyed that you hadn't reached out to her as well. Have you discussed that with her?
Manzo: I haven't talked to her about it, but I was very surprised and a little hurt, without a doubt. My intentions were pure and good. Over the past couple of years, it's always been made very clear that Melissa said she wants to be kept out of it: "Teresa and Joe, keep me out of it." I met with Joe and didn't involve her out of respect to her feelings of not wanting to be part of it. When she said that, I was kind of taken aback. I'm not going to lie. It definitely hurt my feelings, but it's one of those things; point taken.
THR: Was it hard for you not to take sides in all this?
Manzo: Last year, it certainly was hard. I think obviously my attitude showed, but after a while, when you sit down and start to think and pull yourself out of it and look at it for what it is, you see things differently and realize you're a part of the problem and not part of the solution. Once I came to that realization, I took a step back and decided to be part of the solution rather than the problem.
THR: When you got to Lake George, were you hopeful they could patch things up?
Manzo: This is a tough bunch. They are very passionate people and very stubborn. I had my reservations only because when everybody gets [stuck in] the same mindset, it's kind of hard to move forward because somebody has to bend. Unless somebody bends, there is not going to be any movement. So that was going through my mind. I was hoping that people would start to bend a little bit.
THR: What else is coming up this season?
Manzo: I think this year, for all of us, the story line is this feud. Everything else is secondary. You don't see a lot going on outside of this feud this season because it was just so consuming to all of us. For me, the biggest thing you'll see is my change of attitude and movement on my part to try to make things work. In a few weeks, we'll be going to Arizona to try [working through the issues] again, and the circle gets bigger: Now all of us go, the housewives and the husbands. We try to make things better as a group. There were some of the most amazing moments ever; a lot of truth comes out. A lot of people that don't necessarily open up, do, and what they reveal is shocking, and you'll sit there and cry. All of us cried so much in Arizona you could have filled a river. And the people that expressed these emotions are people you would never expect to. It was amazing.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.