“Real Housewives of New Jersey” newbie Rachel Fuda says series OG Teresa Giudice wrote her off “automatically” because of her friendship with Melissa Gorga.
“So, coming on the show as Melissa’s friend … I personally felt like I was immediately polarized — even without polarizing myself,” Fuda, 31, says on an upcoming episode of Page Six’s “Virtual Reali-Tea” podcast.
“Just put Melissa next to me and I’m, like, written off automatically,” the Bravo rookie continues, “which sucks for me because I would have liked a fair chance to have gotten to know Teresa and maybe flourish our own friendship.”
Fuda joined the cast when Giudice, 50, wasn’t getting along with her brother, Joe Gorga, and his wife, Melissa, 43. The divided parties had yet to make up after a series of heated exchanges at the “RHONJ” Season 12 reunion.
In the Season 13 trailer, it’s clear that Fuda — whose teenage stepson is best friends with Melissa and Joe’s son Gino, 15 — faced conflict with Giudice during production.
“Mind your f—king business,” Giudice tells Fuda in the clip, to which the latter responds in an unbothered tone, “Oh, Teresa.”
Despite the discord, Fuda believes she and Giudice had the potential to bond over their shared experience as matriarchs of blended families.
Fuda shares two young daughters with her husband, John Fuda, and is in the process of adopting his 16-year-old son, Jaiden, from a previous relationship. Meanwhile, Giudice and her new husband, Luis “Louie” Ruelas, bought a home together in October 2021 and have been cohabitating there with three of her four daughters and one of his two sons.
“Who knows what would have been possible? She also has a blended family and we talk a little bit about that during the season,” Rachel tells us.
“But we’re just immediately polarized, I feel like, which sucks because it doesn’t need to be like that.”
The drama between Giudice and the Gorgas hit its apex in the summer of 2022 after the “Turning the Tables” author brought up rumors that Melissa cheated on Joe, 47, with longtime friend Nick Barrotta. A source previously told Page Six the Gorgas — who have been married since 2004 and share three children — “laughed off” the claims.
Melissa — who, with Joe, subsequently decided to skip Giudice and Ruelas’ Aug. 6 wedding — later said on her “On Display” podcast, “Sometimes when things are too toxic and you try over and over and over again and it just keeps coming back around to the same thing, even if it’s family, you have to let it go.”
Rachel tells Page Six she is heartbroken by the fallout.
“The whole thing is just sad … and there’s so much animosity and anger and sadness that, how do you come back from this? Like, we all need family therapy here,” she says, adding that Melissa has “navigated the [situation the] best that she could.”
The brunette beauty elaborates, “I gave advice when it was necessary, but I don’t really feel like there was anything I could have said to help her. She’s her own person and her and Joe figured it out for themselves.”
Amid the familial strife, Rachel was busy making plans to become Jaiden’s legal guardian — an emotional yet rewarding journey that she is thrilled to guide “New Jersey” viewers through.
“You’ll get to see the adoption process [this season] and how that comes to fruition. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” she says. “I really credit the show for pushing me in that direction because we went down this road before.”
Rachel says that attorney pals previously told her not to “bother” with the adoption, but filming for “New Jersey” ignited conversations that caused her to reassess her thoughts on the matter.
“The show honestly helped change my life … in the most positive way possible. I’m excited for everybody to see that unravel, the adoption process because I feel like it’s a very unique personal story and not something that’s been seen a whole lot before,” she continues. “And it’s very, very, very close to my heart.”
“The Real Housewives of New Jersey” Season 13 premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.