Did Teresa Giudice really try to bring her sister-in-law Melissa Gorga down by planning a public expose of her alleged stripper past several seasons ago on The Real Housewives of New Jersey? The question of whether Melissa really did once work as a stripper and whether Teresa purposefully tried to reveal that secret was a big story line on the fourth season.
The subject, now known as “Strippergate,” once again became a hot topic of conversation on the current seventh season, when Jacqueline Laurita brought it up during the cast’s Vermont trip. According to Jacqueline, Teresa knew what was about to happen but didn’t warn Melissa. When Melissa wouldn’t acknowledge that Jacqueline warned her that night about Teresa’s involvement, Jacqueline screamed that she was being a “fake, phony b**ch.” Teresa denied that she knew and, in turn, suggested that Jacqueline played a part in Strippergate, which further infuriated Jacqueline so much that she screamed that Teresa’s was a “twisted b***ch.”
Jacqueline is apparently still very angry that Teresa tried to implicate her in Strippergate. On Sunday, Jacqueline tweeted the link to an interview that All About the Tea did with a former recurring cast member that threatened to expose Teresa’s role in Strippergate. The interview was with Penny Drossos, who used to appear on the show regularly with her husband, Johnny “The Greek” Karagiorgis, who has since passed away from a heart attack.
In the interview, Penny said that Teresa definitely played an active role in planning Strippergate. In explaining how she was approached to get involved in the setup, Penny admitted that she never directly spoke to Teresa but that it was Kim DePaola whom she spoke with. Yet, Penny maintained that Teresa knew about everything and gave Kim D., the go-between, the final yes to go ahead with the setup. According to Penny, Teresa wanted to make sure that her name wasn’t brought into it.
“Teresa never directly approached me [about the setup]… it was Kim D. who came first. When I asked her if Teresa would be ok with it, the answer was yes. After going back and forth, Teresa gave the go-ahead, but told me that her name could never be mentioned.”
Penny added that Teresa definitely wanted to bring her sister-in-law down.
“Teresa knew everything, step by step, what was going to take place. She was the one who wanted someone to worked with Melissa to come forward…”
Penny criticized Teresa for now playing innocent. According to Penny, Teresa told her that she needs to keep her hands clean and not have her brother, Joe Gorga, find out about what she did.
“I think Teresa denying it shows what a coward she is. I’ll never forget her saying to me as we were having dessert at Cafe Neo, ‘I need to act like I don’t know you – I can’t have this backfire on me. I can’t let my brother know that I had anything to do with this.’ Yes I took the fall for her, and what a fool I was to believe someone like her! Late night phone calls… texts… then deny. Please – she needs help and so do I, for falling for her s**t!”
Since Penny said that she never spoke directly to Teresa about starting the setup, perhaps her cafe conversation with Teresa took place after the stripper accusation became public?
Penny even claimed that she has proof of Teresa’s involvement. Apparently, Teresa and Penny’s late husband exchanged text messages about Strippergate.
“She better tread lightly. I do have his phone and all of her text messages of how she wanted things done, so nothing came back to her. I know how she wanted the finale episode to go…”
In July, Penny tweeted that Teresa was the one feeding people info about Melissa and asking them to spread it.
It was at Penny Drossos’ salon that Strippergate first began. On a Real Housewives of New Jersey Season 4 episode, Teresa Giudice and Kim DePaola were in Penny’s salon getting some beauty treatments when a man whom Penny employed at the time, Angelo Vorhees, came in and claimed that he knew Melissa Gorga. Angelo told Kim D. and Teresa that Melissa used to work for him at a gentleman’s club as a dancer.
“I know your sister-in-law, Melissa. We go way back. She actually worked for me, at a little gentlemen’s club in Elizabeth.”
On the Season 4 finale episode, during Kim D.’s annual Posche fashion show, Angelo greeted Melissa and Teresa. When Melissa and Teresa later went in the restroom, Teresa, feigning ignorance that she had met Angelo before, asked Melissa about Angelo and whether she knew him because she used to work for him. Teresa then told Melissa that Angelo claims that she used to work for him as a dancer. Melissa said that she was only a bartender at the establishment, which wasn’t even really a strip club, for about a week.
“During the day, but I don’t know, at night?” Teresa asked when Melissa reminded her that she was a teacher when she met Joe.
Teresa encouraged Melissa to confront Angelo, but Melissa refused. Out in the restaurant, Angelo told a woman that Teresa and Kim D. plotted to take Melissa down because she acts so holier-than-thou. He then left before having had any further contact with Melissa and Teresa. Meanwhile, Jacqueline Laurita got texts from a friend warning her that Angelo was planning to embarrass Melissa that night and that Teresa was right next to him when he said that.
Outside of the restaurant, Jacqueline told Melissa about the texts that she received from her friend and said that she believes Teresa set her up. Former co-star Caroline Manzo and her daughter, Lauren Manzo, revealed Teresa told them that Melissa used to work as a stripper.
When Joe and Melissa got in their car to leave, Teresa confronted Jacqueline about having told Melissa that she was behind the setup. Jacqueline told Teresa what her friend texted her. Teresa maintained her innocence and blasted Jacqueline.
“You’re trying to help, but you just caused problems,” Teresa told Jacqueline.
When Jacqueline refused to reveal her friend’s name, Teresa accuses Jacqueline of trying to set her up. Later, in a confessional interview, Teresa said that Jacqueline’s husband, Chris Laurita, once told her husband, Joe Giudice, that he met Jacqueline while she was a stripper.
“So maybe she got involved because she has some guilty conscience with the whole stripper past. She’s a (bleep) (bleep).”
In September, Penny Drossos did an interview with Real Mr. Housewife in which she denied that Jacqueline was involved in Strippergate.
Back in October of 2012, in an interview with Star magazine, Kim DePaola denied that Teresa had anything to do with Strippergate.
“Did I know what I was getting us into? Yes. Did Teresa? Not at all. I know for a fact Melissa worked at Lookers and was a dancer…Not only have eyewitnesses told me, random people have come into my store, Posche Boutique, saying she was a dancer not a bartender…Melissa doesn’t like the word stripper, so we’ll call her a dancer.”
Perhaps Kim D. protected Teresa then because they were friends? They’re certainly not friends now. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, after last week’s episode aired, during which Kim D. claimed that Joe Giudice cheated on Teresa repeatedly while she was serving her prison sentence, Teresa wrote in her blog that she’s done with Kim D.
On Sunday, Kim D. defended Jacqueline Laurita. Kim D. said that Teresa and Melissa turned on Jacqueline.
Earlier on Sunday, Kim DePaola, in response to all the “smack talk” at the Mohegan Sun Casino over the weekend, threatened to spill the beans. Whose secrets will Kim D. be spilling? Apparently, Teresa Giudice’s. Teresa made an appearance at the casino on Saturday. It sure looks as if Kim D. will soon be revising her story about Teresa’s involvement in bringing down Melissa Gorga via Strippergate all those years ago.
[Featured Image by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]