Fans of The Real Housewives of New Jersey have seen Joe, 41, and Melissa’s rocky relationship play out on season 11, which kicked off in February. In the mid-season trailer, Margaret, 54, called the Gorga’s Guide to Success author out for how he treats his wife, which she said she doesn’t regret.
“I called him chauvinistic because he wants to put women in very traditional roles,” Margaret told Us on Thursday, April 8, while promoting her new book, Caviar Dreams, Tuna Fish Budget: How to Survive in Business and Life. “And I think it was hard for him to see his wife grow. I wasn’t trying to be mean to Joe Gorga. I was just trying to point out something to him.”
“I think we’re very close and I love him very much. But, listen, I’m close enough to him to say, ‘You’re acting chauvinistic. Don’t say this stupid s—t.’ I’m close enough that I could say it and we can move on from it,” she explained.
Margaret confessed that Joe has adjusted his ways a bit, but believes he started to panic when Melissa, 42, was becoming a bigger success than him.
“I think he was insecure of her success. Like, ‘Hey, don’t forget about me,’” she told Us of her RHONJ costar. “But I think, like, when men get to a certain age and Melissa is a shining star, whatever, no one wants to be left behind. You all start on an even playing field and things happen.”
The designer added: “But you know, it’s brought them a lot of great things. And I think sometimes, you know, men could get anxious. They’re feeling older, whatever it is, but they’re great. They’re good.”
Joe and Melissa wed in 2004 and share three children, Antonia, 15, Joey, 13, and Gino, 10. Although they’ve faced many ups and downs in their relationship, a source exclusively told Us earlier this month that “they do love each other immensely” — but they’re “not the perfect couple.”
The insider added: “At the end of the day, they’re like Bonnie and Clyde — they’re a package deal and have to be together to be for the show.”
Melissa confirmed to Us in an exclusive interview in February that her husband expects her to be the traditional homemaker and her personal growth has challenged their dynamic.
“He likes things to stay the same. I’ve been with him since I was 24 years old. So I’ve changed and I feel like this is a scary part of marriage,” she said at the time. “Either you’re going to grow together or you’re going to grow apart. And I think we’re fighting really hard to grow together.”
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs on Bravo Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi