Housewives‘ Dina: I Had Everything to Do with Exposing Danielle’s Past

Housewives‘ Dina: I Had Everything to Do with Exposing Danielle’s Past
Ray Tamarra/Getty

06/17/2009 AT 12:00 AM EDT

On the explosive season finale of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Dina Manzo found herself in the middle of a melee after her costar, Danielle Staub, accused her of unearthing an embarrassing book and her sister, Caroline Manzo, took the blame for it. Now, Dina tells PEOPLE that she never denied talking about Staub's past with friends and family and admits she was part of bringing the book to light. She also talks about what it was like having kids in the room during the fight and how she gets along with her nemesis now -- as well as her sister-in-law Jacqueline Laurita. -- Brian Orloff

Were you surprised when Danielle brought the book to dinner?Nothing surprises me from her. It was in poor taste. Our kids were there. I guess in watching the show now, I didn't know how much she exposed her kids to and now I see it. So, it's not shocking at all that she'd do that in front of her kids. Although it did seem like my daughter Lexi was in the room, Lexi was not in the room. I asked her to leave when Teresa asked her children to leave. Whenever I look at that footage and I see her daughters in the background, I just cringe.

What is the root of the tension between the two of you?I'm watching the show now and I'm starting to put some pieces together. My thing is right now I'm trying to move forward from it, and I don’t want to rehash anything. It's hard to watch something that happened a year ago. All the emotions start coming up and everything, and I think I make it very clear in the show that I really run from drama. All I ever wanted was for this girl to leave me alone. I meant no malice toward her. I never wanted to hurt her. I never did anything really to hurt her other than respond to her remarks. And things just got out of control.

At dinner Jacqueline said that you were lying -- and that you, not your sister, exposed the book. What did you think of that remark and Caroline taking the blame?I felt bad because it wasn't like I didn't do it but Caroline did. In hindsight, when I look at the footage, I wish I would have said, "Say what you want, I really don't care," because that's how I felt. I never denied anything. That's what's making me mad right now is that it seems like I was lying. I never denied talking about Danielle with friends and family. I never denied that I was part of exposing the book. I just literally never had the book in my hands. Literally. Like, I never had possession of the book. So how can I go around showing something that was never in my hands? So Jacqueline misunderstood what I was saying. She thought I was saying I never had anything to do with it. But, no, I had everything to do with it.

Are you and Jacqueline talking again?Oh yeah, everything's cool now. We were at a bad place during filming and it wasn’t totally Danielle's fault. Of course the situation had a lot to do with it. We're fine now. That's the most important thing.

You mentioned that Danielle was gossiping about you. What was she saying?Vicious lies. I never wanted to comment on it because it just feeds that bulls--. But let's think about this for a second: Here's this woman who obviously holds nothing back. If there was any truth to anything she was thinking or spreading, don't you think she would have come out with it on the show? It was all mean, untrue gossip that I will never start repeating.

What is your relationship with Danielle like now?Like a business arrangement. We're civil. And that's all I ever wanted. There's no reason for us to love or hate each other. We treat each other like grown women -- adults -- should treat each other. There's no reason for hugs or kisses and there's no reason for backstabbing.

Are you happy with the editing and how you were portrayed on the show?A lot of who know me are like, "That's not the Dina I know." Usually I'm very laid back and I don't get annoyed but the entire time during filming I was pissed off. It was just an annoying thorn in my side that wouldn't go away -- this Danielle situation. So is that me angry and annoyed? Yeah. But most never get to see that side of me because I hardly ever get mad. Ray Tamarra/Getty

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