‘RHONJ’ Jennifer Aydin Says Melissa Was ‘Collateral Damage’ in Exposing Margaret as Source of Cheating Rumor, Denies “Downward Spiral” in Marriage, and Claps Back at Tamra’s Shade

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RHONJ Jennifer Aydin Says Melissa Was ‘Collateral Damage’ in Exposing Margaret as Source of Cheating Rumor, Denies "Downward Spiral" in Marriage, and Talks "Tre's Soldier" Label, Plus Tamra's Shade

Jennifer Aydin has no regrets when it comes to meeting with Margaret Josephs‘ former best friend, Laura Marasca Jensen, amid The Real Housewives of New Jersey season 13.

Even though repeating the false rumor about Melissa Gorga allegedly cheating on husband Joe Gorga that she was told by Laura ultimately led to the Gorgas’ current estrangement from Teresa Giudice, due to Teresa’s role in the repeating the claim, Jennifer stands by the decision and points to a double standard amongst the cast.

“Why am I held to another standard? Why do I have to be holier than thou when they all tried to crucify me last year?” she asked during a February 28 interview with Entertainment Tonight. “I don’t claim to be better than everybody else … I retaliate. You mess with me, you get it right back at you.”

Although Jennifer has been labeled a hypocrite for repeating the rumor, even though she berated Margaret for exposing husband Bill Aydin‘s affair on the season 12 premiere, Jennifer is unconcerned, noting that the entire cast has “been hypocrites at times” and accusing Margaret of her third strike.

“This was never about Melissa. This showed a pattern,” Jennifer explained. “Unfortunately, Melissa happened to be the collateral damage … [It] was never the goal, to hurt Melissa.”

According to Jennifer, Margaret’s hands were dirty not only with Bill but also when it came to the Melissa cheating rumor because she was allegedly the one that communicated it to Laura. She even reportedly played a role in the cheating speculation surrounding Jackie Goldschneider‘s husband, Evan Goldschneider, in season 11.

“It’s always coming from Margaret,” Jennifer stated. “I just wanted [my castmates] to realize like, this is your friend. Maybe you should have a talk with your friend and tell her to stop saying these things to her friends.”

“Regardless if I [ever] repeated it, or Teresa ever repeated it, somebody was going to repeat it,” she continued. “It was just a matter of time, and I wouldn’t have been true or authentic to myself, or would it have been fair to the audience, if I just went all season without mentioning it.”

But Jennifer didn’t plan to repeat the rumor. Instead, she let it slip to show the other women how Margaret keeps “an arsenal” of negative information about the cast in her back pocket.

While it has been rumored that Laura released the false report in retaliation for Margaret failing to secure her a role on RHONJ, Jennifer said she’s not against Laura joining the series — if only for her own redemption.

“I almost welcome her coming on at some point in time, so that I don’t get shot as the messenger, you know?” she admitted.

Amid season 13, Margaret proclaimed Jennifer’s marriage was in a “downward spiral.” But as Jennifer insisted, she is “living the dream” with husband Bill.

“I have a real marriage that has real situations, and Bill and I communicate,” she shared. “We have civil conversations, we get heated, we are like every other marriage … There’s no downward spiral. I don’t know, last I checked, I am living the dream, honey!”

But looking back at her openness about his affair in season 12, Jennifer admitted she should’ve consulted Bill before “embarrassing him.”

“We have a conversation sometimes where he thinks like, ‘I feel like it was easy for you to share this story because it was my infidelity and not yours,’ and that really struck a chord with me, because it wasn’t fair to him,” she noted.

Still, as Jennifer confirmed, “We are past that. It’s a new year. It’s a new chapter.”

As for her drama with Dolores Catania, Jennifer credited their early season 13 spat to Dolores’ lack of support for Jennifer in season 12.

“There was never any acknowledgement of my feelings at reunion,” Jennifer explained. “It ended, but there was no closure for me.”

According to Jennifer, she couldn’t move forward with her friendship with Dolores due to the lingering “animosity” she was feeling, which she claimed was due to the “little digs” Dolores has made against her over the years — and the fact that Dolores is much different on-screen than she is off.

“I wanted her to be like, ‘I didn’t know I was treating you this way, I didn’t know you were feeling this way. I care about you. I don’t want you to feel that way…’ and that’s not what I got,” she stated. “I got, ‘That’s how she feels? All right. Good, then I’m not going to be friends with her.'”

Although Jennifer has been accused of being jealous of Dolores’ history with Teresa, she said there was “absolutely” no truth to the report.

“Just because you’ve known someone for longer doesn’t necessarily equal to being close with them,” she pointed out. “There is no jealousy there. … I will say with all confidence that Teresa and I are much closer friends than Dolores and Teresa.”

Jennifer has also been accused of being a “soldier for Tre.”

“It’s the same thing where we call Jackie and Melissa ‘Margaret soldiers,'” she said in response. “Teresa and I hang out a lot, OK? I celebrate my friends. I mean, I’ll post my nephew’s birthday, and nobody tells me how I’m kissing my nephew’s a–. But when I post one of my bestie’s birthdays it’s, ‘Oh, you’re kissing her [a–].'”

Also during the interview, Jennifer responded to Tamra Judge saying on her podcast, Two Ts in a Pod, that Jennifer “bugs the sh-t” out of her.

“Didn’t she get fired?” Jennifer asked, only to be told that Tamra recently returned to RHOC. “I don’t know if this is Tamra Judge or maybe Tamra Grudge.”

After insisting she “never said anything bad” about Tamra, Jennifer suspected Tamra was triggered by a comment she made about hot tub moments being “über cringe.”

“I guess somebody had asked me if there was ever something on camera that I would never do, and I had said, like, a hot-tub scene with my husband,” Jennifer recalled, stating that she wasn’t speaking specifically about Tamra.

“I don’t know if this is some kind of underlying resentment that she has towards me and she’s holding a grudge, but I’m not either here or there about Tamra, and I hope this time she could make it stick with her reign on Housewives, I really hope — and that’s, like, no shade,” Jennifer added. “I’m not bothered by her. [But] she can be bothered by me all she wants.”

The Real Housewives of New Jersey season 13 airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Bravo.