Melissa Gorga is opening up about the state of her marriage with hubby Joe Gorga following their recent relationship issues, which played out on season 11 of the Real Housewives of New Jersey.
In a new interview with Us Weekly, Melissa reveals that her and Joe’s relationship is doing “much better” following a rocky year.
“I know we’ve been married for 16 years, but we are still learning each other. There’s different turning points; I would say, in marriages,” Melissa explained. “Joe is not big on change, and he likes things to stay the same. He likes to know that everything’s going to be intact, and probably, that’s what makes him a great husband. But for me, I’m all about change right now.”
While Joe and Melissa usually watch episodes of RHONJ together, they chose to “skip it” for season 11.
As RHONJ viewers know, Joe struggled to support Melissa’s growing career even though Melissa insists her hubby supports all of her endeavors.
“It’s not that he’s not proud of that. He is proud of it, but it does pull me out of the house a lot,” she noted about their ups and downs. “It was becoming strenuous for us because he just doesn’t want it. And I’m not willing to give it up.”
The pandemic allowed the couple, who married in 2004, to spend more time together and face their relationship issues head-on.
“The pandemic, I think, put us together a lot more hours than we usually are because usually, he’s at work. So we don’t have time to argue about this stuff because by the time he gets home … I worked all day, he worked all day, but all of the time to talk about it was almost like it was rough for us,” Melissa noted. “We filmed season  during the pandemic last year, so you were kind of seeing … us just going at it.”
Melissa admits that she was “embarrassed” by their marital drama playing out on Bravo but says it’s all part of marriage.
“At the beginning, I was embarrassed. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe we did this,’ but I feel like it’s real,” she said. “This is what happens. It is what it is. There’s ups and downs. Nothing’s perfect. I know a lot of people always wanted to believe that we were, [but] we are not, we have arguments. We love each other hard, but we also butt heads.”
The two have made significant changes in their marriage since 2020.
“I told him to stop picking on me. So he stopped picking on every little thing I do as if it was going to have like change our life, every move I made,” Melissa shared. “I’m really picking and choosing a little bit more as to when I actually have to go somewhere and stay overnight and be somewhere. I’m being a little more choosy where before I was like, ‘Nope, I’m doing every single thing. This is what I have to do.’ I think I’m picking and choosing a little bit more now.”
Meanwhile, Melissa also opened up about her daughter Antonia Gorga’s reaction to her and Joe’s marital issues airing on RHONJ.
“She would be like, ‘Why are [magazines and social media users] saying you’re getting a divorce? Why are they saying you’re fighting? What is this?’” the reality star told Us Weekly. “I had to explain to her, ‘Antonia, we’re on reality TV. … It’s the littlest thing, and they make it a big thing. So everything is not what it seems.’”
Melissa said that she reminded Antonia that she and Joe have “chosen” to share their lives with viewers, which means showing the good, the bad, and the ugly.
“She understood … but I think it was startling,” Melissa confessed before noting that Antonia spending more time online, so she saw more of the headlines than her younger siblings, Gino, 13, and Joey, 11, did. “She was like, ‘Wait, is everything OK?’ And that broke my heart.”
Season 12 of the Real Housewives of New Jersey is expected to premiere on Bravo in early 2022.