Jackie Goldschneider is opening up about being downgraded to a friend role for season 13 of the Real Housewives of New Jersey.
While the reality TV star insists it was her decision to shift to a friend role for season 13, AllAboutTRH sources tell a different story.
During a recent interview with PEOPLE, Jackie claimed that she decided to downgrade to a friend role for season 13 in order to prioritize her health. Jackie has been candid about struggling with an 18-year-long eating disorder. Last season Bravo fans saw Jackie on the road to recovery as she entered therapy for her eating disorder. However, Jackie says that she didn’t believe that she could balance being a full-time Housewife and the intense therapy she continues to undergo.
“When Bravo approached me about casting for season 13, I obviously was very excited to be a part of the show again because I love the show,” Jackie explains. “But my recovery was not in the place that I expected it to be. It was moving very slowly. I was still being triggered by stress, and I still needed a lot of intense therapy.”
As a result, Bravo offered her a friend role, and she says that it was the best move for her journey. Despite the downgrade, Jackie insists that her presence will still be felt during season 13 of the show.
“They were so supportive,” Jackie says. “And even though that was a really tough pill to swallow, and it was hard for me to step back a little bit after having been such a big part of the show for so many years, I really knew that that was probably the best solution.”
“In retrospect, it was the best decision that I could have made,” she continues. “It was really tough to do, but I’m really proud of myself for prioritizing myself. I’m so incredibly healthy now, and I don’t know that wouldn’t bee the case if I didn’t do this. So I have no regrets.”
“And it really was the sweet spot for me, being a Friend,” she adds. “I had a killer season and, aside from seeing the poster without my face on it — which is a little bit of an ego punch — other than that, I really don’t feel like there was that big of a difference between this season or any other season for me as far as being in the mix. It was just much less stress.”
Despite Jackie’s claims, a source close to production tells AllAboutTRH that it was Bravo’s choice to demote Jackie and that she wanted to return as a full-time Housewife for season 13.
“We were happy to see Jackie open up a bit more last season but realize she doesn’t have the factor needed to be full-time,” a production source told AllAboutTRH back in May.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey returns for season 13 on February 7.