Dina Manzo Reveals Why She Quit RHONJ and Discusses Trauma From 2017 Assault


RHONJ’s Dina Manzo is speaking her truth. The Bravo alum reveals why she left RHONJ after only one season. She also opens up about her 2017 assault for the first time.

The RHONJ OG recently appeared on Dr. Daniel Amen’s Scan My Brain podcast, where she discussed the many traumas she’s endured in her life, including her “sheltered” childhood, leaving RHONJ, her 2017 assault, and so much more.

Dina Manzo is an OG Jersey Housewife, as any longtime Bravo fan knows. Season one of RHONJ premiered on Bravo in May 2009. The first two seasons of the show starred Dina Manzo, Caroline Manzo, Teresa Giudice, Jacqueline Laurita, and Danielle Staub.

Caroline Manzo, Teresa Giudice, and Dina Manzo shop in Atlantic City during season one of RHONJ
Caroline Manzo, Teresa Giudice, and Dina Manzo filming for season one of RHONJ.

However, Dina’s time on RHONJ was short-lived, not because Bravo kicked her to the curb. Dina decided to quit RHONJ after only one season. Producers begged Dina to film a few scenes for season two, and she obliged in order to close out her storyline on the show.

Dina touts herself as “the first one of the Housewives series to actually quit and leave.”

So, why did Dina walk away from RHONJ?

“I thought my peace was more important,” Dina explained.

She also shared her belief that fame is a trap, noting that some Housewives “love the chaos and the hair-pulling,”

“I’ve seen firsthand how much it changes people,” Dina admitted.

Dina went on to open up about the 2017 assault she and her husband, David Cantin, endured allegedly at the hand of her ex-husband Tommy Manzo.

Four years after the incident, Tommy Manzo was charged as an alleged “accomplice” in the home invasion that left Dina and Dave bound, beaten, and robbed.

Dina Manzo and David Cantin pose on red carpet; Tommy Manzo smiles for photo
Tommy Manzo was arrested as an alleged accomplice in the 2017 assault on Dina Manzo and David Cantin

Dina and Dave were tied up, assaulted with a baseball bat, and robbed of $500 and Dina’s new engagement ring.

Now, six years later, Dina is opening up about the “near-death experience.” 

“In 2017, my husband and I … were in New Jersey for an event, and we came home to two men in our house who assaulted us and zip-tied us together. I have physical injuries, emotional injuries, lingering fear, and I thought I was going to die,” Dina said.

The 51-year-old reveals she “went through my whole life in a moment, which was a very beautiful moment, oddly enough. It was the most peace I’ve ever felt…[I] kind of [became] proud of myself for my accomplishments through my life and grateful to understand true love.”

She continued, “And I just prayed for my daughter that she would be okay, and I was like, ‘Okay, I’m ready.’ And they, they left, and I was left with that.”

Dina admitted that there were “many layers to the trauma” before elaborating further on the emotional and physical toll the assault had on her life.

Dina Manzo celebrates the holidays with her daughter Lexi Manzo and husband David Cantin
Dina Manzo celebrates the holidays with her daughter Lexi Manzo and husband David Cantin

“Not only … what happened physically, but emotionally,” she detailed. “The emotional part of who was arrested because of it. And the healing that I have to do for that.”

Dina added that as a result of the trauma, she feels a “difference in [her] brain.”

“I feel the difference in my body, [and] obviously my mind,” she noted.

Meanwhile, Dina also revealed that she had quite a “sheltered” childhood, and because of that, she married a man 12 years he senior at the age of 21. Dina explained that her first husband was her boss and that she most likely only married him to “get out of her house.” The two had a daughter, Lexi Ioannou, before Dina filed for divorce because she wasn’t “in love.”

“I think I just married to get out of the house,” Dina confessed.

Production for season 14 of RHONJ will start in late August. Make sure to stay glued to AllAboutTRH for the latest and greatest Real Housewives of New Jersey news!

AllAboutTRH is your #1 source for anything and everything RHONJ!

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