On last Wednesday's episode, Margaret Josephs invited her co-stars to join her on a weekend getaway. Jennifer said yes even though she knew she needed the permission of her husband -- a very traditional, very conservative Syrian Orthodox plastic surgeon who lived in Turkey from birth to age 16. Jennifer is also Syrian Orthodox of Turkish parents. (But as some viewers were quick to point out, the Aydins do not represent all Turkish or Syrian people.)
The exchange caused quite the stir within the "RHONJ" community, with many critics accusing Bill of being controlling, backwards and even sexist. But Jennifer defended her man and her marriage during a recent interview with TooFab.
"I did get some backlash, but I just take it with a grain of salt because those are people who are either not married or people who are divorced," she told us. "When you decide to get married, your decisions are no longer your own, and I think that's a statement that's true for all marriages. Because the day you don't give a shit about what your husband says or thinks is the day your marriage is in the toilet."
Jennifer told us that the idea of her leaving her family to travel with friends "is just not something that's done" in their relationship.
"[My husband] doesn't come home and tell me, 'I'm going to my boys' bachelor party in Vegas,' which I appreciate because I don't know how happy I would be with that," she explained. "And I don't think that's an overbearing spouse. I think that's normal. That's what you sign up for when you get married, so if you don't like constantly checking with someone then don't get married."
"You know that saying, 'Happy wife, happy life'?" she continued. "How about, 'Happy spouse, happy house.' If my husband is in a good mood and in a good place, Mommy gets whatever she wants. I do what needs to be done to keep harmony and peace in my home. And it may not be for everybody, I get it. There are feminists out there -- they're all angry and riled up. They're probably single, those women, because marriage is hard work."
The exchange between Jennifer and Bill was not just controversial; it was a bit disingenuous, too. She had already told Margaret she'd be going, "but coddling my husband's ego puts him in a good place, and he likes it that I care what he thinks," Jennifer told us.
When we asked her if her husband had any reservations about her joining the show, Jennifer said, "Yes. Yes, he did."
"It wasn't about me doing the show, per se; it was that I was having a job," she elaborated. "He was like, 'I don't understand you. I have so many patients that would kill to be a stay-at-home mom, and here you are. I'm giving you everything you ever wanted, and you wanna go out and work?' That was really his issue. He was like, 'Our kids are small, I've given you a great life, and now you wanna go off and have an occupation?' He doesn't like the things that take my attention away from our children. He just doesn't look favorably on it."
Jennifer added, "I feel like when you do get married, it's constant compromise, and you have to pick and choose your battles. There are some things that he is very adamant about that I comply with, but this was the first time that I came to him with something that I really wanted to do. I was like, this one I'm not gonna back down from, and he kind of saw that. Finally, he was like, 'Okay then, if this is really what you wanna do then I support you.'"
"And he loved it!" she added. "As much as he looks a little intimidating on camera, he's an amazing husband."
Jennifer also revealed to us her husband performed her first cosmetic procedure -- a breast reduction and lift -- one month ago.
Many surgeons don't feel comfortable operating on their own family members, but Bill sure does.
According to Jennifer, he told her, "Jennifer, my love, nobody is going to treat you the way that I'm going to treat you. Nobody is gonna be as meticulous and take their time. I don't want anyone to rush with you. I want it to be perfect."
"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.