"Her mom passed away, her husband's getting deported, she's got four kids she has to worry about. Sometimes, you have to give that person diplomatic immunity," Dolores tells TooFab.
The "Real Housewives of New Jersey" reunion concludes this week, and we still have so many questions.
Luckily, TooFab caught up with Dolores Catania Tuesday morning to chat about everything from Danielle Staub's quick divorce, to Joe Giudice's possible deportation. We even got her take on that Cabo dinner from hell -- and how she was 100 percent ready to "get physical" with Jennifer Aydin.
When we asked Dolores if she was shocked Danielle divorced third husband Marty Caffrey nine months after tying the knot on the show, she said no.
"But I will tell you that I wish it had worked out for her," she added. "I thought they made a nice couple, but I wasn't close enough with her to know the insides of that relationship. Margaret [Josephs] was."
Dolores and Danielle had a huge falling out last season after Danielle told Teresa Giudice something Dolores supposedly said behind her back. To this day, Dolores says Danielle made the whole thing up. Viewers experienced déjà vu this season when Margaret and Danielle had almost the exact same falling out. The only difference is that Margaret once considered Danielle a best friend, and vise versa.
Even though Dolores has her feelings about Danielle, she chose not to get involved. But she admits the ordeal did help her feel vindicated.
"I make my own enemies, and I fight my own battles," Dolores told us. "So when it was time for her and Margaret to fight, I'm not jumping in on that! That's between her and Margaret. Let them duke it out. Was I happy to see it? No. Did I call it? Yes."
Dolores tends to stay out of a lot of the conflicts on "RHONJ" because she's "more of an observer" and has been that way her whole life.
"Usually, if you get into the drama, the two people fighting make up, and then you're on the outs," she said. "That's something my mom always told me. I treat everybody like I would my sisters. I'm one of five, so I learned a lot from my mother. We're like a team, and I see good in every one of us. That's why when they're having their little tiffs about something, I stay out of it unless it's something so [offensive] that I feel the need to say something -- like when Jennifer tried to stab Melissa."
Dolores made the comment in jest but did say she felt Jennifer "took it a step too far" when she threatened Melissa with a broken wine glass she had slammed on the table.
"I'm not saying that she would've cut her, but that was enough for me to say, 'Knock it off. Let me get you in your place,'" Dolores told us. "I was gonna get physical. I was gonna get physical. I'm not gonna lie, I have that part of me that's there. I could've hurt her! But she's my friend, and I had to come back to myself at that moment."
Ironically, that scene is also Dolores' response to those who ask why she "doesn't like" or "love" Melissa Gorga the way she does Teresa.
"Sometimes it looks that way, but the testament to the fact that I was going to actually hurt someone because they went to hurt Melissa -- I think that's been missed a lot," she said.
Even though she prides herself on staying out of other people's business, Dolores can't help but have Teresa's back when it comes to her family's current situation. Her husband, Joe, is serving a 41-month prison sentence for fraud. In October of last year, a judge ordered that he be deported back to Italy immediately after completing his sentence. Teresa has since appealed the order, but she told Andy Cohen on last week's reunion episode that her lawyers have not given her any new information regarding a possibly different outcome for her family.
During the season, newcomer Jackie Goldschnieder tried to prove a point about men and marriage to Teresa by saying, "Do you think your husband would be in jail right now if you could control what he did?" Dolores felt that crossed the line.
"My problem is, I don't think she understands a lot of Teresa. I don't think she understands the magnitude of what Teresa's going through right now," Dolores told us. "My dad told me when I was arguing with Teresa last year when she was siding with Danielle, 'I didn't teach you to be a friend when it's easy.'"
"Sometimes it's not the popular decision to stand by your friend, but I know she's facing a lot of things," Dolores continued. "Her mom passed away, her husband's getting deported, she's got four kids she has to worry about. So sometimes you have to give that person diplomatic immunity, I call it, because of what they're going through. Now, if they're just inherently an asshole then I'm not gonna stand by them. But sometimes you have to take that hit."
"RHONJ" fans are obsessed with Dolores' relationship with her ex-husband and the father of her child, Frank Catania. In fact, if you didn't know he once left her for another woman, you'd think the two were happily married.
"Frank and I -- don't fix it if it's not broken," Dolores said of her peculiar relationship. "What we have together really works for us. It's really nice. It's very peaceful. We're there for each other, like a best friend. We both want to inspire other people, especially if there's children involved. Life is really too short to hold a grudge. It's an anchor. Yes, we're human. Frank and I were not perfect. It was not a great divorce. It's not like we never fought through those times, but I always tell people -- and this is my thing -- 'Would you not die for your children?' And their answer is, 'Of course I would.' So then I go, 'Okay, well then shut your mouth for your children and make peace with each other.'"
But things weren't always as peaceful as they are today, and for that reason, Dolores says she tries her best to respond to all the messages she receives on social media from women who wonder how she managed to turn her lemons into lemonade.
"I went through a lot. For five years, my mom thought I would die of a broken heart. I looked like death. I didn't sleep. I was broken hearted. I wondered who he was with. What was that girl like? Was she prettier than me?" Dolores explained. "I mean, I can walk whoever's gone through this -- man or woman -- through every single step of emotion they're going to go through. I want to be able to go through that with them and explain to them, 'You're going to be okay. You can look forward to falling in love all over again. And until then, you have yourself to work on.'"
When we asked if Frank watches the show, Dolores laughed and said, "Frank is the best Housewife I know! Production will say, 'Can we film here? Can we film there?' And Frank's always like, 'I'm there! I'm there! Dolores, what shirt am I wearing?!' He's very cute. I get a kick out of Frank Catania."
"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" Season 9 reunion concludes Wednesday, March 6 at 8 p.m. on Bravo.
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