The Untold Truth Of Melissa Gorga

Melissa Gorga is pretty much an open book — but you kind of have to be when you appear on a show like "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," which exposes some of your most personal family secrets while your husband appears totally naked and shows off his, erm, "Tarzan" in front of the cameras, right? The star has been very open about many things going on in her life over the years, from her drama with her family (her issues with her sister-in-law, Teresa Giudice, have most certainly been no secret) to her relationship with her husband, Joe Gorga.

In fact, the two have shared some pretty contentious and very raw moments in front of the cameras, with Melissa admitting in May 2021 that seeing some of the realer scenes on the show made her reconsider things in her life — and particularly her relationship — a little. "I think especially just watching this season, we're like, 'Wow, okay, we need to tighten it up a little bit,' because the end of the day reality TV is not easy," she told Extra. "I will say we're a pretty amazing couple. ... When you have all these other opinions, always getting thrown at you ... it's a struggle."

But while it seems like we've learned so much about Melissa Gorga since she became an official Housewife in 2011, there are still a few things you may never have known about this sassy reality star.

Love Italian Style's major controversy

One thing's for sure, Melissa Gorga has received her fair share of controversy over the years. One of the biggest dramas in her career stemmed from the release of her book "Love Italian Style: The Secrets of My Hot and Happy Marriage" in 2013, which was widely slammed for what many claimed were its outdated views on marriage and relationships. A bold headline from Jezebel even read, "'Real Housewife' Melissa Gorga's New Book Advocates Marital Rape."

One particular source of contention came from a quote from her husband, Joe Gorga, in which he suggested "every woman wants to have her hair pulled and clothes ripped off sometimes," causing Melissa to hit back in her Bravo blog. She claimed the advice was "not meant to read literally," noting that Joe's "point is that women like feeling taken — within the trust and safety of a mutually respectful relationship." Melissa then pointed out "that there's a difference between racy and 'rapey,'" while highlighting that anything mentioned in her book was always under the guidance that it was being done "consensually."

But while Melissa defended herself at the time, in 2018, she admitted that she no longer stands by a lot of her written advice. "I don't believe in that like I used to. I wrote a whole book about it and I don't know if I agree with everything I wrote any longer," she told E!.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Melissa Gorga is all about her workout routine

Having a body like Melissa Gorga's takes some serious work, but she's not afraid to share her secrets. The star revealed back in 2017 that she likes to work out around "four to five [times] a week," describing her exercise time as being "part of [her] life" to Us Weekly

"That one hour a day is for me and it's probably the only hour in the whole day that's about me without being for work or for my kids," she explained, encouraging her fans looking to emulate her super toned body to learn to love hitting the gym rather than "dread[ing]" it. "Look at it like, 'This is the one hour of the day that I'm going to better myself and it's all about me.' And you're taking care of you so you can look good on Friday night when you go out. It's not a punishment to go to the gym, it's a gift," Melissa added, calling it "an investment in yourself!"

As for what the mom of three — who's shared a look at her home gym on Instagram — does to get her body so toned? She told Women's Health in 2018 that she does "a lot of lifting," but doesn't "do that much cardio, because I run around so much." Another fitness secret the reality star swears by? Staying away from "fad diets." Instead, Teresa Giudice's sister-in-law relies on her energetic exercise routine. "It's worked for me forever," Melissa admitted.

MGo, JLo, and Xtina

Melissa Gorga has friends in high places! And we mean high places. A-List places, in fact. Paging Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera...

Melissa attended multiple events involving Lopez, including her Super Bowl party in 2020 with herself and husband Joe Gorga sharing footage from the soirée to their Instagram Stories. As for a few of the other events they've attended together? Melissa was on hand to see JLo perform in 2019 and snapped photos with her backstage, calling her "my girl" on Instagram. The year before, she and her daughter, Antonia Gorga, attended a party for Lopez's movie "Second Act" and took a pic with JLo and her co-stars, Vanessa Hudgens and Leah Remini.

As for Aguilera, Melissa shared a cozy picture with her on Instagram in 2018 and called her "beauty" and "#sistafromanothermista." Then, in April 2020, she shared a video on Instagram of herself singing in the kitchen with her late father-in-law. That caused Xtina to write in the comments, per Comments By Bravo, "Wow you got some Mariah notes." High praise, indeed! Melissa spoke about their friendship on "The Wendy Williams Show" in February 2021, revealing they "met through [their] hairdresser" pal. She explained, "Christina is a huge fan of the show and she loves Joe and I and she wanted to meet me, and we met up and had dinner and ... we're friends. I just love her. ... She's a good soul. She's a good person."

The specific reason Melissa Gorga married Joe Gorga

It turns out that Melissa Gorga has quite a specific — and potentially unexpected — reason for marrying her husband, Joe Gorga. Though Melissa's dad, Anthony Gorga, died tragically years before she met her husband, meaning the two never got the chance to meet, she admitted that it was his memory that really drew her to the businessman as she found Joe to be very similar to her late dad.

"I used to pray at night that I would find a man that would support me the way my father did — but I wanted a guy to love me and take care of me," she explained during a 2013 episode of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" (via Radar). "Joe reminds me so much of my father and that's why Joe will always have my heart."

The two got hitched in August 2004 and didn't waste much time in getting down to business when it came to starting their family. Almost exactly a year after getting married, they welcomed kiddo No. 1 into their brood, a daughter named Antonia. They've become parents to two boys since then, too, with Gino following in September 2007 and Joey in April 2010.

Melissa Gorga's difficult childhood

Though Melissa Gorga is the envy of many with her stunning family, eye watering net worth compared to her "RHONJ" co-stars (more to come on that later), and super successful career, she didn't exactly have the easiest start to life. The star has opened up before about her difficult childhood, which particularly stemmed from her father and his infidelity while married to her mom, Donna Marco.

Melissa got candid about her family dynamic growing up with her two sisters, Lysa Marco-Simpson and Kim Marco Pirrella, during a 2013 episode of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey." "My father sometimes would go get milk and come back a couple days later, so I grew up having trust issues with men because where did my dad go?" she explained (via Radar). "I used to come home from high school and see my mother curled up in a ball and sitting on her bed crying because she didn't know what to do about him. It takes a toll on you as a young girl to come in and you're like, 'I just want a normal family.'"

She also spoke openly in her book "Love Italian Style," recalling, "As young as six or seven years old, I remember nights and days of anxiety, of not knowing what was going on. Dad was home, and then he was gone. Mom fretted and cried. ... I was mainly confused. 'Where is he?' I thought. 'He can't still be at the store getting milk.'"

Did Melissa Gorga beg to be on RHONJ?

So, just how did Melissa Gorga get onto "The Real Housewives of New Jersey"? As longtime viewers will know, the star popped up a couple of times before becoming an official Housewife at events her sister-in-law, Teresa Giudice, was throwing. But it wasn't until 2011, for Season 3, when Melissa got her starring role.

There's been some contention about how all that went down though, with Teresa claiming on "Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip" in November 2021 that producer Andy Cohen gave her a ring and told her Melissa was sending him endless DMs in the hopes of becoming a Housewife (via Page Six). Melissa denied that and instead claimed she was contacted by producers. Teresa then alleged she didn't know Melissa was joining the show until Cohen told her, which didn't seem to sit too well with the OG star, to which Melissa said they "weren't speaking" at the time.

Melissa previously denied she and her cousin-in-law, Kathy Wakile, asked to be on the show, telling Reality Tea in 2011 that producers called her out of the blue: "They just said, 'Hi, it's 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' producers. We're from Bravo. We want to interview you.' I have no idea how they found me. I think they found Kathy on Facebook. Neither of us pursued it, wanted it, were looking for it — it just kind of fell into our laps."

All the Gorga cheating rumors

What's a reality TV romance without a cheating rumor or two? Well, the Gorgas know that better than most as their relationship has been plagued with infidelity allegations more than once.

Melissa Gorga in particular has felt the nasty wrath of the cheating rumor mill, with one infamous claim that she hadn't been faithful to Joe Gorga hitting the headlines in 2013, when her former friend, Jan DeDolce, alleged that the Envy boutique owner had supposedly cheated with an ex-boyfriend. Making matters very public, DeDolce made the claim on an episode of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" in front of none other than Joe's sister, Teresa Giudice, though she didn't exactly step in to dispel the hearsay (via Radar). Melissa did though, hitting back in response to the seemingly unfounded allegation by telling Us Weekly, "I've never cheated on Joe. This is all disappointing."

The drama-filled show brought the "infidelity rumors" to a head once again in 2021 ahead of Season 11 of "RHONJ." "There's definitely some infidelity rumors floating around and I'll be honest with you, it's right off the bat with the first episode. Boom, it's like right there," Melissa told E!. "Listen, it's real, there's accusations going on. Obviously Joe and I are bumping heads a lot this season. It's been rough. It's been a little rough."

'Michael Jackson to Melissa Gorga'

One thing you may have forgotten about Melissa Gorga was her short-lived singing career. In her early days on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," the star was actively pursuing a singing career with the help of her husband, Joe Gorga, who even built a recording studio in their basement.

Melissa dropped several singles — including the Bravo-iconic "On Display" — and she's seen some success on iTunes, while also having some meetings with several music big wigs. A 2013 episode of "RHONJ" even saw Melissa and Joe meet with Justin Timberlake's manager, Johnny Wright! She also had a dance session with Jennifer Lopez's former husband, choreographer Cris Judd, where she uttered that infamous "RHONJ" line, "Michael Jackson to Melissa Gorga," as he taught her to dance for a performance.

"I have been singing my whole life, but never professionally. It's just something that I always loved," she explained to Reality Tea in 2011. "I have had the talent my whole life." Nothing more really came of Melissa's singing career after her first couple of seasons on the show, but that doesn't mean she wouldn't ever return to the studio. "That was a time in my life that I absolutely loved; I couldn't be happier to have had multiple songs on the Dance charts," Melissa told All About the Real Housewives in 2016. "Right now, it just makes more sense for me to do things that keep me in ... New Jersey, but I never say never."

The RHONJ star's brush with the law

Melissa Gorga certainly doesn't give off the vibe that she's ever been arrested as the fun-loving mom of three on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," but it turns out the star does have a bit of a rap sheet following an incident in Florida that took place when she was a teenager.

Melissa's brush with the law happened in 1997 when she was 18 years old after she was allegedly caught stealing a $24 shirt. That's according to Radar, who shared court records that listed her by her maiden name, Melissa Marco. According to the papers, the defendant, thought to be Melissa, supposedly attempted to take the tag off the shirt and then took it outside, where she "dropped the shirt in her purse." It alleged that "the defendant was apprehended and returned to the security office and the shirt was recovered." The site even claimed that there was "a warrant ... issued for [Melissa's] arrest after she missed her arraignment." However, the matter was all "dismissed" by 2012, a year after Melissa first appeared on "RHONJ."

But as Housewives fans may know, it's certainly not the only legal drama Melissa has faced over the years. In 2019, Melissa and Bravo's parent company, NBCUniversal, were hit with a $30 million lawsuit from a former business partner she worked alongside at her boutique, Envy by Melissa Gorga, though a judge ordered that be settled in arbitration, per

The Gorgas' family drama

Lights, camera, drama! Where would "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" really be without family drama? While even those who have never seen the show will likely be aware of the tension between Melissa Gorga and her sister-in-law, Teresa Giudice, one frosty dynamic they might not be too aware of is that Melissa is estranged from yet another family member.

When Melissa joined "RHONJ" in 2011, she bolstered the cast alongside Kathy Wakile, cousin to Joe and Teresa Giudice. The two were very close at the time and worked together to try and mend their relationship with Teresa and her kids after years of drama. But that all seemed to change after Kathy was demoted to a friend role for Season 6 in 2014 before leaving the show completely the following year. As of March 2021, the Gorgas and the Wakiles are not on speaking terms, to the point that the former couple didn't even attend a family wedding, with Kathy seemingly throwing a little shade at her family members during a "Life After Bravo" interview.

"[Reality TV] is a small part in your life, and you live your life and whatever gets aired, gets aired, and you're still living your life," Kathy shared when asked about their relationship. "But, for certain people, people live in that bubble and they don't realize that there's a whole world outside of the bubble. It's sad that that happens, but yeah; [I] stepped out of the bubble."

Melissa Gorga's plastic surgery ruse

In a case of maybe Melissa Gorga nose best, the star got into a bit of a furor in 2016 over a plastic surgery confession. Let's take it back to the start for this one, as rumors had been swirling for quite a while before that suggested Melissa may have undergone a nose job after her schnoz seemingly looked a little different than it did in her first appearance on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey."

Melissa always shot down the speculation though, instead choosing to keep her surgery private (as she had every right to!). However, it didn't stay a secret for too long, as her now former "RHONJ" co-star, Jacqueline Laurita, outed her plastic surgery in a very public way. During an October 2016 episode of the show, Jacqueline accused Melissa of having had "four nose jobs," which was when Melissa finally came clean. "Let's be honest, it's the worst-kept secret that I've had a nose job, but it's my secret to tell, not hers," she said (via Us Weekly).

As for why she kept it under the rug for so long? Melissa referred to it as being "a personal thing" while speaking to The Daily Dish that same month, pointing out, "It's not hurting anyone. It's your own business." She continued, "It's something that's personal to me. It's one of the very few things that is personal in my life at this point."

Her Cake Boss connection

Melissa Gorga has one very sweet connection you may not know about. In a case of two of our favorite New Jersey-based reality TV shows colliding, it turns out the Gorgas are actually close friends of the Valastros — yes, the first couple of TLC's "Cake Boss." Melissa and Joe Gorga are neighbors of Buddy and Lisa Valastro and are such good friends that they got their broods together for a trip to Disney World in 2019. Now that's a crossover reality TV special we'd have loved to have seen!

"We love Melissa and Joe. They're great people. They're our neighbors, we live on the same block. So, our kids are close together in age, and they play together," Buddy told Us Weekly in 2019, explaining the Gorgas were over for dinner when they discussed their Disney trip and decided to tag along.

The group have been spotted on each other's social media accounts on multiple occasions, with Melissa regularly sharing glimpses into how the pals spend their time together. In September 2018, Melissa showed us what it's really like to be friends with the pro baker (hint, it's just as cake-alicious as we imagined), showing off a rainbow cake baked by the star on her Instagram Stories. In July 2019, she gave us a peek inside another get together via her Instagram Stories as the "Kitchen Boss" star whipped up what appeared to be a seriously tasty pasta dish for Sunday dinner. What a delicious friendship!

The Gorga brood won't be growing

No more babies! It seems like three is the magic number for Melissa Gorga and Joe Gorga, as she's admitted there won't be more kids coming for this couple. Though it's been speculated for a while now that the married pair could be looking to add a fourth child to their brood, with the two even looking into IVF in 2019, Melissa nixed that suggestion while speaking to Us Weekly in July 2020. "I think it's just, like, the time has passed," she admitted. "I feel like we're in a spot where I'm like, 'Okay, let me just, like, be happy with what I have.' I have three healthy children."

But that went against something the star had revealed shortly before. In 2019, Melissa got very candid about potentially wanting a fourth child and even made it public that she planned to freeze her eggs as she spoke about her fertility journey. She and Joe even visited a fertility doctor on "RHONJ" that year, with Melissa later telling Parade, "We always said we wanted another girl just because I always wanted Antonia to have a sister. And then I think just turning 40, I was kinda like, 'All right, it's now or never. And so let's explore this and see if it's even possible.'"

The reality star's childhood health scare

Thankfully, Melissa Gorga appears to be happy and healthy today, but one thing you may not know about the reality star is that she had a very serious health scare when she was a kid that left her with a large scar. When she was around 7 or 8 years old, Melissa underwent surgery on her heart, which has been described as a "coarctation of the aorta" by multiple outlets, per The List.

The star proudly showed off her scar on her back during a 2011 episode of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" while telling her now former co-star, Caroline Manzo, about her operation. Melissa has since spent a lot of her time giving back to the charity that helped her and her family through the scary ordeal, Deborah Hospital Foundation. One of the big ways the mom of three has given back was through hosting a big fashion show in the Garden State in March 2016, with the proceeds being donated to the good cause.

She's also helped through various other good deeds, including attending the Red Dress Awards in February 2019. Melissa shared a stunning photo from the event on Instagram and she opened up about her childhood surgery in the caption. "Most people don't know that I had open heart surgery at 8 years old," she wrote in the caption, adding, "I'm so happy to support healthy hearts!"

Melissa Gorga's got green

There's no doubting that Melissa Gorga is one very rich lady. As for just how rich? Well, millionaire rich! The star's net worth reportedly stands at $3 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, with her making much of her fortune from her role as a main Housewife on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," as well as through endorsement deals, appearances, and her Envy boutique.

As for exactly how much of that from "RHONJ"? It was alleged back in 2015 that Melissa was supposedly making a whopping $750,000 a season on the Bravo hit, according to Radar, which was thought to be the same amount as her sister-in-law, Teresa Giudice, used to receive. But the Gorgas didn't grow up with silver spoons in their mouths. Melissa, husband Joe Gorga, and his sister, Teresa, have all opened up about their childhood as the kids of, as New York Post put it, "poor immigrants growing up in Paterson, New Jersey." Joe even revealed that he started working at just 9 years old to earn money for his family.

But that certainly doesn't mean the two didn't spend when they had cash in their accounts. In fact, Melissa admitted on "Watch What Happens Live" in 2021 that she was once a bit of a spendthrift, claiming, "I used to spend, on the AMEX, probably like $20 to $30k a month or something, and [Joe] never said anything." One thing's for sure, this Housewife is seriously successful!