Being on The Real Housewives isn’t always glamorous — we could have surmised that much ourselves.
But we had no idea how bad it could actually be. The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Danielle Staub’s forthcoming memoir includes a personal essay written by her teenage daughter, Christine Staub, explaining how her mom’s role on the show ruined her teenage years.
The trauma Staub endured sounds downright nighmarish. In one passage, she describes seeing her mother verbally and physically attacked in a restaurant.
“In her two seasons on the show — and the half dozen years following — my mother has been described in many ways. She’s been called trash, garbage, a pig, an extortionist, a felon, a husband stealer. She was even branded as a ‘prostitution whore,”‘ Staub writes. “Imagine an irate woman flipping over a table as she screamed that name at my mother. Actually, you don’t have to imagine at all, because the scene lives on as one of the most iconic moments in reality television history. As for me, I don’t need to be reminded. My little sister and I were there. We saw the table fly on our mother, we heard the expletives, we ran as fast as we could to try to catch up as she was chased around the restaurant, and we heard her cries for help. We felt helpless and unable to defend her.”
In another passage, she describes sexual harassment that took place in her high school because of a comment another Housewife had made about her mom.
“Freshman year of high school, for example, I was cornered by a group of football players. ‘C’mon, Christine,’ one of them said, as he motioned towards his crotch. ‘I’m ready for my daily blow job.’ I was mortified. Not to mention confused. Behind him, the other guys snickered. ‘Don’t be shy, Christine,’ he said, moving closer. ‘I mean, isn’t this what you and your mom do for fun?'”
Eventually, after Danielle Staub left the show, she and her family were forced to leave their New Jersey hometown so Staub could find work without being judged for how she was portrayed on RHONJ. Christine Staub, now a college-bound high school senior, encourages readers to give her mother her voice back.
“As for my mother, she has been silenced for far too long, and now it is time for her to open up about every dirty detail once and for all,” she writes. “I don’t care what any TV viewer believes her to be, or how any media outlet defines her. I know who she is, and I admire her. Now I have a voice, and the time has come for my mother to reclaim her own — to reclaim the respect she deserves.”
You can read the full, emotional essay here.