Teresa Giudice And Melissa Gorga's Feud Explained

Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" wasted no time in becoming a staple of the "Real Housewives" franchise. With 13 seasons under their belt as of this writing, the ladies of New Jersey are bona fide reality TV superstars. And no one has made more of a name for herself than original cast member Teresa Giudice. In the earlier seasons, viewers watched her feud with her own cousins, Kathy Wakile and Rosie Pierri. However, no "RHONJ" family feud is quite as dramatic and everlasting as Giudice's battle with her brother, Joe Gorga, and his wife, Melissa Gorga. 

Giudice was famously not thrilled about her brother's wife becoming a full-time cast member, and there's long been speculation about whether or not the Gorgas got involved with the series without telling her. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it did not take long for the drama to kick off when the Gorgas climbed aboard for Season 3. Despite many attempts to call a family truce over the years, the peace has never lasted long. And as of this writing, their relationship seems dead in the water. As Andy Cohen said on "Watch What Happens Live" in 2023, "I don't think [a reconciliation is] gonna happen."

The Gorgas and the Giudices are not the first people on the planet to butt heads with their in-laws, but having their ups and downs play out on national television takes things to a totally different level. If there's one thing this feud has shown us, it's that blood is not always thicker than resentment.

Things took a violent turn at a christening

In this family, a christening isn't enough to play nice. In Season 3 of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," viewers were introduced to Teresa Giudice's brother, Joe Gorga, and his wife, Melissa Gorga, when the couple hosted their baby boy's christening. Despite the joyous celebration, Bravo cameras caught the tension between the Gorgas and Teresa. In her confessional, Teresa revealed that despite being in attendance, she felt distant from her brother. "I see my brother dancing with everyone and I looked at him in his eyes because all I want for him to do is grab me [to dance]," said Teresa. "He just like, turned away. That like, put a knife right through my heart."

When Teresa and her first husband, Joe Giudice, chose to dance with their baby nephew on the dance floor, Melissa and Joe Gorga expressed annoyance and accused them of doing it only to look good for the cameras. They even brushed Teresa off when she came over to congratulate them. Joe Gorga later exchanged some words with his sister and called her "garbage" to her face, and Melissa's sister chimed in to claim Teresa was only invited to the christening as a "technicality". 

Things took an unholy turn when Joe Giudice stormed over to call out Joe Gorga for disrespecting his wife. The two husbands began tussling as the shocked party guests struggled to separate them. This brawl is one of the earliest examples of the family having a clear divide. 

Teresa Giudice called Melissa Gorga a gold digger

The tension from Season 3 of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" only worsened in Season 4. Not only did the two sisters-in-law exchange words, but so did their husbands. Teresa Giudice and Joe Giudice dubbed Melissa Gorga a gold digger, accusing her of marrying into the Gorga family for money. Melissa defended herself against her sister-in-law on the show and in the press time and time again.

"When I hear her call me pretty much a gold digger, it's like putting a knife in my heart and twisting it, because I know that she knows that's not true," Gorga told E! News in 2011. "Joe and I have been married for seven years and have three kids. We went through a time where we couldn't even buy diapers. We had to sell every house we lived in...Did I go anywhere? Would I ever? No."

Giudice wasn't so easily convinced and dropped some serious tea at the Season 3 reunion. According to Giudice, her sister-in-law's drunk words one night revealed her sober thoughts: "She was a little buzzed and she said to me, 'I wasn't stupid like my sisters. Of course, when I saw his house I was going to jump on that s**t.'" Gorga denied ever saying that and claimed Giudice was jealous of her marriage. The fight spilled over into Season 4 when Giudice accused her of pursuing a music career in hopes of finding a richer man.

Strippergate made things worse

When it comes to sisters-in-law there's no handbook on how to navigate the relationship. However, if there ever was, we'd assume the number one rule would be "thou shall not spread rumors about your sister-in-law." In Season 4 of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," word got out that Melissa Gorga previously worked as a stripper. And yes, Teresa Giudice was one of the key players. Now, as for how big of a role Giudice actually played? Well, that all depends on who you ask. 

After a man approached Melissa at the Posche Fashion Show to say hi, Giudice went right up to her sister-in-law to ask how she knew him. The man in question had previously claimed to Giudice and "friend of" Kim DePaola that he knew Melissa when she was a dancer at a strip club; Giudice seemed to be digging for deets. When Joe Gorga realized his wife was being put on the spot in front of the cameras in an effort to shame her, he became irate. Giudice blamed DePaola for setting Melissa up, but the Gorgas didn't buy it. Melissa and Joe stormed out of the event, and the latter said he was done with Giudice. 

Evidently, the man's claims weren't entirely true. After the episode aired, her rep told HuffPost that she was a bartender at the establishment, not a dancer. What's more, Joe was actually the one worked as a stripper, as he was a former dancer at Chippendales.

The therapy session that turned into a brawl

After surviving multiple blowups on national television, Teresa Giudice, Joe Giudice, Joe Gorga, and Melissa Gorga attempted to reconcile during a family therapy session in Season 5 of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey." Though they were supposed to voice their problems and come to a peaceful resolution, things didn't go quite as planned. When the subject of loyalty came up, a war of words began between the Giudices and the Gorgas. Teresa acknowledged that there were issues between her and her brother and vocalized that she wanted Melissa to stay out of it. Joe Gorga, on the other hand, expressed that he felt like he couldn't trust his sister and accused her of spreading rumors about his wife.

As the screaming match grew louder, the therapist realized what he'd signed up for. At one point, Melissa even dropped to her knees and begged her sister-in-law to stop hurting her family. Tre wasn't sold. "This is the Melissa I know, she's f**king malicious," Teresa declared in a confessional. "She plays the sweet one or the victim, [but] that's not Melissa."

Teresa also tried to appeal to her brother by telling him blood is thicker than water. However, it seemed far too late for Joe Gorga, who fired back, "I'm not sticking with scum like you." Teresa then stormed off, and Joe Giudice charged at Joe Gorga. A full-on brawl ensued, and perhaps understandably, the plug was pulled on the therapy session.

The Gorga and Giudice truce didn't last long

Following her 11-month prison sentence, Teresa Giudice was ready to focus on her family and even move forward with her sister-in-law, Melissa Gorga. "The two have had their issues over the years but Teresa gained a new perspective on their relationship while she was in prison," a source told Radar at the time. "Her brother, Joe, obviously loves Melissa, and Teresa recognizes that is really all that matters. They hope to move forward with new respect and admiration for each other." Their first move as a united family was launching a business together: In 2017, the Gorgas and Giudice opened up their restaurant, Gorga's Homemade Pasta & Pizza.

The food served was intended to honor Teresa and Joe's late mother. "My mother loved to cook; it was like her drug," Joe told People during the launch. "I always told her I was gonna open up a restaurant for her. Then I got busy. While I signed a contract on this place we lost her. So this is for her." With a new business and a newfound respect for one another, things were looking promising for the family. However, all habits die hard. 

As "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" cameras documented, the restaurant launch caused the two sisters-in-law to go back to their bickering ways. During one meeting, Giudice criticized Melissa for arriving late and not pulling her weight enough. Alas, the restaurant closed just a few months after it opened. 

Teresa Giudice blamed Melissa Gorga for a family rift

In Season 9 of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," Teresa Giudice hoped to get her family back on track. Following the death of her mother a year earlier, Teresa moved her father in with her family. She prioritized spending time with him and wanted her brother, Joe Gorga, to do the same. In one episode, Giudice brought up the topic of Joe's relationship with their dad and implied Melissa Gorga was getting in the way of things. "This is what I've realized," Giudice told her. "When you're not around, he spends more time with him." Melissa took offense to the comment but Giudice wouldn't drop it, adding, "I just want Joey to spend more time with his father."

Melissa blamed Joe's busy schedule for his lack of family time and denied that she kept him from seeing his father. As the conversation progressed, the real reason for Giudice's anger came to light: On the one-year anniversary of her mother's passing, Melissa and Joe went away on a family vacation. "Believe me, that day I wanted my brother around. Like, out of all weekends to pick, you had to pick that one?" Giudice asked.

Giudice asked Melissa to speak to Joe about this. However, Melissa refused because she didn't think it'd go over well. In turn, Giudice demanded her sister-in-law "control of her husband."

Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga got involved in their costars' drama

Though many families display a united front during conflict, Melissa Gorga and Teresa Giudice have always struggled to do so. Look no further than the "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" Season 9 trip to Cabo. As previously mentioned, Melissa and Giudice were already at odds during the season as they argued about Joe Gorga not visiting his father often. Things only worsened when they found themselves on opposite sides during Danielle Staub and Margaret Josephs' drama. An argument between Staub and Josephs ended with Josephs throwing wine (a classic "Housewives" move) and Staub retaliating by throwing a glass (another classic "Housewives" move). The two sisters-in-law were dragged into it and were forced to defend their friends. Melissa chose Josephs; Giudice stuck with Staub.

 "Teresa, this one's got you going in circles," Melissa screamed, pointing at Staub. "You don't even know what you're saying anymore. You drank the f**king Kool-Aid." However, Giudice wasn't jumping ship to join Melissa in this fight. "You're drinking the Kool-Aid," Giudice fired back. "Margaret says something about [Jennifer's] kids, she says something about Danielle. That's f**king strike three for me."

While defending Josephs, Melissa found herself a new enemy: Jennifer Aydin. During the argument, Aydin broke a glass and pointed it at Melissa. When Melissa stormed off, Giudice was quick to follow her. Melissa confronted her about her loyalty. "You like to be with them," she told Giudice, referring to Aydin and Staub. "I'm f**king following you, you're my sister-in-law!" Giudice retorted.

Teresa Giudice doubted the Gorgas' loyalty

Season 11 of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" kicked off with a bang when Teresa Giudice shared an unconfirmed cheating rumor she heard about Jackie Goldschneider's husband. In typical "Real Housewives" fashion, the rumor found its way back to Goldschneider who angrily confronted Giudice about it. And then, things really went left when Goldschneider made an analogy about a hypothetical scenario involving one of Giudice's daughters using drugs. 

The two remained at odds throughout the season. During one dinner at the Jersey Shore, Giudice once again brought up the speculation about whether or not Goldschneider's husband had stepped out. Giudice insisted she didn't make up the story, noting that Margaret Josephs' husband also heard the rumor from someone else. This, of course, upset Goldschneider. The two women began shouting over each other, and an exhausted Goldschneider declared she wanted nothing to do with the "RHONJ" veteran. Giudice shrugged her off and replied, "That's fine, I love that. I'm a confident person, you're so not. I like hanging out with confident people." 

Goldschneider delivered a final blow by asking Giudice, "Did you get that confidence in jail?" The comment cut Giudice deep who then stormed away from the dinner table, only to return to call out Joe and Melissa Gorga for not sticking up for her. The Gorgas didn't take this well; Joe shouted at his sister and Melissa flipped a cheese tray.

Another friend battle continued to drive the wedge

In Season 12 of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," Teresa Giudice's friendship with Jennifer Aydin landed her in the middle of even more drama. Aydin rubbed a number of their costars the wrong way, including Giudice's sister-in-law Melissa Gorga. Aydin and Melissa not only bickered in front of the cameras, but threw jabs at each other on social media. It all came to a head during a cast strip to the Jersey Shore when Melissa confronted Aydin at her home. "You feel like a hater. You called my husband a crook!" Melissa shouted. Aydin attempted to explain her side of things by bringing up an Instagram post where Melissa seemingly made digs at her.

The argument between the two had no end in sight when Aydin called out Joe Gorga for getting involved. "Even he, little b***h girl, came in and commented," she said, pointing at Joe. This set Melissa off, and before we knew it the verbal argument turned physical.

While most of the cast left Aydin's event in the wake of the fight, Giudice decided to stay behind. This outraged the Gorgas. "The fact that your sister didn't even budge annoyed me," Melissa told Joe. The couple later asked Giudice to reevaluate her friendship with Aydin. "If someone said that about you, I could never be around them," Joe told his sister.

Melissa Gorga called out Teresa Giudice at a reunion

During the intense reunion for Season 12 of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," cast member Jennifer Aydin doubled down on her "b**ch boy" comments towards Joe Gorga. Outside of Melissa and Joe Gorga's anger towards Aydin, they also made Teresa Giudice their target. The couple repeatedly called out Giudice for remaining quiet while Aydin threw personal attacks at them. "Don't you think it's funny your one girlfriend just goes for your brother all the time? It's a little weird," Melissa Gorga asked Giudice. Giudice defended herself by claiming she privately addressed Aydin's name-calling of her brother but understood where the comment stemmed from.

"And b**ch boy, I'm sorry, Joe, you're kinda like a Housewife. Sorry, you are," Giudice told her brother. As far as she was concerned, Joe meddled in Housewives drama too much. This set Joe off. "Oh, I'm a b**ch now?" he asked her. "You don't realize what you do. I've been dealing with you for how many years... I'm a f**king man." In an attempt to diffuse the situation, Giudice argued that he shouldn't take offense but Joe had enough. He told host Andy Cohen that he was ready to quit and stormed off the stage. "Be a sister once in a while!" he shouted while walking off.

Cohen and Melissa accused Giudice of constantly demeaning Joe and urged her to go find him backstage. A screaming match ensued backstage with Cohen playing family therapist.

Bridesmaidsgate made things even messier

In 2021, "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" star and fiancé Luis "Louie" Ruelas got engaged, and the pair wasted no time planning their trip down the aisle. Cue the drama. During an appearance on "Watch What Happens Live," Giudice revealed that her wedding would include eight bridesmaids, but sister-in-law Melissa Gorga would not be one of them. She also admitted to Andy Cohen that she hadn't told Gorga she'd be excluded from the bridal party. Oops.

On a subsequent episode of the "On Display" podcast, Gorga claimed she was okay with being left out of the wedding party and wished Giudice the best. However, during the Season 12 reunion, it was clear her feelings were hurt. Giudice, on the other hand, stood by her decision. "If you were getting married right now I'm sure I wouldn't be a bridesmaid in your wedding," Giudice stated. Gorga disagreed and pointed out that she did ask Giudice to be a bridesmaid when she married her brother in 2004. Alas, that opened up another can of worms, as Giudice was pregnant at the time of the Gorga wedding and was still upset they didn't push back the date to accommodate her. 

Gorga later admitted on "WWHL" that the bridesmaid debacle ruined their relationship. "I just said, 'Alright, you really drew the line in the sand now, too, like, you're showing our kids that we're really not a family if you can't even fake it for a wedding type of thing,'" she said.

The Gorgas skipped Teresa Giudice's wedding

When Teresa Giudice announced she wouldn't have sister-in-law Melissa Gorga as a bridesmaid, "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" fans wondered if the Gorgas would attend the nuptials at all. However, throughout Season 13, Joe Gorga seemed determined to be there for his big sister on her big day. Alas, that all changed just days before the ceremony. A source told People that the Gorgas had every intention of going, but apparently, some behind-the-scenes shenanigans got in the way. Evidently, the Gorgas found out Giudice supposedly spread some rumors about them and, understandably, they weren't so thrilled. 

"Teresa betrayed them in a way that's unforgivable," one source explained. "They're not going to celebrate Teresa's new marriage when all she does is try to tear apart theirs." This seemed to be the final straw for the Gorgas. "Melissa and Joe's efforts to make family a priority with Teresa are exhausted," the source continued. "Sometimes removing the toxic energy from your life is the only way forward." When asked about the Gorgas' decision to bow out, "RHONJ" star Margaret Josephs told E! News that it all played out on the show. She continued, "It's very sad when this happens with families and I think Melissa and Joe are justified, truthfully, for not going to the wedding."

Following her wedding, Giudice didn't shy away from talking about her brother and sister-in-law's absence. On "Watch What Happens Live," she revealed that the couple didn't bother sending her a wedding gift.

Teresa Giudice's 'chosen family' speech didn't sit right with Melissa Gorga

The majority of Season 13 of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" led up to Teresa Giudice's wedding. Giudice and her fiancé, Luis "Louie" Ruelas, were proud of their "love bubble" and wanted good vibes only. Alas, the good vibes were dashed by a heavy dose of drama involving the Gorgas. As the new man in town, Ruelas tried to get all four parties on the same page — especially after Giudice didn't bother to invite her sister-in-law's family to their wedding. The multiple sit-downs Ruelas arranged didn't take, to say the least.

In one episode early on in the season, Ruelas convinced Giudice to invite her brother to her housewarming party. In the wake of all the conflict between the two families, Ruelas hoped this would be just the olive branch they all needed. Alas, Joe Gorga ultimately skipped out on the party and told his wife it was due to him not feeling welcomed by his sister and her fiancé. Melissa Gorga showed up solo and soon regretted it.

As if the awkward interaction with her nieces wasn't enough, Melissa also watched Giudice give a toast to the members of her "chosen family" who were in attendance. Melissa, who believed this to be dig at her husband, left in tears. This, of course, would not be the last Season 13 event where the Giudice vs. Gorga drama reared its messy head.