The Untold Truth Of Real Housewives Of New Jersey's Dolores Catania

The Real Housewives of New Jersey debuted on Bravo on May 12, 2009, to an immediate and nearly overwhelmingly positive response. At the time of its premiere, the cast of the show included sisters Caroline and Dina Manzo, Jacqueline Laurita, Teresa Giudice, and Danielle Staub.

Dolores Catania officially joined the RHONJ franchise when the seventh season premiered in July of 2016, and viewers immediately took to the new reality star. Baltimore OUTloud has noted that fans describe Catania as one of the more relatable New Jersey housewives, and it's a badge she wears with honor. "That means everything to me," she told the outlet.

"I've been in so many different positions in my life. I've been a waitress — the person struggling, the person who has money. I've had relationships when I was happy and unhappy. I was a mother that was married and then a single mother. I learned something from each stage of my life and I want to help others because I've ... had a lot of experience to share." Indeed; her motto, after all, is "everyone has something to give" (via Bravo).

Dolores Catania has been friends with most of the 'housewives' for years

Housewives fans had already been introduced to Dolores Catania starting with the first season, as she made brief appearances on the show here and there before joining full-time. It turns out Catania has actually been good friends with many of the women on the show for years. She explained to HuffPost that the relationships you see on the show are real, and that's what brought her onboard as a cast member

"The timing was just right this time around. I have a history with these girls and had known Teresa for over 20 years, Jacqueline I knew for about 12 years and though Siggy is brand new, we bonded right away," she said. "You can catch glimpses of me on Season 1 because I was friendly with Dina Manzo and I'm close with Caroline Manzo and family — We actually just went grocery shopping a little while ago."

Dolores Catania and her unusual relationship with her ex-husband

Dolores Catania's longtime RHONJ friendships aren't the only relationships that viewers see on the show. She has also maintained a healthy — even very friendly — relationship with her ex-husband (and current business partner), Frank Catania, despite the fact that they divorced after he cheated on her while she was nine months pregnant.

Dolores and Frank Catania haven't been a couple for over 20 years, but it doesn't mean they've been totally separate either. Yet, given that they've never rekindled their romance, it did come as a surprise to Housewives fans when Frank moved in with Dolores in the eighth season of the show.

According to Hollywood Life, the two were still living together in 2019, even as fans were saying it was a mistake. However, Catania told the outlet's podcast that the situation works for her. "People used to say years ago, 'You're a fool. You go food shopping for him? Why are you doing this crap?' It's foolish pride.'"

Dolores Catania rejects the notion that she's a fool

Dolores Catania explained that making peace with her ex-husband has helped her out financially, too. "But listen, I've got more bees with honey," she candidly said. "Frank gave me more money. I didn't do well in my divorce. I divorced an attorney... The nicer I was, the more I got. So, who was the fool? Who was the fool?' — That's what I say. That doesn't work for everyone, but fighting never works [for me]. It's an anchor, and holding a grudge and resentment is an anchor," (via Hollywood Life). The Bravo star goes on to affirm that, though she and her ex live together, they are not together. She describes it as a (non-traditional) living arrangement.

Dolores Catania shares two children with Frank: the pair's daughter, Gabrielle, and their son, Frankie. While the divorce was a challenge at first, she was able to pull herself back up: "I made a pact to myself that I would be honest about my story. I made a pact with myself that I wouldn't take away from my kids what I had, and I would make the best of what I could of that situation. I really hope to inspire a lot of people going through that" (via Hollywood Life).

Dolores Catania was engaged to another man for a time

Frank Catania isn't the only man Dolores Catania has been in a long-term relationship with. Dolores was actually engaged to another man who was never featured on the show, but she ultimately ended the relationship. While she hasn't shared the specifics of why that relationship didn't work out, Dolores did once tell HuffPost that it can be a problem if people don't understand the relationship she has with Frank, especially since she and Frank are so closely involved in each other's lives.

She said, "It never works out when a new partner does not understand the dynamics between Frank and myself. Frank and I are not married and obviously not involved beyond being good friends and co-parents as well as partners in business." While Dolores Catania hasn't shared too much about her ex, she has been happily dating David Principe for a while now. Principe is an OB-GYN and maternal-fetal-specialist in New Jersey.

Dolores Catania on the unpredictability of life

Dolores Catania has always been happy to chat about her BF, David Principe. At the very start of their relationship, she introduced him to the Housewives universe in a chat with The Daily Dish: "He's a perinatologist, which is a doctor that helps women deliver high risk pregnancies. His first love is his job and that's a lot to handle because this is a man that works seven days a week. He's on call constantly. Yet I'm very attracted to this man." She explained that her boyfriend was very different from her ex-husband.

For his part, Frank Catania told the publication that he was actually unsure about Principe at first, but that things have worked out: "David and I are not from the same mold. As time has gone on [though], me and David have become much closer" (via The Daily Dish). What's more, Frank actually built David's dream house, with all three — Dolores, Frank, and David — living together for a time while Principe's home was being completed.

In regards to the non-traditional cohabitation, Dolores told People in September of last year that in fact, "There's more of a bromance going on in my house than a romance." She added, "Frank is a gentleman, he's always been very good." As for taking the next step with Principe, the RHONJ star hasn't ruled it out. In fact, at the end of 2020, she told E! that life was unpredictable, "So, can I see myself married again? I guess with the right person."