She may no longer hold the title of Real Housewife, but Caroline Manzo is holding her head very high these days. Well rested since completing her final season on RHONJ over a year ago, she has been spending lots of time with her family and being “normal”. Now preparing for her reality television return in a new, self titled series, she’s ready to bring the light hearted laughter back to Bravo. I caught up with Caroline at the annual Spring Sparkle shopping event.
TBB: The Manzo’d With Children pilot is complete and you are about to start production on the real McCoy…
CM: Yes, the real McCoy! Eight episodes which we will start filming in about 2 weeks. I don’t know how long the process will take, maybe 8 or 9 weeks.
TBB: How do you think this will compare to filming Housewives?
CM: It’s a completely different animal. It’s a half hour (show), it’s light hearted. There will be dilemmas and stuff but not the crazy drama that Housewives was. It kind of just spotlights the way we live our life in our house.
TBB: I know your mother, Nettie Laurita, she’s a very creative , very interesting and inspiring woman. Will she be on the show at all?
CM: I don’t know. We only have 8 episodes and they will be following our lives, so I don’t know what’s going to make it on. There’s so much going on with me and Al, and the three kids (Albie, Lauren, and Christopher) and then there’s the extended family, Vito (Scalia), and my sister Fran (Laurita) who’s also on the show. That’s a lot to pack into 8 episodes in a half hour, really only 22 minutes when you count the commercials!
TBB: How are the plans for Lauren and Vito’s wedding coming along?
CM: We’re taking out time. She’s got a year left as she’s getting married next summer. We have the venue, obviously The Brownstone, and we have the church and the band booked. Probably July or August we’ll start wedding gown shopping. Then I’m just going to sit back and relax! The hardest part I don’t even have to worry about. I’m just going to show up at The Brownstone and I’m sure everything will be fine!
TBB: What has it been like knowing the The Real Housewives of New Jersey is taping and you are no longer a part of it, after you were for so many seasons from the very beginning of the series? Do you miss it at all?
CM: It was funny, my husband and my kids said to me, “We got your back,” because it takes a toll on you. I am just happy and relaxed enjoying time with Al and the kids. I’ve been playing tennis, and getting back in the gym, and cooking dinner. I’m just being normal. Not one single second did I think about it, not one moment did I miss it. I wish them all well, obviously. My time was done, I knew when it was time to go and I opted out.
TBB: Have you heard anything about the filming of Season 7?
CM: I know nothing, I know absolutely nothing. If I see any of the ladies I don’t ask about it. When something is in my past, it’s in my past. I had nothing left to give, I didn’t see eye to eye with a lot of the way things were going, so why would I go back and ask questions and wonder how filming was going? I would have stayed on otherwise. So, I left for a reason and I’m happy.
TBB: What was your initial reaction when you found out that your sister Dina (Manzo) was rejoining the cast of Housewives?
CM: It’s her choice and I’m not going to say more than that.
TBB: Are we going to see a revival of the Ham Game?
CM: I hope not! Those kids you know what, they don’t stop! I love them to death! They keep me young, they keep me laughing all the time, you know, Ham Game, who knows! If it’s not Ham Game, leave it to Christopher to think of something else I’m sure!
TBB: How’s Jacqueline doing?
CM: Jacqueline’s doing great! Nick is in therapy, we’re all hands in on that. It’s 1 step forward, 100 steps back, but I’ve always said, “If love can cure, he’ll be fine.”
TBB: Will we see Chris and Jac on (Manzo’d With Children)?
CM: I hope so, they are a very big part of my life. Again, it’s only 8 episodes and when you’ve got a family as big as mine…My house is like the hub, mine and Chris’s house are where everything all happens. But again, it’s like the Housewives, they film thousands of hours and you just never know what’s going to make it.
TBB: What do you hope viewers get out of Manzo’d With Children?
CM: I want them to smile. I want them to laugh and I want them to smile because that’s what life’s about!