Love her, hate her, or love to hate her, Danielle Staub has certainly made an impression on Bravo viewers over the last two seasons as the resident villain on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. When the mother of two isn't hatching a plot for her daughters' fame, she's mixed up in the other women's drama, whether there's a table -- or Andy Cohen -- in the way or not. We caught up with Staub to get all the dirt on her current controversies.
Outi: Tell me about this event you're doing at Boxers bar in New York City this week.
Danielle Staub: On September 14, we're doing -- it's Boxers NYC, and it's a gay night club. Of course! Where else would I be? And it's a charity for stopping domestic violence. I'm celebrity guest bartending, so how's that? I might make the drinks a little too strong, but I can guarantee you whatever you over tip me for, everything's going to go to charity and to stopping domestic violence. So hopefully I'll get people to be a little more generous than they'd normally be because this cause is extremely close to me. I'm a survivor -- I don't want to speak about what I've survived. I want to help other people survive just through looking into the windows of their soul and anything I can do with the platform I've been given. I think it just speaks volumes about what we are given in opportunity with our platforms and through television and through fan-bases to just really speak out for what we believe in, and that's just the beginning for me. You know my passions. You can list them better than I can probably, but I can tell you I've lived them and I hope to see an entire packed house -- like lining up to get drinks from me.
Do you have any experience bartending?
I actually do, but you know, it's been a lot of years. So I'm not going to be like Tom Cruise in that -- what was that movie?
Cocktail, yeah! It's not going to be anything like that, trust me. But I'm going to look really cute -- that I'm sure of. So it'll make up for my bartending skills. But I can make a couple of drinks, definitely. It'll show my age when people ask for the most common drinks and I don't drink, so I'll be going, 'You want a cosmo? You want a sex on the beach? That I know' [laughs]. But, I did have some experience in Miami, so hopefully I can remember some when it comes to September 14. I might have to read a manual. Or we could maybe get me there early and do a little preview bartending. I'm sure my boys and girls would help me tune up my skills a little bit.
You've mentioned on the show how you're an advocate for gay rights, but this season you took a lot of heat when your friend Danny Provenzano called Chris Manzo a "faggot."
You know, I have so much that I could say, but I'm just going to put it simply. To me, it was probably more heartbreaking for me than for anyone that saw or heard it. I was left in a state of shock. I had no idea that someone who had known me for a month -- which was about the amount of time he knew me -- would not realize that that would cut me deeper than if he had cut me with a knife. And it caused him and I -- I don't speak to him.
I just want to make that very, very clear. I didn't ask him to apologize publicly until about a month ago, and I still haven't seen anything of the nature. I will forgive. I'll never forget. An apology is in order, not just to me. He can contact you, he can contact any gay outlet, anybody, and he can make it known. If he has the wherewithal to say a word like that in my presence, when you're invited onto my show, and I'm the host basically, then you're going to find a way to make it right. And that's up to him to do. So I'm not going to take responsibility for what anybody says or does, but I will tell you this much: He's nobody that I will call a friend, until he has made it right with the community that I've called home for over 30 years. And I hope you quote me on that, and I hope you know that nobody, nobody was affected the way I was.
That night Danny seemed like he was there as a bodyguard, and multiple times this season we saw you with bodyguards. Was that really necessary?
It was necessary. Bravo themselves knew it was necessary because they had on guards at the reunion they hired and they paid to protect me. I didn't ask them to do that. They did that. You'll see their faces blurred out in the reunion as they're trying to restrain Teresa. These women meant nothing but bodily harm to me at all times. I'm not afraid of them, but there's no reason for me to not be able to do my job, which was to entertain people and to keep it real and to be able to say what the truth is without being physically attacked. You want to scream at me? That's fine. But when you get your ass off the chair, and you get in my face -- what she did in, let's see, four minutes of the reunion out of a 14 hour day. I had to sit there for the rest of that day wondering when I was going to get attacked next. That's what it was like all season long for me. You can only imagine. And I have to do the show. I'm contracted to do the show. I have to go to places. But if you see the reunion was the first time we were all together. To be honest with you, Danny came about through a friend of mine when I did a charity softball game with Queen Latifah. He was introduced to me by a friend of mine named Frank Vincent. Frank Vincent's from The Sopranos.
It was a conflict for Frank, and he and his daughter thought that Danny would be -- he was a friend of theirs -- that Danny would be a really good person to protect me. There was a lot of rumors about what the Manzos wanted to do to me, what Teresa wanted to do to me. I mean, it's no secret how they feel about me. So why would I, just me alone, walk into any place where I have to go to fulfill my contractual duties alone, when people that are my friends are hearing that these people really want harm done to me? Why would my friends allow me to go someplace alone? They wouldn't. So when the matriarch to matriarch came -- the finale with Caroline and I -- I was with a private detective at the time named O'Connor, Jimmy O'Connor. He and his brother had a lot of information that was scaring them because ne of them was a retired Newark detective and the other is still currently a dectective. And they were hearing things as well that really made them believe that I couldn't go alone. Even if she said she was going alone, they weren't buying it because the rumor on the street was -- and this is them, This isn't me saying, 'Will you go with me? Oh my God, I'm so scared.' It wasn't me. It was people that cared about me saying, 'You're not going alone. No way. You're going to be ambushed. You're not going in there alone.' After what happened at the country club, when no one stopped any of this from happening, can you honestly say that my friends could rely on Bravo to drop the cameras to protect me? When I was chased and physically attacked? And you know what, the audience only saw a part of it.
What didn't we?
There's stuff that you don't see. Think about it. The reunion was a 14-hour day. How much can you possibly squeeze into a couple one-hour episodes?
At the reunion when Teresa came at you, it didn't seem like there were bodyguards ready. They were letting her --
Yeah, they did. And that was when, after I left, I came back, and I told them, "She moves her ass off that couch -- I want to know that you guys are doing something about it." It was after that that you see the bodyguards restraining her. Because they were told -- and that's what they told me -- they were told, 'It's OK. Just let it happen. We'll let you know.' But when I threatened to just walk, that's when they said, 'OK, we'd better protect her.' In other words, I was treated like a piece of shit. Nobody would treat any of them that way because they have husbands or because they have a big family that would be right up in arms. But what about me? The one person that I had there, my makeup artist who they made cry, he's my very dear friend, Eric. He was with me all season. And then Lori, they throw her out. They restrain her and throw her out when Teresa got on top of me. Nobody was there looking out for me but my friends and loved ones. Don't they understand I have two children? I'm a mother? And I've never done anything to deserve to be attacked like that. Am I mouthy? Yeah. But are they? Look at the things that they've said and done and investigated about me and brought up, and you don't see me jumping on top of them. Not once was I confrontational with them in a physical nature, not once. I've always tried to walk away.
What do you make of Andy Cohen on the reunion and Watch What Happens Live? He's positioned as the moderator, but it doesn't really seem like he's on your side.
Yeah, I do feel slighted by Andy -- I'll be honest with you -- and he's someone that knows how strong my ties are to the gay community. Not only that, how he's the executive vice president of Bravo. I would think he would want to treat us all at least equally. I, in no way, shape, or form, feel like I was treated as an equal. I'm not asking for favoritism, but I would have expected more from him. I truly would have. And I know he's my boss and all that, but' I'm just going to speak the truth like I always do. I'm very disappointed, and I think he's getting lashed out at by many, many fans -- gay and straight. From what I'm hearing and what I'm reading, people are very unhappy that he did not, like, throw Teresa out for her behavior. I mean, she physically picked him up and threw him. And then he sat her down like a five-year-old and said, 'Don't get off the couch again, OK, little girl?' Instead of just like, 'Get the f out of here. You can't touch me like that.'
Why did what you said about her nephew make Teresa so mad in the first place?
Well, if you notice, the only two times I saw her this season, she physically came after me. What did I speak the first time? Her house was in foreclosure. Is it in foreclosure?
It appears so'
See, if I say something that's true, they're going to go off. Yet they're allowed to sit and say two seasons full of lies about me. And then make up things to make it seem like I did things even worse than what I did when I was 20 years old. But yet I sit there and speak the truth, and they dive on top of me.
So what were you saying?
Teresa never greeted her nephew. I have proof of that in email. She never said congratulations to her brother when her nephew was born. Her brother has been directly contacting me for the past year and a half, letting me know how he feels about his sister. And how he and his wife -- pregnant wife -- were thrown from her house because they brought my favorite cookies to Christmas Eve.
Your favorite cookies?
My favorite cookies. From Corrado's! The ones I took on The Today Show in season 1 [of The Real Housewives of New Jersey].
Teresa threw a hissy fit. And not once do you see her with her brother and her sister-in-law and their beautiful children. Not once! But she glorifies everybody else. Why couldn't she show her real family? Why? Just tell me why? Because they have more than her maybe? Because she's jealous of them maybe? Or maybe they would have told the truth and said Teresa goes off like that all the time. 'It's not just Danielle. Teresa's certifiably crazy.' I think they're going to have their chance now to speak the truth. Go for it, I'm all behind you.
Of all the drama at the reunion, what was the most unnerving for you?
I would say positively the most upsetting is when Caroline spoke of my children. She can pretend that she's fooling everybody, but I have people that love me that can't stand her. I want her to know, point-blank, my friends and my family and my fans -- she just lost a lot her fans when she talked about my children. My children are beautiful, intelligent, enlightened -- and you know what? Their father doesn't seem to think that they have no light in their eyes. He doesn't have any problems with me. I defy Caroline Manzo to find more light in any of the other [women in the] cast's children. And I defy her also to ever prove that she knows anything truly about me and my kids or me as a mother. They only know what they have investigated. They should look into their own lives and leave mine alone.
But did you try to get Dina's kids taken away from her?
No, I don't even know her daughter's last name. I do know that Dina did a whole article devoted to trying to make the world believe that I did that, but Dina's not doing the show because she forged a legal document with her ex-husband's name on it, giving her daughter permission to do season 1. And when her ex-husband found out about it, he forbade her to do season 2, leaving Dina with nobody in her immediate family -- her daughter or her husband, who never taped with her once -- to do anything with her. So she left the show because she was too embarrassed to say that she forged a legal document. I had to have my ex-husband sign for my children. She didn't do that. But again, Dina lies, and everybody swears by it. Dina is more fake than the whole lot of them. It's just that she's the baby of the family, so Caroline's going to keep backing her up. I am truly the only gay advocate. And I'll tell you one thing, none of them can prove to me they've walked one foot in any Pride. Where I have walked, continuously over the years, a total this past year of eleven miles. In stilettos. To support and lift up, and be there, and hug and embrace my gay community. And I will continue to do that. I speak for equality, and I always have.
Well, we appreciate it. On the gay note, why are you being so coy about your alleged relationship with Lori Michaels?
You know, anyone can see -- Helen Keller can see -- what Lori and I are to each other. I don't feel it's necessary for me to have to confirm it or deny it. I'm just living my life. I'm a public figure, and it doesn't mean that people have to get inside of that right now. When I'm ready to talk about it, it will be my decision. I'm not going to be forced because I'm a public figure to speak about my private life any further. When I'm ready, how about I come to you and let you know?
That sounds good.
But in the interim, keep listening to our song 'Real Close.' And look out for my next song, which is coming out the end of September. It will be released digitally, as well. It's called 'Cry,' and it's going to be attached to one of my charities that I'm most passionate about that's stopping domestic violence. It has been recorded already. It was written by Lori Michaels, as well. I recorded it as a solo, and we have two more songs being released within the next six weeks. So I will be very excited to hear feedback from everyone. And if you really want to get to know me, please pick up my book, The Naked Truth. It is my memoir, and it is my story. It is very raw and up front and personal.
Is there any truth to the rumors that you've been fired from The Real Housewives and may be getting your own spin-off?
I can't at this time elaborate, but I am entertaining other networks and other production companies right now and they are entertaining me, actually, with offers. So I'm keeping my options open, and I'm just trying to survive [the aftermath of] the final part of the reunion. So God help me [laughs].
Danielle Staub will be guest bartending September 14 at Boxers NYC, 37 West 20th St., New York City.