When you sign on to be a Real Housewife, you agree to put up with a lot. In past seasons, we’ve seen women from the various shows throw wine, flip tables, hurl stripper accusations, cheating allegations and illness-faking charges, and generally talk a whole lot of smack.
But there’s one thing Real Housewives of Orange County star Gretchen Rossi isn’t willing to put up with any more: the use of the word ‘bullying’ when it comes to her show. Specifically, she’s sick and tired of her former friend, Alexis Bellino, blaming Gretchen and other cast members of bullying her when they’re not getting along. Case in point: The recent dinner party for the opening of Tamra Barney’s new business venture, CUT Fitness. After arguing with Tamra and being asked to leave the event, Alexis broke down in her car, claiming she had once again been bullied.
Speaking exclusively with Wetpaint Entertainment, Gretchen explains why she takes the term “bullying” so seriously, and why she’s appalled that Alexis continues to use it.
Wetpaint Entertainment: Tell us why it upsets you so much when Alexis says she’s being bullied.
Gretchen Rossi: First and foremost, the definition of bullying is using force or coercion to intimidate others. Bullying is not elective. If you’re being bullied, you don’t just have the option to walk away any time you want to. What we do is elective — there’s zero force to do it. We’re being paid. Everyone who signs up for the show knows what it’s about — it’s about having an opinion about the other women and how they act.
And what you’re saying is that there’s a big difference between children who are too scared to go to school and a grown woman crying in the back of a limo…
It’s such a serious issue in this country, so many children are affected. And listen, I’m not saying it doesn’t affect adults either, but when you have people who are losing their lives and suffering, its so grotesque and immature for someone in our position — who volunteered to be on this show — to compare themselves to that.
Last year, Alexis had confirmed she was leaving the show, but now she’s back. If she had truly felt bullied, do you think she would have returned?
She claims she quit to focus on her family. But then all of a sudden she says, 'No, I’m coming back because I can’t let the bullies win.' It doesn’t make any sense and I think it’s a plea for sympathy.
How has the whole bullying issue changed your relationship with Alexis?
It’s made me lose complete respect for her. People ask why we’re not friends anymore. Why would I be? This is a grown woman who is able to stand up and defend herself but instead using bullying as an excuse not to. I don’t get it and I don’t like it.