The headline on the flyer handed to me at the Chateau hair salon in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, said “Jersey Girls: My Fabulous Life.” It was advertising the casting of a new televised reality show, and the flyer created quite a buzz among all the local girls, who imagined that their “fabulous” suburban lives would fascinate audiences everywhere. My reaction was quite the opposite: “My life sucks, so no thanks.”
Six months later, I was again approached about appearing on the reality show. The only show airing on Bravo within the Housewives franchise at the time was The Real Housewives of Orange County and I hadn’t seen it, but it had gotten a stamp of approval from my eldest daughter, Christine (who has become my “go-to” girlfriend for all of my big decisions), so I checked the show out for myself. I definitely liked what I saw.
After viewing an episode, I found it offered refreshing insight into families as well as friendships among married and single women alike. Single moms on the show were going through their problems while getting advice and support from their castmates. This made me think I should consider participating in the show.
In the beginning, I believed being on The Real Housewives of New Jersey was going to be an uplifting, quirky, fun, joining-of-the-hands experience that would perhaps entail a little drama shared by all of us. I soon found out how wrong I was. I became the focus of a character attack delivered at the hands of those who would, I thought, be holding mine in friendship. As the first season played out, my castmates’ biggest source of ammunition was a book (that came to be referred to as “the book”)—the expose written about my first husband, Kevin Maher.
Ironically, being exposed on TV forced me to reconcile my present with my past and realize that those experiences, for better or worse, made me who I am today. As I dealt with the scrutiny of my castmates, something clicked. People were taking so much interest in someone else’s take on my life that I decided they would perhaps like to know how it had really happened. And my fellow housewives had no right to turn what was my tortured past into the present. I realized that if the public had this much interest in my life, then it was time that I told my story in my own words. There are no two sides to one’s life story. If you didn’t live it, it’s not yours to speak of. don’t want to pretend or claim to be a voice for every housewife. But I have a voice and I intend to use it. I will lend my life as an example for others.
I get notes every day from people who pour their hearts out to me about their own challenges and how they can relate to my life’s struggles on many levels. These are the people whom I wrote this book for, as well as my children and myself. Every story that’s been written about me—and there have been a lot—has been edited. This book is the unedited version of my life. What you read in the following chapters is what happened the way I remember it.
In this memoir, I’m finally baring it all. The title, The Naked Truth, doesn’t refer to being naked without clothing. It means naked as in stripped down and laid bare. It means naked without skin—totally raw to the bone. That’s exactly what this book is. No matter what has happened in my life, good or bad, I am now in a place where I can make some sense out of it and hopefully help some others to do the same. It’s time to set the record straight and correct all the lies. If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, then hell is a quaint suburb in New Jersey and the woman scorned is resident housewife Danielle Staub.
You either love me or you hate me, there is no in-between. But people are going to pay attention when I’m around.
© 2010 Danielle Staub