A bombshell rumor about Melissa Gorga allegedly cheating on Joe Gorga will rock Season 13 of “The Real Housewives New Jersey,” and Page Six has exclusively learned how the messy gossip started and made it onto the show.
Multiple sources have accused Margaret Josephs’ longtime friend-turned-foe Laura Marasca Jensen of stirring the pot off-camera with the scandalous tea allegedly in order to try and land a spot on “RHONJ.”
The rumor — which has had social media buzzing this past week — claims Melissa, 43, kissed actor Nick Barrotta after a night out in New York a few years ago.
Sources close to the married “Tyler Perry’s The Oval” star “strongly denied” the allegations to DailyMail.com, and another insider tells us the rumor is “ridiculous.”
“[Barrotta] has been in a relationship for, like, 14 years, and they’re all friends,” the source says.
Jensen, meanwhile, admits to Page Six that she does not know whether the rumor is true, but she claims Josephs, 55, is to blame for her knowing about it in the first place.
“I was told about this [by Margaret], who was not even there, herself,” the New Jersey native says. “She told me that someone told her who was there that night.”
Jensen claims she and Josephs, who were friends for decades, spoke about the rumor “a while ago” when they were still friendly, and she kept the tea a secret for years.
“I do not think that Margaret was telling me that to ruin Melissa’s marriage,” Jensen says. “She was gossiping — it’s what she does.”
However, after the women got into a heated argument over Josephs rescinding an invitation to a Christmas party in December 2021, their friendship was never the same again.
Six weeks later, in February, Jensen says she reached out to “RHONJ” star Teresa Giudice to meet with her and Jennifer Aydin in order to “align” herself with them since she was no longer friends with Josephs and again interviewing for a spot on the show.
The three women ended up having a four-hour conversation about “life” and other topics, and that’s when Jensen says the rumor about Melissa eventually came up.
“My intention was never for anyone or their families to be hurt,” Jensen claims.
“The intention was for me to talk to Melissa alone and let her know what was being said about her because I felt I was probably not the only one that knew. I didn’t think Margaret only told me [the cheating rumor]. It had nothing to do with being on-camera at all.”
The “RHONJ” cast filmed their Season 12 reunion in late March, so Giudice, 50, and Aydin, 45, did not drop the bomb during that taping, but we’re told all the “Housewives” knew what was going on behind the scenes.
A source also shared with Page Six texts of Josephs confronting Jensen for spreading the gossip to her castmates in a group chat, calling her former friend a “snake” and a “beast.”
“She went to two people who didn’t like [Margaret] crying to them and telling them all these stories,” a source says.
“Things with an ounce of truth, she twisted it. So were Margaret and Melissa ever out with these guys? Yes. Was there ever any kissing? No. No one made out with anybody.”
Several sources also question Jensen’s “thirsty and desperate” motives, telling Page Six that they had noticed a change in the seemingly aspiring reality star’s appearance over the years while she was still part of Josephs’ friend group.
“As Margaret became more popular on the show, this girl turned into this ‘glamazon’ with full make-up, hair and extensions, and she was dying to get on the show,” one insider says.
Jensen confirms to Page Six she spoke to production three separate times about coming on board because she thought filming the reality show would be “fun,” but she insists that talking about the cheating rumor was not an attempt to get in the spotlight.
“Obviously, they’re putting up a united front and if they don’t give it life and they just keep blaming it on me, then no one has to fess up to anything,” Jensen says.
“Margaret will just keep saying I made it up, nobody has to come clean about anything, and then I become the villain when I’m not.”
A third insider tells Page Six exclusively that Aydin — not Giudice — was the “Housewife” who eventually brought up the rumor on-camera while shooting Season 13.
Still, the Gorgas decided not to attend Giudice’s wedding to Luis Ruelas on Saturday, as Page Six exclusively reported, because they believed she played a part in the rumor coming to light.
When asked whether she thought Giudice wanted the rumor to come out on camera, Jensen tells us, “Of course not. She didn’t want her brother to be hurt.”
“I don’t believe for one second that [Giudice] wanted that on camera,” she adds. “This had nothing to do with loyalty to Teresa. It was truly said to try and meet with Melissa to let her know what was being said.”
Jensen concludes, “I stand by my truth. I never said [the rumor] was true. I said I was told by Margaret that someone saw that. I never said that Melissa did that.
“I would never, ever try to hurt someone and their family. I’m sorry that this happened like this because of Margaret and the way she wants to spin things and try to make it look like I’m a bad person.”
Josephs declined to comment, but a source points out that Jensen interviewed to be on “Housewives” three times and says that “speaks for itself.”
A source close to production confirms to us that the rumor “does come up” on Season 13, which does not yet have a premiere date.
Reps for the Gorgas, Giudice and Bravo also declined to comment.
This content was originally published here.