She was a Real Housewives of New Jersey star for half a decade, but Caroline Manzo doesn’t for a second regret walking away from the franchise in 2013. “I don’t miss it,” declares the 53-year-old mom of three (Albie, 28, Lauren, 26, and Chris, 25) with her husband of 30 years, Al, 54. “I would never go back. It stopped being fun.” Taking a break from her new spin-off show, Manzo’d With Children, the Bravo star, 53, talks to In Touch’s Evan Real about moving on, losing weight and her prison-bound former co-star, Teresa Giudice.
Why did you decide to leave RHONJ?
CM: I felt like I had nothing more to give. And I never liked all the conflict. I prefer to peacefully resolve things. When you have an argument just for an argument’s sake, like we did a lot, it’s exhausting.
How did you leave things with your former castmates?
CM: I didn’t leave on bad terms with anyone, but I don’t hang out with any of them, except Jacqueline [Laurita]. It was more of a working relationship.
Any well wishes for Teresa as she heads to prison?
CM: All I can say is that my heart goes out to her children.
Manzo’d With Children is about your family. Are you the next Kardashians?
CM: Sure! If it starts to break us apart, I’ll stop. But so far, so good. God willing, we’ll get 10 more seasons.
Your daughter, Lauren, is getting married next year — how’s the planning going?
CM: Good. Lauren is the farthest thing from a bridezilla. She’s very budget-conscious. Her father’s the one who’s like, “That’s my little girl, she can have whatever she wants.” We’re like, “Hold on a minute!”
During your last season on Housewives, you dealt with rumors Al had cheated on you. How are things with you two?
CM: I love our marriage. We have a mutual respect for each other and we just have fun. One of my favorite things to do together is go to Newark and sit on the trunk of the car and eat hot dogs.
Speaking of which, you’ve slimmed down quite a bit lately!
CM: I still have my cheat time, but yes, I’ve dedicated myself to exercise and healthy eating. My daughter will be having babies soon; I want to be a healthy grandma! I’ve lost 13 pounds over the past seven months. At 53, I think I’m doing all right!