Fans saw Danielle Staub and Marty Caffrey tie the knot during the Sunday, December 30, episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, but according to the reality star, she had hesitations going into the marriage.
“It’s like going down the hill on a slippery slope of ice. How do you stop?” she tells Us Weekly exclusively of their four-year relationship, which she alleges has been verbally and emotionally abusive. “You slide to the end and you hit cars. Well, that’s what I’m doing. It’s not me hitting rock bottom, it’s me wanting to get rid of this whole thing because I thought that getting married might make it a little better. I thought he’d feel more secure. … I kept waiting, like most women do and most men do, you wait for that person to turn back into the person you fell in love with.”
Us broke the news in May that Danielle, 56, and Marty, 66, wed in the Bahamas in front of Bravo cameras. Four months later, he filed for divorce after she sought a temporary restraining order against him. According to the reality TV personality, she wanted her spouse to cite irreconcilable differences as the reason for their split — so they could both leave the relationship quickly and with “dignity.” Instead, Danielle states to Us that Marty filed a divorce complaint of maliciousness.
“He turned it on me. He needs to lash out. He’s not a well man. He’s really not a well man and I did everything that he wanted me to do to try to end this peacefully,” Danielle claims to Us. “I wanted him to take what little dignity he had left before I had to tell the truth and that was all I really wanted to do, was just to get him to file irreconcilable differences. If you don’t want this attention, which I did not, I didn’t need for everyone to know how he was.”
In court documents obtained by Us earlier this month, Danielle accused Marty of subjecting her to “acts of extreme cruelty,” including allegedly recording her during sex without her knowledge and threatening to expose the tapes, and allegedly mocking and harassing her for being sexually abused by her father as child. She also claimed in the court docs that Marty “verbally and emotionally abused” her daughters, Christine, 24, and Jillian, 20, whose father is her second husband Thomas Staub. (Marty denied the accusations Danielle made in her court documents in a statement to Us on December 21: “None of this is accurate or even close to the truth. This is simply Danielle Staub trying to take people out like she has in her past, but it’s not going to work this time.”)
“The fact that anyone would use your partner’s past as a way to abuse them and then verbally abuse and emotionally abuse my daughter or my children or my friends that are around me, there isn’t one woman that he’s had a conversation with that could say that he’s not an abusive man,” Danielle claims to Us. ”It’s erratic behavior and it’s constant. I mean, constant. There’s not letting off that gas.”
As for fan theories that Danielle married Marty to ensure she would have a story line on RHONJ, the reality personality wants viewers to remember that she started the series as a single parent during season 1 back in 2009.
“There was no man in my life. I didn’t need a man to be on the show. So I want people to stop with their fantasies about me needing a man to be on the show. I’m the only one that didn’t have a man, and I was still on the show,” she tells Us. “And I will still not have a man or need a man, to remain relevant on the show. That’s what an OG is, baby. We bring it. For your entertainment and for your cause.”
Additionally, contrary to what other fans may think, Danielle tells Us that it’s “almost a relief” to watch her relationship play out on the Bravo series.
“It’s no longer on my shoulders. I feel like, if anything, it should validate the behavior because you do take it out on the people you’re closest to and I was dealing with a monster at home and in my real life, so, you’re just seeing me be back out on that to whoever would listen,” she explains, referring to her costars calling her a “bridezilla” leading up to her nuptials. “It doesn’t make me feel embarrassed. It makes me a part of the Me Too movement.”
In a lengthy statement to Us on Sunday, Marty denied all the accusations of abuse and “erratic behavior” made against him. “Her deadline to answer my divorce complaint was December 21. As late as December 19, she was begging me to withdraw the divorce, pull the house off the market and reconcile. She threatened that if I didn’t that she would ‘destroy me’ and ‘go after my kids.’ I didn’t withdraw the divorce and so she filed her answer with the list of 29 horrific, defamatory and illogical claims against me,” Marty claimed to Us, noting he has a good relationship with his children and ex-wife. “Danielle was more interested and fully intended to publicize a sensational and defamatory smear of me and and my family. My divorce complaint filed in August was never released to the media. So who’s ‘airing dirty laundry?’”
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs on Bravo Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.