For nearly 20 years, Jacqueline Laurita called the Garden State home, but the former star of The Real Housewives of New Jersey moved onto brighter — and presumably less drunken and probably less Italian — pastures. Though it’s hard to imagine the peaceful calm she’ll feel in the desert, away from Danielle Staub’s 21 engagements and Teresa Giudice’s general temperament, it’s not really clear what drove her away (well, besides stripper-gate).
The star’s move comes in the middle of some serious financial problems for the family, who have been battling foreclosure on their Franklin Lakes mansion since 2015. Between bankruptcy and fraud cases, it’s not really surprising the couple would want a new start. As Laurita claimed in her famous opening sequence tagline, “I am a Vegas girl, I will call your bluff.” So let’s call it. The move feels like a reckoning for the star, who’s moving back to the state that made her, but is it for brand new business opportunities or is she crawling home with her designer purse between her legs?
Jacqueline Laurita stopped being a reality housewife in 2017
In 2017, Jacqueline Laurita put all the table flipping, weave pulling, and baptism brawls behind her when she quit The Real Housewives Of New Jersey for good. She has little more to show for it other than a ban from the North Jersey Country Club and a presumable mountain of debt that would likely keep her away regardless (the place is expensive enough that membership prices are not listed on the website).
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the reality star confirmed that she was leaving the show because the network felt like she “no longer [had] an authentic connection with two of the season’s cast members” and she “no longer fit in with the group.” Of course, she was talking about Teresa Giudice and her sister-in-law Melissa Gorga. Generally, people don’t take too kindly when you out their plastic surgery on national TV and say they’re “full of f***ing sh**,” so it’s not clear what Laurita was expecting.
According to Laurita, Bravo offered her a part-time role with the option of it becoming full time if she gelled with the girls, but she turned them down. “That feeling that I had to kind of tryout again, it just didn’t feel right,” she told Entertainment Tonight.
Other reports — which Laurita denied — claimed she had asked for too much money. Either way, she’s free from the tethers of Bravo to make her big cross-country move.
Major money problems have plagued Jacqueline Laurita for years
It’s easy to speculate that Jacqueline Laurita’s move was rooted in financial problems. Her family was embroiled in a bankruptcy case for her husband’s Signature Apparel clothing company for years. According to Radar Online, the star owed “nearly $340,000” in back taxes from a tax lien that was filed in 2013. A separate tax lien from that same year saw her owe the IRS an additional $85,127. This isn’t including the nearly $10,000 she allegedly paid off in 2016.
Let’s just say, things haven’t been easy for Laurita — especially while caring for a son with autism — but she was honest about her struggle when she returned to Season 7 as a full-time cast member. “After my husband lost his company during that rough economy, it took some time for the decrease in income to catch up to us,” she wrote on her Bravo blog. “We were also not prepared for the cost of raising a child with special needs … Somehow, during our struggle, we have managed to stick it out and keep fighting to get through it.”
As of 2016, Laurita’s husband was still trying to make BLK beverages happen, despite the fact it had been sucked into another lawsuit. His second company, The Little Kernel, appears to no longer even have a website, though they were reportedly looking for a $200 million investment in 2018. It sure seems like the family could use a fresh start.
Chris Laurita's fraud case was anything but cheap
Jacqueline Laurita spent the better part of a decade navigating a very complicated bankruptcy case with her husband Chris Laurita — and things really didn’t work out in their favor. In fact, Chris was found liable for fraud and ordered to pay $1.8 million (roughly, the price of the Franklin Lakes mansion they can’t seem to sell).
In 2009, Chris’ clothing company, Signature Apparel, filed for bankruptcy. Everything seemed normal, at least in the world of Real Housewives bankruptcy cases, until a year later when they were sued by a court-ordered official who claimed the pair (along with other family members) “[used] Signature Apparel bank accounts to pay for private jets, lavish vacations and expensive cars,” according to NJ.com.
Radar Online reported that Chris’ brother and sister-in-law, Joseph and Adeline Laurita, managed to settle their end of the suit in 2014. The star’s other brother, Anthony Laurita, took his portion of the case to court, but Jacqueline and Chris struggled. Their bankruptcy attorneys reportedly quit after the pair was unable to pay an outstanding $290,000 in legal fees, and their case was stalled. Chris did get his final fraud ruling until 2017, a whopping eight years after the bankruptcy case began. It is not clear how the couple plan to pay the $1.8 million owed, but selling their stuff on Facebook seems like a start.
Wanna buy Jacqueline Laurita's New Jersey home?
It wasn’t exactly clear that Jacqueline Laurita wanted to leave the Garden State when she first listed her massive, Franklin Lakes mansion for $2.85 million in 2014, but it became increasingly more apparent in 2017, when the star left The Real Housewives of New Jersey and began aggressively slashing her home’s prices.
According to NJ.com (via Page Six), the star listed the property for $2.78 million in 2017. Later that year, it was relisted for $2.3 million, but they still couldn’t find a buyer. In 2019, amid plans for the family’s cross-country move, the property was listed again — at $1.95 million. As of this writing, it’s down to $1.75 million — nearly a million less than the couple was hoping to originally receive, and barely more than they paid for it, according to Bravo.
The Lauritas’ home is undeniably nice. Is it multi-million dollar nice? Who knows? It’s unclear why they haven’t found a buyer in 5 years other than the fact that the “median home price in Franklin Lakes [in spring 2019] is $1.1 million,” according to Page Six. The couple bought the six bedroom and 5.5 bath property in 2001. It’s even got a wine cellar and gym, but with whiffs of foreclosure in the air, the couple might not have had much of a choice to sell it. Instead, they traded their spacious digs for a camper van, albeit temporarily. Sounds, erm, comfy.
Is foreclosure sending Jacqueline Laurita to Nevada?
Jacqueline Laurita’s Franklin Lakes mansion has been the subject of near-continuous foreclosure litigation since 2015. According to NJ.com, their lender first filed foreclosure papers in June 2015. The couple reportedly hadn’t made a payment since October 2014, but some kind of arrangement was reached in 2016, because the foreclosure was dismissed. A different lender filed another notice of foreclosure in July 2017, which was active as of the April 2019 report. In other words: if the Lauritas can’t sell their home, it will be taken from them.
When the family started selling their belongings on Facebook, it didn’t really help the rumors that they might actually be losing their residence. They listed 14 items worth a total of $16,810, including $4,500 chandelier (that you had to come and remove yourself if you wanted it) and a $200 signed Silence of the Lambs poster. Though Chris said (via NJ.com) that they were selling their stuff because their new home was a “completely different style,” it does make you wonder if the pair is moving back to Laurita’s hometown to cope with their financial woes.
In an Instagram post, Jacqueline admitted her parents, brother, sister-in-law, nephews, and cousins all live in the Las Vegas area, so there is no doubt that the family connection made the locale switch more attractive. However, it must also be noted that Las Vegas is notoriously cheaper than Bergen County, one of the richest counties in New Jersey. Coincidence?
Chris Laurita claims the family left New Jersey for an 'opportunity'
It’s clear that the Lauritas’ life is in transition. Jacqueline is no longer on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and it’s unclear what exactly is going on with Chris’ popcorn endeavor, the Little Kernel. With his bankruptcy case seemingly over, the couple is apparently trying to start some new sort of business endeavor. According to NJ.com, Chris admitted the new opportunity forced them to relocate, hence the Facebook moving sale. So, what is it?
We know next to nothing about what the couple are actually doing around Vegas. In an Instagram post, Jacqueline said that Chris was moving to Nevada for her the same way she moved to New Jersey for him, but she also claimed that he planned to open an office and warehouse nearby in California with his business partners. It’s not really clear what business will operate out of the new location. Whatever it is, it seems like the right move for the family.
“Why can’t someone write something positive about a family pulling up their bootstraps and moving on to bigger and better opportunities?” Chris wrote in a Facebook message (via NJ.com). “What we’re doing is a good thing and is best for our families future. We are looking forward to it.”
Jacqueline Laurita is leaving New Jersey the same way she arrived
Jacqueline Laurita is shipping out of New Jersey the same way she came in — and not with any of the fancy cars allegedly expensed on Chris’ company card. The former RHONJ star embarked on the great America road trip by choosing to drive across the country in a huge RV.
In an Instagram post, Jacqueline’s daughter Ashlee Holmes Malleo wrote, “It was this month 18 years ago that I got into an RV with my mom and her fiancé (I would soon call him Dad) to embark on a new adventure — moving from Henderson, Nevada to Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. I was only 10 years old at the time. Today, I watched my family get on an RV to move back across the country to Nevada.”
To keep up with the sentimentality, Jacqueline rented her RV from the same company she used when she moved to New Jersey for the first time. “I’m rolling out the same way I rolled in,” she wrote in an Instagram post. Though being trapped on a tin can on wheels with your parents is basically a nightmare for most kids, it seems like the family are actually enjoying their time together. Jacqueline shared some Instagram Story updates (captured by Bravo) that showed her kids cooking s’mores and popcorn over a campfire. We’re wondering why they used Jiffy Pop instead of the Little Kernel. Isn’t loyalty everything to the Housewives?
There is one thing Jacqueline Laurita isn't bringing to Nevada
Jacqueline Laurita might be leaving the drama of The Real Housewives of New Jersey in the Garden State, but she still has some ties waiting for her return. The star’s daughter Ashlee Holmes Malleo, who’s best known for pulling out Danielle Staub’s extensions and getting into bratty fights with her parents, decided to stay behind. It’s pretty interesting when you consider the fact that Malleo left her parents for the West Coast in 2011, but the girl is now a married mama.
Malleo had her first child with then-fiancé Pete Malleo in 2016. The pair finally tied the knot two years later, and though Laurita admitted her “life will be complete” once she could convince her daughter to move out west with her grandson, Malleo felt like the timing wasn’t right.
“Ending this chapter of my life has been incredibly difficult for me, but I could not be happier for my family and their new beginnings,” Malleo wrote on Instagram. “I don’t know if I’ll ever end up back West. For now, my story is meant to continue here in New Jersey … but you bet your a** I’ll be visiting!”
Hey, at least she says she’s coming for Christmas, Jacqueline!
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