The drama you didn’t see on Jersey Shore
If there’s one thing MTV’s Jersey Shore isn’t short on, it’s drama — and producers perfectly curated the right amount of boredom vs. alcohol to make the magic happen. In a V Magazine interview, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi revealed they weren’t allowed to have cell phones, watch TV, read, listen to music, or write and pass notes (except apparently the note).
“It’s kind of like being in jail for two months — and people wonder why all we do is drink! It’s because there’s nothing else to do! … If you’re sober the whole time, you will go insane and kill yourself,” she said.
Despite throwing everything from drinks and punches to literal mattresses, this group of hard-partying twentysomethings (and now thirtysomethings because it’s actually been a decade since Season 1) somehow fist-pumped their way into lifelong friendship. With real friendship comes real-life drama, and when the cameras stopped rolling, the cast members still manage to support each other throughout it all (though they reserve the right to have an occasional tabloid-fueled spat). Here’s all the drama you didn’t see on Jersey Shore and Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.
JWoww struggled with her son’s autism diagnosis
Jenni “JWoww” Farley might have been hitting the club, and trying to stay positive during her time on Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, but the mother-of-two was struggling behind-the-scenes as her son, Greyson, missed a major developmental milestone. At two years old, he “still wasn’t speaking” (per E! News), which led to a disconnect between Farley and her husband. In an interview with Today, the star revealed that while she was concerned about Greyson’s health, her estranged husband Roger Mathews felt it was “no big deal.” This led to feelings of loneliness for the reality star.
“In that aspect, I felt very alone because I felt the only parent being like, ‘Am I bad wanting to get him help, or, ’cause Roger’s not concerned, so should I not be concerned?'” she told the morning show.
Farley did have reason to worry. In an interview with Hollywood Life, the star revealed that her son had been diagnosed with autism, and they’ve started a regimen of therapies.
“To find out Greyson is ‘behind’ or ‘delayed’ crushed me,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “But only for a moment… that moment came from wanting to have ‘perfect children’ and ‘how could this happen to me?’ But Grey is perfect and it can happen to anyone.”
The cabs (to rehab) are here
Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino made a personal brand out of his hard-partying ways, but things slowly spiraled out of control and sent the Jersey Shore star (figuratively) calling a cab to rehab. According to the Daily News, Sorrentino developed an addiction to painkillers after suffering an injury on Dancing with the Stars in 2010. People also noted he was battling drug and alcohol addiction. The certified “MVP” member realized things had gotten out of control two years after his DWTS injury when he ran out of his prescription during a trip to Australia.
“All I had to do was get dressed for a family function and I couldn’t do that,” Sorrentino told The Associated Press (via the Daily News). “The shirt was laid out, the belt, the pants, everything. The shower was on. I couldn’t even get out of bed … If I can’t do that how am I going to continue?”
It wasn’t long until he checked himself into a treatment facility and got clean with the help of opioid addiction medication and therapy. As fans of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation have seen, the star now has a much more chilled-out demeanor, and focuses his attention on enjoying carbohydrates rather than cocktails.
From the shore house to the jail house
GTLs won’t be the same for the Situation, following his eight month, tax evasion prison sentence. They certainly have gyms and laundry behind bars, but we’re guessing the reality star is going to come out looking a little pale. According to NBC News, Sorrentino pleaded guilty alongside his brother Marc to “filing falsified tax returns on nearly $9 million.”
According to TMZ, Sorrentino’s sentencing got delayed several times, which allowed him to tie some much needed knots like filming Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, and marrying his girlfriend Lauren Pesce. The star began his sentence in January 2018, and so far things are going great. According to E! News, prison isn’t much of a situation for the Situation, and he’s reportedly “having the time of his life” behind bars.
“It’s like [he’s] in a senior home, he’s playing Bingo, he’s helping people recover in jail,” co-star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi told E! News. “We all talk to him through an email, so I talk to him like once a week. He’s in the gym a lot, so he’s probably gonna come out ripped … he’s doing good in there.”
JWoww filed for divorce from her longtime love
Jennifer “JWoww” Farley’s relationship with Roger Mathews blossomed throughout the entirety of Jersey Shore. According to Us Weekly, the pair first met while filming Season 1, but sparks didn’t fly until Season 3 when Farley was finally single (after her brief — and regrettable — pit stop in Pauly D’s bed). In 2012, Mathews finally popped the question while skydiving and two years later, Farley gave birth to the pair’s first child. They finally tied the knot in 2015 and welcomed their son in 2016, but then things started falling apart.
According to Us Weekly, Farley filed for divorce in September 2018 citing “irreconcilable differences,” but Mathews was determined to win her back. In an Instagram video, the truck driver claimed his reality star wife “grew tired of the repetitive pattern that we fell into” and that there was no “cheating” or “juicy details.”
“I am going to win my wife back,” Roger said, “I’m going to win her affection back, I am going to win her love back. I have no intentions on being a single dad. We’re in counseling so there is hope. It ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings.”
After the divorce filing, the pair celebrated their three year anniversary with a romantic dinner, and spent Halloween together by donning a Disney-inspired group costume.
JWoww opened up about her alleged domestic abuse
Though Mathews might have been trying to win back his wife, things finally came to a full-stop when the reality star got a temporary restraining order against him. In a statement posted to her personal website (via People), Farley accused the truck driver of emotional and physical abuse. She also released a terrifying video (via TMZ) that allegedly depicted Matthews grabbing Farley and throwing her to the ground as her children screamed in the background.
Farley told People that she spoke out against her estranged husband to “protect our children and to liberate myself from all of the pain I had endured for so many years, to finally be free from the abuse and now look into the future more positively for the sake of the kids,” but Mathews doesn’t have the same point of view.
According to E! News, Mathews claimed the pair got into an argument and their daughter was put in the middle. The reality star was reportedly “screaming and slamming her bedroom door,” so Mathews filmed the encounter believing she’d try to “make false accusations.” The police reportedly responded and left, but came back to escort the truck driver out of his home at 2 a.m. That’s when Farley allegedly filed the restraining order. Her team denied Mathews’ account, and, as of this writing, the exes are embroiled in a custody battle.
Yes, Angelina and JWoww are still fighting
By the end of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, it looked like JWoww was finally warming up to Angelina Pivarnick, who left the original series for good during the second season after revealing who wrote the note (the note), and sparking an all-out war. As it turns out, there aren’t too many hatchets buried in the sand off Jenkinson’s Boardwalk because they’re currently residing in the Staten Island Dump. In other words, the girls’ temporary truce didn’t last very long.
In an interview with TMZ, the star affectionately dubbed “Dirty Little Hamster” revealed that there’s brand new bad blood between her and Farley. Her on-screen frenemy was allegedly “trashing” Pivarnick about “a fan’s Change.org petition.” As a result, Pivarnick had no other choice but to call the star a “Jersey w***e.” Since then, things have been icy between the pair, but Pivarnick did show her support when JWoww leveled abuse allegations against her estranged husband. Perhaps it’s all water under the boardwalk.
Ronnie goes to rehab
Though most of us are used to watching Ronnie Ortiz-Magro drown the shore house in a steady stream of Ron-Ron Juice and drunkenly cheat on his partners (see: the note and French Fry), the star finally entered treatment for alcohol abuse and depression in early 2019.
Ortiz-Magro seemingly always struggled while under the influence. His time on Jersey Shore almost reads like a manifesto on how quickly a party can go from fun to frightening. The star had a number of documented violent outbursts which included throwing Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola’s bed onto the front porch (while she was still on it) and sucker-punching a guy in the street, which landed him a third-degree assault charge. By the time Family Vacation aired, it was clear the star was also struggling with depression. He was documented breaking down in tears numerous times over the rocky relationship between him and baby mama Jen Harley and his failed relationship with Giancola.
“I decided to go to treatment because I wanted to be a better person, a better father for my daughter,” he told Us Weekly. “Eventually, all the bad decisions I was making were going to lead me to places that I didn’t want to be. I wanted to be led to the place that I am now –- that’s happy, healthy, and the best role model for my daughter.”
Ron & Jen make Ron & Sam look like Ozzie and Harriet
Getty Images / Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
Ronnie Ortiz-Magro’s volatile relationship with Jen Harley was showcased on Family Vacation, but things behind-the-scenes were a lot more serious than the cast let on. We all know Harley was arrested for domestic battery in June 2018 after she allegedly dragged her Jersey Shore beau with her car while their infant daughter was in the backseat. Ortiz-Magro showcased his injuries during his reality show reboot, but Harley was never prosecuted because there was “insufficient evidence.” The pattern of behavior allegedly continued through the new year — even after Ron revealed a black eye allegedly acquired when Harley punched him in the face with a phone in October.
According to People, Ortiz-Magro kicked off 2019 by filing a battery domestic violence police report against Harley following an alleged incident at a New Year’s Eve party that occurred just before midnight. The pair reportedly had a blowout at the Hustler strip club in Las Vegas because of something Harley read on Ortiz-Magro’s phone (though TMZ claims the row was sparked when Harley spilled something on Ortiz-Magro’s shoes). She reportedly “lunged” at him, was restrained by his friend, then threw an ashtray at his head. That night, the pair called it quits yet again, but as of April 2019, they were spotted snuggling up on social media.
Pauly D dodged a bullet
Paul D. DelVecchio (aka DJ Pauly D) is Jersey Shore’s resident jokester — and he’s rarely shown frowning on TV. He serves as a major source of positivity for his roommates throughout domestic abuse scandals and family deaths; however, things are apparently a little bit darker when the hair gel is shampooed out. During an episode of WE TV’s Marriage Boot Camp, ex-love Aubrey O’Day accused the Jersey Shore star of abuse.
According to People, the pair first met in 2016 on the set of Famously Single. Their season of Marriage Boot Camp opened with O’Day claiming DelVecchio “tortured” her, which shocked the reality TV star. O’Day later admitted to TooFab that she felt like she was “suffocating and losing [her] identity” in the relationship. “Torture” was the best way to describe her “journey,” but Delvecchio felt it was “a bit dramatic.”
“I’m like, ‘Torturous’? That’s an interesting word,” he told Page Six. “If it was tortuous, why would you stay in a torturous relationship? And I’m the one that left her. I think that’s a little bit fabricated, but if that’s the way she feels, it’s a good thing we’re not together anymore.”
The pair split for good in 2017, and DelVecchio told Page Six he “dodged a bullet.”
Pauly D’s baby mama drama
With the sheer number of girls MVP appeared to bed throughout Jersey Shore, it shouldn’t be surprising that one of them would eventually become a father. Who knew the grenades they were actually dodging would be babies? Pauly D reportedly knocked up a Hooters waitress during a one night stand, and it resulted in some mega-drama.
TMZ reports that the one-night-stand was probably spawned from a boozy night at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel’s Rehab pool party where Pauly D was DJing. About nine months later, Amanda Markert (who was spotted spraying down the crowd with champagne from the stage) gave birth to a baby daughter. According to Radar Online, Markert had a live-in boyfriend who believed her five-month-old daughter was his own. When news of the alleged paternity hit headlines, he was shocked and broke up with the mother of two.
After discovering his baby girl, DelVecchio definitely stepped up. He was gunning for custody even before he met her. The star reportedly didn’t think Markert was “a fit mother,” and a source told TMZ the pair “straight up hate each other.” In 2014, they managed to work out a temporary custody agreement.
“She’s 4 years old. She’s my life. She’s my princess. She’s a little mini-me,” the star told People in 2018. Aww!
Sammi Sweetheart is living her best life avoiding her ex
Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola has completely left the Jersey Shore behind her. The star was replaced with a doll when she became the sole member of the cast absent from Family Vacation. Why? We can’t say for sure that it was Ron, but it definitely — probably — was Ron.
“I am not the same as I was when I was 22, she wrote in an Instagram post regarding her decision not to join the show. “At 31, I am currently extremely happy in every aspect of my life and want to avoid potentially toxic situations.”
Since then, Giancola has become a totally taken woman. According to People, the star got engaged in March 2019 to Christian Biscardi. Her fellow castmates — including Angelina, reader of the infamous note — congratulated the former reality star. Ortiz-Magro, who dated Giancola for eight years, offered a few positive words, but was also relieved she decided to pass on their reboot.
“Who really wants to live in a house with their ex? That’s just the most uncomfortable feeling in the world,” he told People before adding, “As a family and as castmates and friends that have known her for so long, we’re just going to support whatever she does.” Still, we’re guessing his wedding will probably “get lost in the mail.”
JWoww secretly struggled with her miscarriage
JWoww might have two beautiful children now, but it was a struggle to get there — a struggle none of her castmates even knew about. The starlet hid the news of her heartbreaking miscarriage during the cast’s Season 4 trip to Italy (most of us remember that as the season The Situation and Snooki duked it out literally every single episode).
“Three to four weeks before Italy, my grandmother passed and me and Roger actually lost a baby … not a lot of people know,” Farley admitted during Family Vacation (via Us Weekly). “They put me on medication because of it because I couldn’t handle life. The medication — it was like Xanax, it would take me down. The downers would make me so groggy, then I would start taking uppers. I segued right into Italy. I was a f***ing mess.”
This trauma followed her through her pregnancy with Meilani Alexandra. In a blog post (via Us Weekly), Farley admitted she thought she had miscarried after taking multiple tests and seeing blood while going to the bathroom. She was convinced she was no longer pregnant, and “felt a loss like no other,” but it turned out to be a false alarm.
New Jersey wants them out
Viewers undeniably loved Jersey Shore. Years after the cast shipped out of the shore house, Family Vacation still had one of the “most watched” unscripted cable debuts “since 2012,” according to IndieWire. Residents of the Jersey Shore weren’t as enthused. NJ.com reports that the folks who actually have to endure the cast spiraling during meatball day were “horrified” at the thought of another season.
“The show had some potential at first, but they are a complete disgrace to the state, and they shouldn’t be here at all,” said Letisha Johnson, a resident of Seaside Heights, where Snooki was arrested for disorderly conduct in 2010.
Former governor Chris Christie even weighed in, claiming the series was “negative for New Jersey,” and vetoing the show’s $420,000 tax credit. Family Reunion was also denied filming permits in Seaside Heights, Brick, and Asbury Park’s Langosta Lounge, according to the Asbury Park Press, however, the show came up with a creative work-around for shooting the reboot. Producers reportedly ambiguously labeled the project Roadtrip Reunion, which threw Asbury Park Mayor John Moor off their scent.
It’s not just New Jersey that wanted the cast out. According to NJ.com, Miami, Florida and Florence, Italy “denied the producers permission to film” after making it out of Jersey Shore alive with slightly less dignity and a wicked hangover.