Shareif Ziyadat
Shareif Ziyadat
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Real Housewives of New Jersey star Melissa Gorga divides her attention three ways — between her marriage, her three children, and her work, which includes being part of the Bravo show and launching a singing career.

It has been an adjustment for hubby Joe.  Since 2011, Melissa’s role on the Real Housewives show has caused family tension with sister-in-law — and fellow Housewife — Teresa Giudice.

In addition to the added drama, the busy schedule has tested their marriage. They celebrate their eighth anniversary today.

“It’s made me a lot busier,” friendly Melissa, 33, tells me this week during the Voli Light Vodka Seminar at Lilium in NYC. “He’s very used to me being home 24 hours a day. I still try to put dinner on the table every single night. I still don’t have anybody helping me at home — I do everything myself. It’s hard, but I try to keep everything as regular as possible. My family will always come first with me, no matter what. I do try to keep everything regular.”

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While she despises washing dishes and folding laundry, she does it with a smile on her face – and with no help from hubby Joe.

“Never. Joe is not that guy. He gets up at 6 a.m., he goes to work, when he comes home, he doesn’t change diapers. That is not who Joe is. I did not marry that guy. But he’s everything else but that.”

Being a hands-on mom is very important to Melissa, whose young children are Antonia, Gino and Joey.  She prides herself on being there for their milestones.

“Well, Antonia has lost both of her front teeth, which is really funny and it looks so cute,” she says. “She eagerly awaits the tooth fairy to come every night. It seems like she’s losing a tooth a day. But yeah, it’s really cute. She’s losing her front teeth, and she just learned how to ride a bike without training wheels. She’s moving to the next level. It’s crazy — it’s my little girl and she’s growing up. It was just her 7th birthday.”    

Hm, what does she get from the tooth fairy?

“She gets a $20. I used to get a $5, and she gets a $20, so she’s pretty lucky. She literally puts it in her piggy bank, and we all never see it again. Yeah, she sticks it in the slot, and that’s it — it’s in there. [laughs]”

When the couple can sneak away for a date night, they head to TAO n NYC.

“We enjoy a good dinner out together,” she says. “I have kids all over my house — toddlers everywhere. When Joe and I go out to relax, we go out to dinner and have a couple drinks and just spend time alone without all the loud craziness going on.”

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As much as Melissa loves being a mom, having more children is not on the agenda.

“No, I’ve always said that three was my number,” she says. “That was always my number, and I have three, beautiful, healthy children, so I’m happy. I’m happy like this. I like to give a lot of attention to my kids and spend a lot of time with them. The more you have, the more you have to spread yourself. I think I’m good with three.”

For Melissa, keeping a strong union is the top priority even when things get chaotic.

“I think it has a lot to do with respect. We respect each other. We have a lot of the same family values. He agrees with me when it comes to the kids, and how we want to sit down to dinner every night with our children and spend a lot of time with our kids.”

Of course, maintaining the “momshell” image is the other secret to their success.

“I try to keep it fresh for him,” she says. “I try to put on the things that I think he wants to see me in, and he does the same. If he likes my hair curly, I’ll curl it that way. That’s pretty much what I do. I respect him, I try to keep him interested, I try to look good for him. He does the same thing for me, and it works.”

His favorite color? Red.

“Joe loves red, so I try to buy every red shirt I can find. Joe loves red. He does. I have no idea why he loves it so much, but he just says he loves red and he loves to see me in red, and he used to love my dark hair with the red. I look for red. [laughs]”

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He returns the favor.

“I love Joe in a pair of sweatpants with sneakers and a baseball cap. I love when he’s dressed down, and he looks like that and shaves a little bit of an edge in his face — that’s my favorite.”

Not only does Melissa watch her style, but she also watches her waistline in order to keep her hubby happy.

“When I go out, I drink Voli Light Vodka because it’s half the calories, it makes sense, and I’m very big about portion control. You have to have whatever you want, but just do it in smaller portions. I don’t believe in looking at something and not being able to taste it. So if you look at the cupcake, cut it into thirds and have a piece of the cupcake. That’s it. I think it’s all portion control.”

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Their mutual admiration helps them weather challenges that life inevitably unveils.

“Yeah, we put our house up for sale in May,” she says. “We actually put our Shore house up for sale, too. We got an offer on it for full price, and we didn’t take it. I don’t know if we really want to sell it, or if we don’t. And my house is up for sale still, yes. It’s up there in price, so we don’t expect to sell it overnight. It’s going to take awhile.”

She adds, “It’s a rough market. It’s probably one of the roughest. We’ll see what happens.”

Melissa Gorga joined Voli Vodka for a Skinny Sipping Seminar to celebrate the launch of their latest flavor, Mango Coconut. Catch Melissa on Real Housewives of New Jersey, which airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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