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Dina Manzo: Why I Left ‘Real Housewives’

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Jun. 17 2010, Published 12:00 p.m. ET

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When Dina Manzo announced her departure from Real Housewives of New Jersey this week, she left the reality show that includes sister/sister-in-law Caroline and sister-in-law Jacqueline Laurita.

“It got a little too dark for me,” the glam mom, 39, says during Samsung's Four Seasons of Hope Gala held this week at Cipriani Wall Street. “I thought it was going to be silly drama like ‘How dare she leave my dinner party early?’ and stuff like that. I didn’t know it was going to be going in the direction that it did.”

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She finally decided she couldn’t take it anymore during a benefit for a child with cancer held at The Brownstone in Paterson, N.J.

“Danielle made a mockery of it and she thought it was about her,” Dina says. “These are the kids I work day in and day out for. I have a foundation for children with cancer and these families are like my family, and for her to walk in there and blow up about me — you don’t do that. This is about a sick little girl, not her, so that was it.”

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How does her family feel now that they’re back to reality – sans cameras?

“My husband’s thrilled. My sisters-in-law, they’re bummed, but they’re hoping I’ll come back for season three.”

Hm, would she return a la Angelina on Jersey Shore?

“I’m not even thinking about that right now,” Dina says. “I’m enjoying being out of it for now.”

In fact, she’s vying for a spot on The Real Housewives of New York City.

“I see them all the time. I saw Alex, Ramona and Jill this week. I told Andy, 'I’m just a bridge and tunnel away.’ I could go on that show.”

For now, though, she’s focusing on life with her hubby Tommy and teenage daughter Lexi.

What’s her secret to a happy marriage?

“You have to remain his girlfriend,” Dina says. “Don’t become that nagging wife. Remember why he fell in love with you and keep it up.”

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