Please Don’t Try to Smell ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ Star Caroline Manzo

While "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" typically finds its glory in jaw-dropping confrontations at Italian restaurants, there's a beating matriarchal heart in all of its female players.

Most arguably in Caroline Manzo, the walking billboard for togetherness and tough love. No, really, she wrote a book about it.

"Let Me Tell You Something: Life as a Real Housewife, Tough-Love Mother, and Street-Smart Businesswoman," is currently on shelves. Manzo is soaking up some California sunshine this week, prepping for a Thursday night book signing in Newport Beach.

Omg! caught up with her beforehand to talk small-screen drama, a possible city change (!), and her weirdest fan interactions.

Tell us a little something about "Let Me Tell You Something."

It was basically born from so many times over the years, the viewers ask me the same questions over and over again. I'm married 29 years, so [it's], "How to do you keep the marriage happy?" And [questions about] raising a family, etc. I also get into having a backbone on the "Housewives," things that actually go on behind the scenes, and a smattering through those questions I've answered in my own life story.

Fans have many ways to reach you: events, Twitter, Bravo. Do you find a lot of people approach you in the flesh?

Yeah. It's nice. It's bizarre at times. You're in the neighborhood grocery store, the one I've gone to for 10 years, and people just walk up. It's very nice. I write about some of the more touching ones in the book.

Any outrageous fan moments?

The craziest was a woman ...

... who asked to smell me. She asked to get close enough to get my scent. You can't do that. And then the other day I was buying sheets, and some woman was following me. You can tell after a while when you're on their radar. And everything I bought, she bought. The towels for my bathroom, she bought. The sheets for my bedroom, she bought them.

You and your husband Albert recently bought an apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey. That's awfully close to the city [New York]. Are you thinking of jumping franchises?

Definitely not [laughs]. Albert would ultimately love to wind up in Manhattan. We go there once or twice a week. We got the place [in Hoboken] to see if we could adjust to apartment living.


I like it. But then I love my house in Jersey.

As someone who tends to be the voice of reason on the show, we often wonder what brings you back? Is there ever a point you want to step away from the crazy and live a quiet life?

I don't know that I could have that quiet life anytime soon. If I were to leave today, I don’t think I would enjoy a quiet life in the future. The show has been on so long and airs all over the world. There are moments you think of leaving, but I appreciate the show even through all the madness.

Bravo can be unpredictable with casting, and there's an inevitable rumor that one or all Housewives can be replaced at the end of a given cycle. Do you ever wish for new blood?

We're a tough bunch. I don’t know how a new person would fare on our show. When you go through what we've gone through, and you've started with nothing, then criticism, then popularity — you'd look at a new person, a stranger, like, "Step back." Unless it's family or a good friend, I don't know if a stranger could do it.

Stranger things have happened. Manzo will be signing copies of "Let Me Tell You Something" Thursday at C. Wonder's Fashion Island boutique in Newport Beach from 6-8 p.m.

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