Gina Kirschenheiter broke down in tears on Tuesday’s Real Housewives of Orange County as she alleged that her estranged husband Matt Kirschenheiter had an affair — and claimed that he was still seeing the other woman.
The 35-year-old Long Island native spilled her claims to costar Emily Simpson, saying afterwards that she felt “a sense of relief” and “weight off [her] shoulders.”
“I’ve just been carrying it around for so long and not being able to talk about it,” Gina said, through her cries. “It does feel good, at least, to just say it and try to heal from it.”
Matt has never appeared on RHOC, his former employer forbidding he film the Bravo show when Gina began on the series.
He had no comment when reached by PEOPLE about Gina’s allegations.
As fans will recall, Gina joined RHOC last season, just as she and Matt decided to go their separate ways. (She filed for divorce from Matthew last April after eight years of marriage.)
Back then, the reality star, who shares three kids with Matt — sons Nicholas, 7, and Luca, 4, as well as daughter Sienna, 5 — denied to PEOPLE that he was unfaithful, claiming that their relationship had simply “run its course.”
RELATED VIDEO: RHOC’s Gina Kirschenheiter Struggles with Estranged Husband Alleged Affair
But on Tuesday’s episode, she was more candid, telling Simpson, 43, that she kept the alleged affair a secret from the Orange County Housewives in an effort to shield the news from their children.
“When I filed for divorce and meeting everyone going forward for our kids’ sake, I just felt like it wasn’t necessary to share that. I didn’t want to take that from my kids,” Gina said. “Plus, I wasn’t with him anymore so it didn’t matter. So I just let it go. We’ve been co-parenting really well and I was so proud of us.”
“I thought I was doing the right thing, to protect my kids and that’s all that really matters to me,” she confessed. “I don’t want my kids to think their father is a bad person, ’cause he’s not. I don’t want to be the reason that anyone would look at him badly. He’s not a bad person, it’s just hard.”
According to Gina, Matt first began his alleged extramarital affair when the two first moved to Orange County from New York. Luca was 4 months old at the time.
“We tried to work through it the best we could,” Gina claimed. “We were in therapy [and] it opened our eyes to other problems in the relationship.”
She claimed that Matt never told her his relationship with his alleged mistress was still going on. Gina learned the two were allegedly still dating, she said on Tuesday’s episode, when she claimed she found a Valentine’s Day card the woman had written to Matt in his car.
“I found out that he was still seeing this woman and has been for the past six months. And he didn’t tell me,” Gina alleged. “It hurts.”
“Finding the card felt like the day that I found out about the affair in the first place and it brought me immediately back to that moment,” Gina told audiences. “So I got really scared because I didn’t want to go back to that bad place that I was in when it all first happened because I can’t go back there.”
The information left Gina feeling as though she could no longer have “a deeper relationship” with Matt.
“We’re still going to co-parent … but for me, this changes things,” she said. “I just feel really hurt. … They think they’re in love.”
Asked by Simpson if Matt ever stopped seeing his alleged mistress, Gina said, “I couldn’t tell you.”
“I don’t even want to speak to what happened there because I don’t know, I will never know, and it just doesn’t serve me well to even think about it. It’s already taken so much from me, I can’t give it any more,” said Gina, who weeks earlier had been arrested for a DUI. “I just feel like I’m having the worst year ever and like, I can’t, like, I give up.”
And though she said she wanted to move forward, Gina did admit she didn’t want Matt’s alleged mistress in her life.
“I hate her so much,” Gina said. “Can we just send her to an island. … Send her ass away!”
Gina and Matt have still not finalized their divorce.
The two appeared to have reconciled in June, but later that month, he was arrested after an alleged domestic abuse situation, court documents obtained by The Blast showed. He has since been ordered to stay 100 yards away from her and their children.
The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Mondays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.