By Drew Mackie
If you watch "Real Housewives," you're probably in a state of shock because you can't imagine your life without Danielle Staub, who this week announced her departure from the New Jersey coven of back-stabbing, smack-talking ladies of leisure. But be courageous: There's a light at the end of this tunnel and it's called Danielle Staub 2.0. The reality show force of nature recently spoke to Parade about her next series (which would likely focus on Staub daughters Christine and Jillian), her advice for future "Housewives," as well as why she parted on good terms with her former castmates and Bravo.
On hugging it out at the "Real Housewives of New Jersey" reunion:
"It took a positive turn because I needed it to. I wasn't really interested in anything but leaving peacefully. I knew I was leaving, I wanted to leave, but even right down to the final moments, Teresa started to yell again, and that's why I stood up and went over to hug her. It was really not planned. It had to end."
On making nice with Jacqueline Laurita:
"I just wanted her to know that I needed to go, and I wanted to go peacefully. The most important person for me to make peace with was Jacqueline because we had been something to one another at one point in time. I wanted that to be right, and I wanted those girls to embrace that. I don't know if you caught the change that came over my face, but I was so at peace. It was actually the first time I had a real conversation with one of my castmates on camera all season. A big change came over me; it felt really good."
On how she's feeling about the women now:
"On my end, I'm fine. I'm not going to pretend that I care about a relationship with any of them. I do, however, know that if I'm asked questions about Jacqueline, I feel like I made peace with her. She was my friend and I'm going to leave it that way. But as far as the others are concerned... fair game. I don't want to be a part of their lives."
On how her daughters, Christine and Jillian, handled the news of her exit:
"The same way as I did: They exhaled. And it feels good. A lot of peace came over my daughters and I."
On whether she will miss anything about the show:
"Nope. Not a thing. There's nothing to miss. I have my own things going on."
On her favorite memory of the past two seasons:
"Christine's sweet 16 is my best memory of the show, and that's because it was something so positive. Jillian sang and it really showed my family's respect and love. We had an unbelievable night and my kids are incredible. I was so proud. It showed us."
On where she'd headed next with talk of her own show:
"I have not excluded Bravo, but I'm not going to say where it is that I'm landing. There are several offers on the table, and I'm exploring all of them. I'm moving on in the right and positive direction, and I will be taking my entire fan base with me."
On whether she parted with Bravo on good terms:
"Absolutely. I'm leaving on very good terms with Bravo."
Advice to the next crop of "Real Housewives":
"Keep it real, stay true to yourself, and don't let anyone put you down. They all know who they are going into this. They all know what they've done and where they've been. Own up to it and definitely stay true to you."
A message to her fans:
"Although I am leaving the show, I will not be forgotten. I know that all of you have stood by me and believed in me, and I have a lot more to come. I am not done by any means. Just keep your ears and eyes open, and you will be seeing very soon where I'm going to call home in a network. I have the absolute best fans in the world. They really get the essence of me. I appreciate each and every one of them."
We're not sure whether we should interpret "you will see me soon" as a promise or as a threat. Just to be safe, we'll be checking the TV listings as well as the bars on our windows.