Gina Kirschenheiter opened up about her troubled marriage to her ex-husband Matt Kirschenheiter during a recent interview, insisting that while Matt was “mentally abusive” towards her throughout their marriage, he was not always violent.
While speaking candidly about their marriage, which came to an end last year after Matt was arrested on charges of domestic assault, the Real Housewives of Orange County cast member denied that their marriage was “physically abusive” before explaining why she ultimately went public with their troubles and revealing how she feels about his current girlfriend, Brit.
“[Matt] was mentally abusive,” Gina began to Access Hollywood on November 26.
“After the affair, everything was crisis mode. [We were] and trying to get over it and not getting over it, [having] explosive fights. But I was not in a physically abusive marriage. I wasn’t,” she continued. “The incident that happened that night was the first time anything like that had ever happened.”
As RHOC fans will recall, Gina was allegedly attacked by Matt in June 2019 after a night out with friends, choking her and hitting her and telling her he was going to kill her. Looking back, Gina said that she was not only afraid of her ex, but also afraid of how their fight would be received once the public found out.
“I was so terrified of him being angry because he was out of his mind and I was terrified it was going to get out. I was begging these police officers to let him go,” she admitted.
Luckily, police didn’t do as she requested and now, over a year later, she knows it was for the best.
“I think this pattern of behavior would have continued on and I think it would have gotten worse because typically that’s what happens,” she explained.
Looking back at the start of her marriage to Matt, with whom she shares three children, Gina said that the two of them started off “fine.” However, just one year before Gina landed her role on the RHOC, she learned that Matt was having an affair.
“We were trying to rebuild and work on it.So I never shared that because in my head the first season, I got myself to a place where that happened and I felt like we weren’t right for each other from the beginning. And even now, I do still believe that. That whole year, I didn’t tell my parents. I told nobody. That [wasn’t] something I was [going to] share. I always tried to protect my kids.”
Eventually, after hiding her marriage struggles from RHOC viewers, Gina decided to come clean about what she was going through so that her drama with Matt didn’t “eat [her] alive.”
Although Gina’s split from Matt was quite messy, the two of them are now on much better terms and earlier this season, Matt and his girlfriend, Brit, who is not the same woman he cheated on her with, made an appearance on the show.
“His girlfriend now, Brit is great. She’s great for him [and] she’s really great to my children,” Gina admitted.
As for Matt’s appearance on the show, Gina said she encouraged him to do it.”
“We had a conversation about it. I felt like it is a good message to show people,” she explained. “[Matt] has changed himself for the better. [And] I think it is important to show people that you can co-parent, as long as you have two mature adults. I know Matt is probably one of the most hated guys in America but he’s not a monster. He’s a good dad.”
The Real Housewives of Orange County season 15 airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.