There have been plenty of tears shed on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," but any crying in Sunday's episode—in which housewife Caroline Manzo's brother Jaime Laurita weds Rich Lane, his partner of 14 years, in Chicago—is 100 percent happy. Differences among the cast members, especially between Manzo and Teresa Guidice, were set aside.
"I would've rather had a knock-down dragout in the middle of the airport than have it at my brother's wedding on his special day," Manzo said. "It wasn't going to happen."
Laurita called the ceremony, held at the couple's Northwest Suburban home, "magical." He said after Illinois legalized civil unions for same-sex couples last year, he and Lane immediately knew they would take the plunge. Four weeks later, they were trading vows in an emotional episode taped for the reality program. His sister delivered a heartfelt and moving speech.
"I really thought, at that moment, I'm really proud of her," said Laurita, a chef, party-planner and designer to stars including Madonna and Sting. "I'm proud of us. And I'm proud of me."
Lane, who still gets emotional recalling the day, said he loves that viewers are "going to see our love."
Sunday ends a two-episode arc on the Bravo show in which Manzo, her brother Chris Laurita and his wife, Guidice and her husband Joe, travel to Chicago for the wedding. Along the way, there is—of course—drama. In last week's episode, Joe Guidice made a joke about a gay cast member. Manzo and Laurita defended Guidice's remark as not intended to be offensive.
"There is absolutely no malice there," Laurita said. Manzo agreed that Guidice, who's been accused in the past of homophobia, meant no harm.
"Clearly over the years, there have been remarks made. There is some sort of phobia there, there's no denying that," she said. "But that particular moment, that joke, that bad joke, to me was just a poor attempt at bad humor."
There continues to be no love lost between Manzo and Teresa Guidice, though, something that's clear during the Chicago trip. Manzo said she was particularly angry that Teresa Guidice chose the wedding reception to announce that her book had hit the best-sellers list.
"Be on the best-seller list a thousand times over, it doesn't affect my life. Good for you," Manzo said. "But you know what? It's my brother's day and the thing is, everything can't be about you in this world. Give people their moment, give people their time."
Manzo said there's no back story behind her sister Dina Manzo's absence from the wedding, pointing out that only two of Laurita's 10 siblings were able to make the event on short notice.
"This wedding was planned in four weeks' time," she said, pointing out that Dina Manzo had work, other relatives couldn't afford to take the trip and some had previous obligations. "Don't read too much into it."
"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on Bravo.
Want to watch Sunday's episode with Jaime Laurita and Rich Lane? A viewing party and prize raffle will take place at 7 p.m. at Spin nightclub at 800 W. Belmont Ave. in
, with proceeds from the $10 cover charge going toward Equality Illinois.