We’ve been obsessed with Erika Girardi—a.k.a. Erika Jayne—for years now. From marvelling over her $40K a month beauty routine, to clapping when she stood up to P.K. over panty gate, to dropping our jaws when she randomly freaked out at people like Teddi Mellencamp or Eileen Davidson, Erika is a mood.
In RHOBH season 11 though, that mood has transformed the entire group. With everything Erika has been going through over the past year and a bit, it’s no wonder her storyline has bogarted screen time. Or that the other housewives have discussed her situation at length. What is surprising are the many ways the Ice Queen has finally opened up this season, melting away her layers (and waterproof mascara) unlike ever before.
She’s more emotional than we thought possible
We’ve seen Erika ugly cry this year more than Kyle Richards has broken down over 11 seasons on this show. Is her rough façade finally melting with the stress of her divorce to Tom Girardi, or is it an act—as some fans believe? Regardless, after she broke down while hiking with Kyle earlier on this season, we believe that she’ll never step out without waterproof mascara again. Because no matter what’s going on in your life, you only need to get raccoon eyes once to learn your lesson on this show.
We filmed in the Bahamas season 9 and we were all swimming in the water. I don’t remember seeing EJ’s mascara run after swimming underwater 🤷♀️Just saying.
— Camille Meyer (@TheRealCamilleG) July 15, 2021
Her marriage wasn’t as happy as she led us to believe
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Erika has always been super positive about Tom, speaking in favour of their marriage and even pretending that they had pleasant dinners together during quarantine. But as it turns out, things weren’t as picture-perfect as Erika had made them seem. During the season she alleged that Tom had cheated on her, a thread she picked up during the second episode of the reunion. There, she revealed that he’d been stepping out on her for years, and with at least three mistresses that she knows of.
Tom has reportedly been slipping for years
During the reunion, when Andy Cohen asked Erika if she felt like the ship was sinking before her seemingly abrupt decision to walk out on Tom, she revealed it was his mental health that was slipping—not the ship. “There was no talking to this person, trying to get him to answer my questions, being shut out completely — anger, personality changes, and you can see now, look, the man is in a home, he’s in a memory care facility,” she said. “We’ve all seen the pictures of him with a black eye. We’ve seen how disheveled and how absolutely horrible he has deteriorated since I left in November.”
Deep down she still cares for Tom though
Tom may have hurt Erika deeply, but as she reminds her co-stars, she was with the man for decades. That kind of love doesn’t just go away despite what Erika may have been through, and marriages are not always… shall we say, hunky dory? On the show, Erika wanted to showcase the good.
“All marriages are complex. People are complex — there were good times, there were bad times, you’re talking about two decades of a marriage,” she said during the reunion. “I think that I highlighted the best of him.”
So where do Tom and Erika stand today? In the final part of the reunion Erika admitted that she has spoken with her ex. She called him after she saw the picture of him with a black eye following his fall.
“I’ve asked him how he could put me in this position,” she revealed. “[I asked], ‘Why would you leave me with millions of dollars of lawsuits pointed at me?’” But, according to Erika, Tom isn’t acknowledging any of it. “It doesn’t even matter what he says because he’s incompetent. So I’m left holding the f–king bag,” she added.
She’s a pretty mess when it comes to finances
During season 11, Erika opened up about her lack of financial knowledge, admitting that Tom handled every single cent. She opened up about that situation even further during the reunion, when Andy pointed out that he knows what she makes.
“I gave every paycheque to my husband. I’ve handed every paycheque I’ve ever made over,” she revealed. Then she addressed why she stayed in the marriage for so long: “I stayed because I had no access. The power balance is way out of whack. I trusted this man, all of my finances were kept down at the firm, and everything was kept there.”
There’s more to her social media than meets the eye
Post-divorce, Erika Jayne’s Instagram page is helping her to pay for the bills. That’s why she refuses to disable comments and it’s why she won’t stop posting what others may feel like are insensitive photos, given all of the alleged victims that Tom has reportedly swindled.
“[Erika Jayne is] getting paid to post. Should I not do that — should I not pay the bills?” she posed to Andy during the reunion. Later she added, “If anyone in these cases has been proven wrong, I want them remedied,” she said. “Despite what you read, I have done everything they have asked. I have never said I was a victim. I am not a victim. I am simply surviving on this.”
She’s actually highly censored
During the season and throughout the four-part reunion, Erika made it very clear that she has to watch what she says because every little thing could potentially be twisted around on her in court. “There is a very limited way in which I can express myself because we all know everything will be picked apart, parsed and possibly turned against,” she said. “I chose to say as much as I possibly could and I still may have f–ked myself over.”
She was advised to quit the show
Speaking of being censored, Erika also admitted to Andy that her legal team advised her to quit the show. At the time, staying on didn’t have much to do with money (although she admits now that’s more of a consideration). Her decision was more about not wanting to hide or quit.
“I’m not a quitter, and I wanted to honour my commitment, and I wasn’t going to run away from what’s coming at me,” she stated.
When she’s stressed out she definitely lashes out at her friends
We’ve seen Erika become irrationally upset at people in the past (ahem, Eileen Davidson and Teddi Mellencamp), but this season she was unleashed unlike ever before. First, she got upset at Garcelle for bringing up the fact that Tom calls her. Then, she lashed out at Sutton so hard that Sutton hired personal security. Even during the reunion she bit Crystal’s head off when Crystal asked whether Erika was mad at Tom.
Despite Andy’s pushing, Erika didn’t back down on any of it. And when Sutton told her it’s not okay to talk to people like that, Erika blamed it on location and said the term, “I’m coming for you” is just slang. “It’s only in Beverly Hills that everybody’s so precious,” she said.
She’s very much ready to start dating again
During one of the few lighter notes involving Erika and the reunion, she made it pretty clear that she’s ready to start dating again. Or at least meet someone who can help her to alleviate some stress. “I would like some hot sex,” she said, adding that her current requirements are a guy, “with a big penis.”
As for moving on with the rest of her life?
“This is not pretty, it is ugly,” Erika wrapped following Andy’s applause-worthy grilling. “I am well aware. And I have been pressed for however many months now and stories have run wild and people have filled in the blanks. I hope today that you all leave knowing a little bit more of my side and understand this will not be wrapped up easily. It is a long, arduous process. And all I can do is put one foot in front of the other.”