Real Housewives‘ Gretchen Denies Cheating on Late Fiancé
March 9, 2009
Gretchen Rossi, one of the stars of The Real Housewives of Orange County’s season 4, says she was loyal to her late fiancé Jeff Beitzel, who lost his battle with cancer following the show’s taping.
On Bravo’s recent reunion show, her Housewives costar Tamra Barney accused Gretchen of cheating on Beitzel with a man named Jay, who once threatened to “out” Gretchen.
Web reports have identified that man as Jay Photoglou.
Gretchen, 31, tells PEOPLE she did go on “a couple of dates” with Photoglou before she started seeing her late fiancé, “but it really wasn’t a romantic, serious relationship,” she says.
While Rossi was engaged to Beitzel, [Photoglou] became a close friend and “confidante.” But when he wanted to take things further, she says, “I was not even going to consider that with him.”
After Beitzel died in September, Rossi and Photoglou continued hanging out, she says, often running into each other at parties because they share many of the same friends.
It was during that time, she believes he took her memory card out of her camera, which, she says, accounts for the photos of them that have popped up on the Web.
“I have not taken my ring off one day since Jeff passed away,” Rossi says. “[But Photoglou] claims the proof [that we were dating while I was engaged] is the fact that I’m wearing my engagement ring.”
Photoglou could not be reached for comment.
“Every single time he wanted to have something more and I would deny him, he would say, ‘I’m just going to call the press and tell them we have a relationship,’” Rossi says. “He has never been my boyfriend.”
Then why did Rossi call him her boyfriend during a 911 call published by Radaronline.com? “Because he was standing right in front of me,” she tells PEOPLE. “I was afraid that he was going to be upset that I was giving dispatch any information about him — whether it was his real name, whether or not he was my boyfriend.”
During the call, Photoglou claims Rossi had attempted suicide with sleeping pills. But Rossi is heard in the background saying, “I did not try to commit suicide at all.”
In fact, Rossi then got on the phone and told the dispatcher, “He tried to break into my house and I finally opened the door. He decided to call 911 … He’s been ringing the door bell for the last 25 minutes.”
Rossi has now taken action so that she won’t hear from Photoglou again, filing a temporary restraining order against him on Friday at the Newport Beach Court House.
“I look forward to the truth being played out in court,” Photoglou told RadarOnline.com. “It’s an obvious attempt by Gretchen to silence me, as I’ve only spoken the truth about our relationship.”