“Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Dolores Catania and her ex-husband, Frank Catania, share two children, Frankie Catania, 24, and Gabrielle Catania, 27. As fans of RHONJ are aware, Dolores and Frank have maintained a friendship since their divorce in 1998. However, in the season 13 trailer, Frank is seen telling his ex-wife that he believes they need to “fix” their relationship.
During a February 2023 interview on the “Chicks in the Office” podcast, alongside her RHONJ co-stars Margaret Josephs and Melissa Gorga, Dolores explained that her ex-husband is not interested in rekindling their romance and noted that he has a girlfriend named Brittany Mattessich. She shared, however, that Frank did take some time to adjust to changes in their relationship that occurred after she began dating her boyfriend, Paul “Paulie” Connell in 2021.
“Frank had to get used to the change in, like me being – everybody has to get used to — they are not used to me being with someone all the time. As you see in the past years, I was always a loner, and I like that, don’t get me wrong,” shared Dolores. “But this relationship [with Connell] called for something different, so there was a change in the dynamics with my relationship with Frank, where it was so hands on, talked all the time, and [Connell] wanted to be that person in my life and it’s okay to be because Frank and I don’t have to be like that all the time.”
The mother of two also noted that she does not need to be as close to her ex-husband as their children are adults.
“He’s like fixing [the relationship] but there was nothing to break. We have a friendship, a little bit of a change and plus my kids aren’t little anymore, so Frank and I have our own lives, we don’t have to always constantly be together, be involved. And I just wanted a different outcome with this relationship because in the past the guys have been like ‘ask Frank, ask Frank.’ But Frank’s like not really that guy,” said the RHONJ star.
Gorga chimed in that Dolores’ “relationship with [Connell] is different than [her] previous ones.”
“I think Frank needed to like get used to that,” said the 43-year-old.
Frankie Catania Spoke About His Father’s Relationship With Paul ‘Paulie’ Connell
While speaking to Us Weekly in October 2022, Frankie revealed that Connell has had issues with his father. He explained that he believes the pair have been at odds because they “both have very manly alpha personalities.” He also noted that Connell does not appreciate Frank’s dynamic with Dolores.
“I think that Paul wants to be the man of my mother’s life, and my dad has taken care of a lot for my mom over time, like paperwork and stuff like that, so I think there’s been some clashing there but like men, they are settling their differences there, but they are amazing people so they are finding their way through it,” shared Frankie.
Frank Catania Shared His Thoughts About Dolores Catania’s Boyfriend
During a separate October 2022 interview with Us Weekly, Frank shared some information about his relationship with Paul “Paulie” Connell. He explained that he and Dolores’ boyfriend are “not on the best of terms.”
“Paul is not used to the dynamic between Dolores and I and if you spend more time with Dolores and I, you get to see there is nothing to worry about,” asserted the father of two.
The former lawyer clarified that he believes Connell is warming up to him.
“He has gotten much more comfortable. And quite honestly, any tension that was there before, I feel that it’s gone… When I see him, we hug now,” stated the reality television personality.