More often than not reality TV is considered to the weak link of the smallscreen, however, in Renee Graziano star of the thoroughly entertaining ‘Mob Wives’, I knew I was speaking with more than just another reality star. Being the daughter of a notorious New York City mobster does nothing to diminish the obvious warmth which emanates from her character – although clearly not to be messed with – you’d be surprised at just how pleasant a mob wife can be. As someone who’s been there, done that and worn just about every t-shirt you can imagine, it was a real pleasure to catch up with Renee and talk all things dating and relationships.
Hi Renee, you’ve always come across as someone who is very head-strong and independant, was it ever difficult to develop such traits growing up in surroundings full of what I imagine to be ssome very powerful men? I think I was born strong and and both my Mother (who is extremely strong minded) and Father just added to that strength by showing me ways to use it as an asset, but I can’t lie I didn’t become totally independent until I was shooting Mob Wives.
You’re obviously extremely proud of your roots, but did you ever find it difficult to date when you were younger? Were some guys scared to get involved with you in case they annoyed your Father? (laughs) dating for me was horrible, oh my Jesus you have no clue! My Dad made it almost impossible for me to date, he would scare the shit out of the boys, and then he would tell me if they don’t ask you for a second date they didn’t have good intentions – that rang true many years later.
What are the key qualities you look for in a partner? He must be close to God. Loyal, honest, trustworthy and smart and a sharp dresser not afraid to spend! He must have a very great job and make at least six figures, i.e financially established and owns his own home. He has to be respectful. He must be passionate about living life and passionate in the bedroom. He must remain teachable (like me). He has to be adventurous and willing. He has to be a good man. He MUST have great hygiene. Tall like 6’2 and over, dark hair and well-built.
You’ve spoken very openly about being a domestic abuse survivor, is there room for forgiveness or help in these situations or is it an automatic deal-breaker? I am a survivor, you have to forgive, not for them but for yourself, that is the only way you heal and that applies to any type of abuse. I’d never ever date a man that puts his hands on a woman.
What advice would you give to women struggling to escape such situations? Well as you know my situation is different, but what I can advise is to get yourself and your kids out, NOW! It will never stop and the longer a woman makes excuses for it he will continue to degrade her and those kids. Remember our children learn from their parents. I was fortunate to get (son) AJ and myself out, and because I did that, AJ is a good solid man.
Often young women (and men) put pressure on themselves to meet the one, ultimately leading them to meet ‘the wrong one’, what advice would you give to those eager to settle down? Don’t rush forever. Enjoy dating, but have standards, don’t date someone who you know has a history of cheating. Make a ‘must have’ list, jot down 4 or 5 definites like good job, good family, good up-bringing, clean, not cheap!
The UK really embraced you after your Celebrity Big Brother stint during which you spoke passionately about your relationship with your son AJ, what do you feel is the key to maintaining a healthy Mother/Son relationship? First off let me say thank you to everyone in the UK for all the love I received, it truly warmed my heart. As for the mother/son relationship; be open, be honest, be his best friend when he needs one and of course be his mother, show him how to be a man that a woman wants and respects. AJ and I have a unique bond because of all that he and I have gone through since he was 5 years old. How I maintain that is by vacationing together from time to time and recently I’ve stepped back a little to let him go and become the man that I know he is. He’s also expecting his first child which is a boy, so he’s soon going to understand the love a parent has for their kids.
Do you still keep in touch with any of your Big Brother co-stars? I’ve been in Katie’s company in Miami two weeks ago and I occasionally speak to Aubrey (O’Day) and Chloe (Khan).
You famously described yourself in the house as ‘The Michael Jordan of blowjobs’ what advice would you give to couples struggling to make the most of their time in the bedroom? Sex is a huge part of the relationship, if you aren’t sure what to do to spice it up well Google can be surprisingly helpful! As for my perfected skill, well not everyone is born with it (laughs).
What advice would you give to your 18 year old self? Listen to everything your parents say about boys and girls, they’ve already been through it so they know.
Any strange fan mail? I have a fan that has tattooed me on their arm and I’ve been receiving letters from a prisoner while in rehab, very intrusive and stalkerish at times.
Teen crush? Scott Baio (Happy Days) and in my early 20s I fell in love with (and still have a huge crush on him) Mark Harmon from NCIS, I just love him.
Do you think our perception of love changes as we get older? Love is the most beautiful thing you can give to another. My perception is still the same, but I do know that love for some people my age means a security blanket. I just wanna find the man I’m going to grow old with and sit on a swing and drink lemonade – in our very big vacation home (laughs).
What’s next for Renee Graziano? Well my book ‘Playing With Fire’ is coming to the UK very soon and I have an incredible new jewellery range which you can buy online at ReneeGraziano.com. I’m also starring in Marriage Boot Camp and writing a book about recovery – everything from love, lust, drugs and how to get over an ex.
main image: WENN