The drama from Bravo’s Real Housewives of Orange County just spilled over from TV to the courtroom.
RadarOnline.com has learned exclusively that Jay Photoglou is suing Gretchen Rossi on Friday, charging her with libel and slander and five other counts.
It all stems from Rossi denying romantic involvement with Jay, as she was depicted as the fiancé of another man during the first season of her reality TV show.
According to the lawsuit, Photoglou says he and Rossi began dating in 2008 and Rossi told him that she was a caregiver to a terminally ill “ex-boyfriend friend, Jeff Beitzel.” Photoglou further states that over the next year, he and Rossi were known to their friends as “a couple” and “vacationed together, went to marriage workshops together, attended each other’s family vacations and had each other’s names tattooed on their fingers.”
During that time on or around March 2008, Rossi was approached by friends and former Orange County Housewives cast mates, Slade Smiley and Jo De La Rosa, who told Rossi they could get her a spot on the show.
The lawsuit further claims that Rossi was “intimately involved with Photoglou the entire time the show filmed Rossi’s first season.”
Beitzel, who was portrayed as Rossi’s fiancé on the reality show, died in September, 2008. The following month, Photoglou says he and Rossi had each other’s names tattooed on their fingers and Photoglou eventually moved into Rossi’s house.
Photoglou charges Rossi with damaging his reputation by calling him a liar, a drunk and a thief and is demanding punitive damages in the lawsuit. The lawsuit charges Rossi with spreading lies in published interviews, in emails to private individuals and members of the media.
Rossi has contradicted herself in interviews about the nature of her relationship with Photoglou. She previously obtained a temporary restraining order against him but a judge ordered it dropped.
Some of the damaging lies spread by Rossi, according to the court action, include allegations that Photoglou threatened her life, stalked her, stole from her and acted irrationally. Those acts damaged Photoglou’s personal and business reputation, he claims and he will seek punitive damages from Rossi.
Photoglou states in the court docs: “In reality, Rossi denied the truth and embarked in what is nothing short of an obsessive and delusional crusade to destroy.”
Photoglou says Rossi lied about their relationship, which lasted more than a year, because Bravo was depicting Gretchen as the fiancé of Jeff Betzel.
Photoglou and Rossi were a couple from January, 2008 to February, 2009 and he says their relationship was well known to cast members and others. He also says they lived together for several months.