Home Celebrities An Inside Look at the Life of Real Housewives of NJ Star Dolores Catania

An Inside Look at the Life of Real Housewives of NJ Star Dolores Catania

by Diana Cooper
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Dolores Catania, a Real Housewives of New Jersey star since 2016, is a true Jersey girl: so much so, she’s never lived more than 15 miles from her childhood home. Actual filming for the reality show takes place a few months out of the year, but for Dolores, it’s a full-time job – on top of the full-time job she takes on as a mother of two. She considers her fan-base, which has grown over the six seasons she’s been part of the show, her friend group, and her cast mates the sorority sisters she’s never had. Despite the drama, Dolores believes RHONJ has given her “the greatest gift.” Read on to learn what that is and for MG’s exclusive interview.

dolores catania interview hoboken girl

(Photo credit: @dolorescatania)

Jersey Girl For Life

Hailing from Paterson, Dolores, 51, spent her whole life in the Garden State, including living in Totowa before settling down in North Haledon. She recently completed a major renovation, which viewers got to see a glimpse of on RHONJ, in the home she’s lived in for over 25 years. It’s also the home where she’s lived with her ex-husband, Frank Catania, who makes regular appearances on the show. All that needs to be done now is decorating. 

“My house is filled with so much commotion right now that I like to be outdoors as much as possible,” Dolores told Montclair Girl, referring to her two children, seven dogs (two are hers), a cat, a chinchilla, and a lizard.

Apart from escaping “Noah’s Ark” inside her home, the reason why she loves her backyard so much is because she finally added a pool and a barbecue and grilling structure, which was recently selected by the public as the winner of RTA Outdoor Living’s “Choose Our Next Design” contest. Her design will be available for purchase at RTAOutdoorLiving.com starting next year.

“I’ve always liked to grill since I feel that is the healthiest way to cook. I was always a griller and I was always a single mom, so the outdoor kitchen means a lot to me,” the entrepreneur said. “I’m very proud of it. Now my Sundays are spent cooking outside which I love. I make my sausage, peppers, meatballs, and pasta sauce outside on the grill.”

Prior to installing a pool, Dolores and her children, Frankie Catania and Gabrielle Catania, spent summers down at the Jersey Shore. Now, Dolores’ kids are all grown up, 26 and 23, respectively, and they are “living their dreams” in their chosen career paths and are both “very happy” doing what they love. Gabby is working as a veterinarian at the Animal Hospital of Sussex County, specializing in dermatology, and Frankie just started his “dream job” at a private financial firm. 

dolores catania family

^ Dolores with her ex-husband Frank Catania and two kids, Gabby and Frankie Catania, at Elite Health Center.

(Photo credit: @dolorescatania)

Taking On ‘Real Housewives of NJ’

Dolores was introduced to the cast of Real Housewives of New Jersey in the shows’ 7th season, which premiered July 2016. She’s been part of the show since then. Season 13 recently wrapped filming and is expected to premiere early 2023. 

“I grew up in a very busy home and a very welcoming home. My mother raised us like, ‘There’s always room for one more.’ So, having cameras in my house is like having people in my house. It’s second nature for me,” Dolores shared. “For me, what makes it different [from the other Housewives] is I feel that we’re the most relatable and NJ is all about family, always, and that’s the most important thing to me because at the end of the day, we’re all on the same page with that. Even though we have our differences, what comes first to all of us is our family.”

Read More: Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris: Dishing on Life in Montclair

Although there are clear alliances on the show and dissociations, Dolores told MG that she doesn’t like to say who she’s close to specifically because she says she’s “close to everybody in a different way.” She has known Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga for years before being cast on the show, but says the person she speaks to the most is Margaret Josephs. 

dolores with rhonj cast

^ The cast of Real Housewives of New Jersey

(Photo credit: @dolorescatania)

“I feel like I have a different relationship with each one of them but a good relationship with each one of them,” Dolores shared. “What I love about [being part of RHONJ] is this is all organic friendships and it’s real life. I feel like NJ is so authentic. Since I didn’t go to college, I feel like [I’m in a] sorority and the trips that we take, the girl time that we have, that’s stuff that I never got to do when I was younger.”

She’s also never gone to a club and never went to parties in high school due to growing up in a traditional Italian home. “This is something that I get to relive. I’m very lucky to have it and I don’t take it for granted one day,” she said, while also adding that she hopes to continue being part of the show for as long as Bravo will have her.

“Of course anyone who knows me knows that I like the platform because I use it in the best way and it gives me such opportunities to help people, and that’s the greatest gift the show gives me,” Dolores added. “I have no regrets. It’s not always easy. Sometimes it’s extremely hard and it’s emotionally draining. You get a break when you stop filming, but then you have to relive it when it airs and that’s a whole other thing that you go through.”

dolores rhonj cast

(Photo credit: @dolorescatania)

One emotional moment fans will get to watch play out next season is Teresa tying the knot to Luis Ruelas during their wedding, which took place early August at Park Chateau Estate in East Brunswick. Dolores and RHONJ star Jennifer Aydin were both bridesmaids. “The wedding was a fairytale. It was beautiful. I really can’t say enough about it. We wouldn’t expect anything less from Teresa,” Dolores spilled. 

Dishing On Her Love Life

Being a real housewife, Dolores’ love life is on display and sometimes the center of attention. From her relationship with her ex-husband Frank, whom she remains close to, to her relationship with her ex Dr. David Principe, Dolores’ romances over the years have led her to finding her current boyfriend, Paul Connell, whom she met through a mutual friend. This September marks their one year anniversary.

“You can find me in Edgewater probably seven days out of the week,” Dolores gushed while relaxing by her beau’s pool on his rooftop overlooking NYC. “Paul and I definitely spend so much time together. We do so much together. We get our teeth done together, we go to doctors appointments together, we go shopping together. We just came back from Florida and we’re planning more trips. We love it.” 

dolores boyfriend paul connell

^ Dolores with her boyfriend Paul Connell

(Photo credit: @dolorescatania)

Fans watched as Dolores received a lot of pressure from the cast for her to take the next step with her ex David. However, in her new relationship, Dolores says “there’s no pressure at all to get engaged.” 

“It’s the relationship that I would want and I’ve always wanted with the intention of a future and time spent together and working towards something,” Dolores shared. “We’re both on the same page. And, of course, people that care about me when they see two people that get along and have such a good time together, you know, they want to see [an engagement]. But with Paul and I, the intention is there, and that’s good enough for me… Stay tuned to get to know Paul. He’s very supportive in everything that I do, and everyone loves him.” 

See More:Eva Longoria Was Spotted in Hoboken + Jersey City

What’s To Come

While there can be the possibility of an engagement in the near future, Dolores can’t help but be grateful for how Paul, who is President and CEO of Eco Electrical Services, is with her fans, whom she refers to as “friends.”

dolores catania dog

(Photo credit: @dolorescatania)

“Thank God I’m with someone who appreciates the people that come up to me. I don’t call them fans, I call them friends,” she said. “I appreciate them and he’s so good about it. It’s nice to know that people care. They invite me into their life as much as I invite them into mine.”

Even though she can’t spill details of what’s to come for season 13 of Real Housewives of New Jersey, she can tease what’s in store.

“You can only imagine. Every year I say it can’t top the last [season], and this topped the last five, I think. There are a lot of different dynamics this season. I don’t spill the beans but there are a lot of different things going on,” she shared. “Listen, Real Housewives of NJ is a lot of work. That’s a full-time job. People think just because we’re not filming, we’re not working. We’re always working. There’s no break. I have appearances twice a month for the next five months.”

dolores driving nj

(Photo credit: @dolorescatania)

Dolores will be hosting a ticketed brunch at Katch Astoria in Queens, NY, on September 17th, before appearing with a bunch of housewives and Bravolebrities at BravoCon 2022 taking place October 14th-16th in New York City.

Follow Dolores on Instagram for other upcoming appearances in the area.

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