Not much can move 45-year-old Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Jayne aka Erika Girardi to tears and Tuesday night we got some insight as to why the pop star has acquired such a teflon exterior. To back up a minute, Erika has been very tight-lipped about her personal life like the details of her biological family–subtly indicating that there was a lot of pain there. Last year we got some info on her family members including the identity of her mom and grandmother, Renee Chahoy and Ann Peek and the fact that her grandmother died of Alzheimers in November 2014 at the age of 86.
But now we see Erika begin to open up on the show about the emotional impact of losing the grandmother who raised her — and boy did the flood gates open!!
This week Erika visits her grandparents’ former home in Conyers, Georgia and it brings her to tears.
“My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s for over a decade. And then she died — almost two years ago,” Girardi explained.
“[It’s] the most slow, most agonizing, most heinous disease ever,” ….. “She started forgetting where you are. And then it went down to not being able to write, not being able to walk, not knowing anyone — and the worst of all, losing speech. She suffered. But she is out of pain for sure.”
Erika was especially close to her grandmother because her grandmother raised her. Her mother, a fellow actress, was only 18 when she gave birth to Erika.
“She was somebody that you could to go with any problem and she would listen,” Girardi gushed about her grandmother. “She was quick to call you on the carpet — to tell you, ‘Hey that’s not right or I don’t agree with you on that.’ She always gave it to you straight.”
“My grandmother and I used to speak on the phone for an hour every day about nothing,” she explained.”When those phone calls stopped, that was the hardest. Because I knew she could no longer communicate.”
“I had always gotten such strength and such love from those phone calls. and when they stopped, it was a real marker of, ‘This is over, Erika. The woman that you know is no longer,’ ” she added. “You know, she was so vibrant and so strong. And to see someone like that just slip away is inhumane.”
Her mother Renée Chahoy, now lives in the home. “It is nice to still see that her things are still here,” she said. “Even though they are painful memories, they’re still very important to me.”
“My mom sometimes was so trusting and so open — and she got hurt a lot,” Girardi said. “I remember my mother — she was in a purple polo and navy shorts. She was sitting in our den, she was crying. So hurt and so devastated that this man had left her. And I remember in that moment looking at my mother and saying, ‘I’ll never be like that. I’ll never be that weak.’ ”
Erika then explains her tough exterior,
“I just grew up very controlled,” she added. “It doesn’t mean I’m not empathetic or sympathetic or I don’t hear you or I don’t relate. It just means that when it comes to me sharing back, I watch and I measure. … Being raised like that, I have very little patience for cry babies and people I think that need a lot of support and hand holding. It makes me not like them.”
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.