In her own words: Danielle Staub explains what it took for her to return to 'Real Housewives of New Jersey'

Gibson Johns,

Danielle Staub is finally returning to "Real Housewives of New Jersey," and it was a long road back for the controversial reality star.

Staub appeared on the Bravo series' first two seasons and was a de facto magnet for drama as her fellow cast mates uncovered alleged secrets about her past that were detailed in her ex's book, Cop Without a Badge. Teresa Giudice famously flipped a table on her in a restaurant while calling her a "prostitution whore," in one of the franchise's most memorable moments to date.

SEE ALSO: New 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' star Margaret Josephs reveals why it was 'perfect timing' for her to join the show

After five seasons and seven years away, though, Staub is back and ready to prove to viewers and her cast mates that she's been misunderstood all along. We recently caught up with the 55-year-old mother-of-two to discuss her return to "Real Housewives of New Jersey," and she provided us with a thorough explanation of what it took for her to agree to return:

"I had been asked back several times by Andy [Cohen], but I just didn’t feel the time was right," she began. "We’ll leave the rest of the explanation out of there, because it’s obvious what else might have been going on in my head. Teresa reaching out to me right after she got released [from prison] was a pretty big deal, and I think it was what really pushed the momentum forward for me to join again.

See photos of Danielle Staub:

"I remained in talks with Andy over the years on a regular basis -- maybe once or twice a month," Staub continued. "Although I wanted to come back, my fears were in place. But Teresa reaching out to me and Andy bringing me onto Bravo here and there really kept me in the right people’s heads, and I think it nudged Teresa a little bit to do what she was already going to do."

"The 'single mom' card was now in place for her, too, and it made me more relatable [to Giudice] and understandable to what might have been going on in seasons 1 and 2," Staub explained. "When she reached out with an apology, that’s really all it takes for me to begin anew. I’m not saying it erases everything, but I’m saying it’s a beginning and it speaks volumes about the person handing out the apology. That takes a lot of courage."

"It also took Teresa some convincing," she continued about her fellow original cast member. "I mean, we’re the OGs. Only me and Teresa are the people who were there [at the beginning], and we’re letting our relationship be seen, so the viewers can understand our journey. We’re going to let you see it all."

"On the other end -- on the production end -- they had to convince me that things weren’t as they used to be," she added. "That was a whole different animal altogether. I filmed an awful lot this season, but not as much as I film next season or the season after -- I hope! -- but I’ll be honest, every single solitary time you’ll see me this season, it was on the heels of a 3 to 5-hour conversation with the producers and executives to convince me that I would be handled a little differently. Everything is different now."

"That’s how I’m back," she finished. "I can’t express how happy I am, and everyone convincing me of how things would be didn’t lie to me. Everyone’s treated me with dignity and respect, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be back home where I feel like I belong."

See photos of new "Real Housewives of New Jersey" cast member Margaret Josephs:

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