Gretchen Rossi Wins Years-Long Legal Battle With Jay Photoglou, Awarded $523,000


Eight years after filing a lawsuit against her former friend Jay Photoglou, Gretchen Rossi has finally come out of their years-long battle victorious.

As fans of The Real Housewives of Orange County may recall, Rossi filed a lawsuit against Photoglou after he reportedly lied about her cheating on her late fiancé Jeff Beitzel, which she denied. Rossi also said that her former friend stole nude images of her that were later shared online.

Although the ordeal was quite heartbreaking for Rossi, whose late fiancé ultimately passed away in 2008 after a battle with leukemia, she has now been awarded with $523,250 in damages.

The Blast confirmed the news of Rossi's settlement on Jan. 11.

According to an additional report shared by People magazine, Photoglou allegedly filed for bankruptcy in 2012 in an apparent effort to have the judgment discharged. However, a bankruptcy judge has since ruled that Photoglou will not be allowed to use the 2012 filing as an excuse not to pay Rossi her full settlement.

In court documents, a California judge said that due to the emotional distress Rossi suffered because of Photoglou's behavior, the former reality star was awarded with $500,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $23,000 in punitive damages. The judge also said that the ruling was non-dischargeable.

"I decided enough was enough and to stand up against this individual," Rossi said in a statement to People magazine. "I fought this fight not only for myself, but for all the women out there who have been harassed or threatened and for those who were too afraid to speak up, or could not have their voice heard."

Rossi joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Orange County during the show's fourth season when she was dating Beitzel and continued to appear on the show in a full-time role until the series' eighth season.

Following season eight, which included an on-screen proposal by Rossi for her boyfriend Slade Smiley, Rossi and Smiley parted ways with the show and have been enjoying their time off screen in the years since. Rossi has also been expanding her business and recently launched a beauty line.

Rossi and Smiley have not yet wed, and while Rossi has not yet returned to her full-time role on The Real Housewives of Orange County, she has been said to be in talks to do so on numerous occasions.

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