The Melbourne housewives. Picture: Martin Philbey

It was a scenario that could have turned explosive; two wilful reality-TV stars unknowingly coming face to face in the same room despite being fierce frenemies.

So you can imagine how unsettled I felt when I was told ahead of a recent interview in Sydney with two feuding women from Foxtel's reality drama, The Real Housewives of Melbourne, that they were being put together without their knowledge.

In the five episodes that have gone to air, there has been no shortage of catty drama between outspoken barrister Gina Liano and flamboyant psychic Jackie Gillies.

Last week, the "who said what" saga between the fiery duo, which was instigated by pot-stirring housewife Lydia Schiavello, continued to fuel tensions within the group to the point that fellow housewife Andrea Moss felt the need to step in.

Thankfully, when the interview rolled around, there was no need to play peacemaker. Liano and Gillies put their differences aside, albeit seeming to put on "I'm-being-nice-because-I-have-to" facades.

When quizzed about their rocky relationship, Liano was quick to sing Gillies' praises. "I'll set the record straight, I love Jackie," Liano said. "There was conflict but for me it wasn't a personal thing, I didn't have an issue with Jackie as such. And so I think that kind of became apparent as time goes on. I think Jackie has got a great heart, and quite frankly out of the girls I would peg her and Chyka (Keebaugh) as (having) the biggest hearts."

Even though Gillies had a differing opinion on camera, she said she had come to accept the scepticism surrounding her profession.

"Everyone's allowed to have their opinion," she said. "It's not even about Gina, it's about all the girls. For me, I don't give a s... about the drama, I will laugh. If someone says anything about me or anything about how I appear on the show, I actually laugh.

"Who has time to sit there and think about all the drama? I don't."

In the coming weeks, Moss' row with Liano deepens, turning the pair's friendship on its head. That tension was well and truly felt in the next room, where I next spoke to to Moss and two-time divorcee Janet Roach.

Moss almost immediately points out that she is not on good terms with Liano.

"I had a lot of time thinking about how nasty one particular person was, sending off an email threatening us legally, so that kind of stuff just wasted my time," Moss explained. "When you're up against someone who, in my opinion, has nothing to lose, who is foul off camera, all the off-camera antics that weren't recorded impacts how you react on camera.

"So in episode four, I'm angry with Gina . . . but by that stage, basically the line was in the sand. I can't be friends with this person."

During our chat Roach sided with Moss, even though early in the series it appeared she and Liano were great friends.

"What Gina had already done, I don't know how (Moss) didn't fly over the table and strangle her," she said. "But the real difference in our show is the fact that we are all working. So when we are having disagreements, we're very tired, and wrung out."

Moss hinted that her ongoing tiff with Liano would come to a head in the two-part reunion special, which will be filmed on Sunday and hosted by fashion designer turned TV personality Alex Perry.

"There are a lot of holes in why suddenly Janet or I are behaving that way," she said. "It will all come out on the reunion show."

Fellow housewives Schiavello and Keebaugh never anticipated the level of drama the show would reach, but admit they have been overwhelmed by how well it has been received. "I think it's really captivating people," Keebaugh said.

Schiavello insisted none of the drama was scripted, despite what some may think.

"The animosity is real, it's not made up," she said. "There's a lot more drama off screen that you don't see."

_·Vanessa Williams visited Sydney as a guest of Foxtel. _

'For me, I don't give a s... about the drama, I will laugh. If someone says anything about me or anything about how I appear on the show, I actually laugh.' jackie gillies


The West Australian

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