Inside Jenni “JWoww” Farley’s Impossibly Tough Year
Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for MTV
Well, likely, the Jersey Shore standout awoke to many Instagram notifications, what with a slew of fans and her tight-knit band of castmates eager to wish her a happy birthday. But this one was special:
“They say opposites attract,” Roger Mathews, her husband of two years, shared on a photo of the pair. “‘They’ wrote that about us. Happy Birthday my love.”
His words were brief, but the sentiment altogether sweet, a nod toward the special sauce that had kept their romance chugging along through the previous eight years and some six seasons of the MTV reality show and its spinoffs, Snooki & Jwoww and Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.
This year, though, as she celebrates turning 33, we’re guessing she’d appreciate some radio silence.
But those hopes were dashed with one brutal argument. Since Farley requested a temporary restraining order after a mid-December fight, the parents to 4-year-old Meilani and 2-year-old Greyson have been airing their own melodramatic reality show through social media, trading increasingly hostile open letters and videos in which each accused the other of the same transgressions: verbal and physical abuse and various acts of bad parenting.
As of early February, the duo seemed to have reached some type of détente with Mathews declaring “Let’s both get help. For our children. We owe them that….We look like a–holes to the world. We are. We are both a–holes.”
But considering the ugly words that had been exchanged in the lead up to his proposal, it felt more like a temporary cliffhanger to be addressed when episodes return.
To hear Mathews tell it, though, they still had another round in them. “My wife filed for divorce, it’s true…I don’t blame her,” he told fans. “There’s no cheating or any dumb s–t or any juicy details. She just grew tired of the repetitive pattern that we fell into. Again, I am not going to get into detail, but it was a repetitive pattern and not a good one.”
But bad habits were made to be broken, he continued. He wasn’t done fighting and remained confident in his impending victory: “I’m going to win her affection back, I am going to win her love back. I have no intentions on being a single dad. We’re in counseling so there is hope. It ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings.”
“Their relationship hasn’t been healthy for a while,” the source admitted to E! News, “but even thought Jenni already filed for divorce, it’s still not totally over yet—there’s a chance they could work it out and get back together.”
Particularly with Mathews going full-court press on the situation. Though they were technically estranged on their three-year anniversary in October, he pulled out the stops, treating her to a dinner complete with red wine and champagne and a ride on a flower-adorned horse-drawn carriage. And this was just the start, he swore, captioning an Instagram snap of the meal, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
The differing he said-she said versions of the night in question made it tough to sort out exactly what went down. According to the account Mathews gave police, the Dec. 13 tiff started when Farley reneged on plans to watch their kids the following day, informing him she had to travel to New York City for work instead. When he confronted her, their argument began and soon, he said per the police report, she became “irate and began screaming and slamming her bedroom door.”
Fearing she would “make false accusations” about his behavior, he continued, he started recording the incident.
Farley’s take matches his in that she told police he did, in fact, tape their argument, but she said he was spurring her on by calling her “a piece of s–t mother,” who is “damaging to their kids.” She also said he threatened to post the video online to “show everyone what a terrible mother she is.”
The papers gave Farley temporary custody of the kids and sent Mathews into a tailspin that he documented for his 1.7 million Instagram followers.
In a series of 10 videos, he offered his side of the story, claiming Farley became “completely uncontrollably emotional, as she always does,” and threatened to call the police. “While she’s screaming in my daughter’s face, ‘Your father’s a piece of s–t, he’s out of here, he’s out of here, I’m sorry I ever had children with him,’ to my four-and-a-half-year-old daughter, who’s spanking me in the butt saying, ‘You’re bad, Daddy,'” he said. “I called the police to preemptively get ahead of what I thought she was going to do.”
That was Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi‘s take on it too. Always in her bestie’s corner, she took to her Instagram to speak out on Farley’s behalf and slam Mathews’ detailing of the situation, writing, “She wants nothing but for the kids to have their dad. Unfortunately she was being taunted and baited & this was the result. YOU’RE AN AMAZING MOTHER AND PERSON and all of us who truly know you know this.”
As added proof, she shared a clip of Nest surveillance footage in which Farley told police she didn’t want to prevent Mathews from seeing their kids, adding, “He’s not a bad dad.”
But by late January, a fed-up Farley finally decided to speak out, posting a lengthy missive to her Instagram feed and her website that detailed Mathews’ alleged abusive behavior and the “manipulative” actions he’d taken. “I can no longer sit idly by while you mistreat and malign me in such an egregious manner,” she wrote. “You have presented yourself to the public as a praiseworthy father and a husband who has been suffering by my alleged actions and behavior.”
That was far from the case, she continued in the since-deleted posts. In addition to ticking off the ways in which he allegedly hurt her—including throwing her to the ground and reaching out to her bosses in an “attempt to smear my name,”—she claimed he tried to contact her former ex to get him to “intimidate” her, despite knowing that Farley had a restraining order against him. “Your attempt to bring this heinous person back into my life (the mother of your children) after he nearly murdered me speak volumes as to who you really are,” she said. “You are an abuser to the core, Roger Mathews.”
“The bottom line is that when a parent acts to protect the safety and well-being of their children, they are following through with their responsibility,” concluded the statement, shared with ET. “It is this responsibility that Jenni Farley is focused on: working tirelessly to support these beautiful children and to set up a positive co-parenting plan with their father that works for the benefit of Meilani and Greyson.”
Which is sort of the direction Mathews was headed when he released another rebuttal in early February.
First he asserted once again, that he was the wronged party. “You painted me as a woman beater. The facts are these,” he wrote in a message on his website. “No one, man or woman, husband or wife has the right to put their hands on each other. I take responsibility for that night in question, and one other night that I can think of that, I pushed you. You edited out your actions and violent behavior prior to me pushing you which I knew you would do.”
Having stated his case, though, he called for a truce, which all signs point to being in place weeks later. (In the days since his Feb. 2 post, Farley’s collection of Instagrams have included little more than photos of a trip to Disney for a pal’s Bachelorette party and promotions for her tanning line, while Mathews has posted snippets from the playground and an entertaining round of hide-and-go-seek.)
“Peace,” he wrote. “Let it begin here. For two amazing children. They deserve it.”
Farley could certainly use some quiet as well.