Biggest Revelations From Erika Jayne’s ‘Pretty Mess’ Memoir

Gallery Books

Erika Girardi is known for being pretty private and conservative when it comes to her personal life, but her alter-ego Erika Jayne is not. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star recently released a memoir, “Pretty Mess,” which answers a lot of our burning questions about where she came from, her childhood, her past and present marriage, and of course, her singing career as Erika Jayne. Check out this list of the 14 biggest revelations from the book:

14. The Story of How She Lost her Virginity

The story of how she lost her virginity isn’t as awkward as we’d have thought. While she was definitely young, only 14, she revealed she’s still quiet close with her suitor, her high school boyfriend, Jonathan. “I lost my virginity to him when I was 14. We were in his bedroom at his parents house and the Eagles ‘Hotel California’ was playing on the stereo. Was that a little foreshadowing of my West Coast life to come? He wasn’t a virgin but he wanted to be a gentleman and not push me. I was ready and had to convince him of that. Jonathan is still a great guy and we are in touch to this day,” she wrote.


13. Surprise Pregnancy

Viewers of RHOBH don’t ever get to see Erika’s son on-camera. She’s only ever really mentioned him a few times. In her memoir she goes into more detail by explaining she unexpectedly got pregnant at the age of 20 with her boyfriend who was seven years older. “I missed a few days of my birth control pills. I thought I could double up on the next ones and it would work out fine. Well, it didn’t. My period was late. It dawned on me in an acting class while we were doing some exercises. Somebody was performing a boring scene, and for the first time I wondered if I was pregnant. I didn’t feel pregnant, but then again, I had no idea what being pregnant felt like.” She added, “That afternoon, I went home and took a home pregnancy test. It was positive. A few days later, I went to my OB/GYN, Dr. Cox…She confirmed that I was pregnant.”

Erika Girardi Instagram

12. Her First Marriage

Erika is pretty private about her life prior to Beverly Hills and Tom Girardi, but she was married once before. She married and eventually divorced the father of her son when he was only 18-months-old. “I feel like my marriage came apart because of me, not because of anyone else. I can take responsibility. I knew I was a good mom. I thought I was adult enough to be a wife and a mother, but really I wasn’t. Tommy bore the brunt of that. It was this constant pressure and it was hard for both of us to take…I came out of a divorced home. I did what I knew, which was to take my son and leave,” she wrote.


11. Her Son Lived in New York, While She Lived in L.A.

After Erika and her first husband, Thomas ‘Tommy’ Zizzo split, she moved back in with her mother. Being a single mom wasn’t easy, and eventually she made the decision to move to L.A. to pursue a career and leave her son behind in New York. “I was always very responsible with our son and put his needs first. Putting my son first was what moving was all about. If I was going to take care of him and provide the future for him that I wanted, I knew that I had to get away and find a better life and a more sustainable existence for myself,” she wrote. Erika made sure to spend as much time as she could with him. He’d spend summers, spring break, and alternate holidays with her in California, but remained in New York during the school year. In between that she’d fly back and forth from New York and L.A. every seven to ten days to attend every teacher conference, school play, graduation, and any other event. Her son eventually moved to L.A. to be with his mother full time and pursue his dream of being a cop.


10. She Worked as a “Go-Go Dancer”

When she was only 18-years-old she and her mother Renee moved to New York City so Erika could pursue a career in entertainment. She’d just graduated from performing arts school and looking for her “big break.” She never really managed to get her foot in the door, although she did land a guest appearance on Law & Order. The life of a single mom is not glamorous and was definitely nothing like the life she lives now. Before she moved to L.A., to make ends meet she worked as a go-go dancer at a club in New Jersey. To get around the law that bans alcohol sales at full-nude bars “there are many go-go clubs and bikini bars,” said Erika. “It was creepy and sad. This was not the glamorous life that I had imagined for myself. I thought, This is so gross. Why am I here? … it was depression as hell.” She eventually quit when she got a steady waitressing job in Manhattan.

Erika Jayne Instagram

9. She Has Never Read her RHOBH Contract

When Erika Girardi began starring on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills it changed her life! She first began appearing in season 6 after she was introduced as a friend of Yolanda Hadid. In her memoir she spills details about landing the gig after Yolanda gave her name to producers. Two weeks later she was offered a full contract. Erika had never even watched an episode of the show. She showed up blindly on the first day and signed the contract without even reading it. Luckily, her husband, a well known lawyer, read it for her and said, “They’re doing more for you than you’re doing for them at this point. Just sign the paper and hand it back.” She admits to this day she’s never actually read the contract.

James Atoa/Everett Collection

8. She Almost Quit ‘Erika Jayne’

It’s hard to imagine Erika Girardi without Erika Jayne, but in her memoir she admits she almost quit ‘Erika Jayne.’ She’d been performing for a long time and was beginning to feel burnt out. To get a fresh perspective she took a meeting with a music executive to see what her options were and his advice was to “pivot.” She wrote: “He explained that I could get back on the treadmill and do what I had been doing all over again, but I probably wouldn’t get more spectacular results. It’s like I had reached the ceiling with what I could do by creating and releasing my own music. He was confirming to me what I was already thinking: I was running out of possibilities of advancement.” She walked out of the meeting with the intention of retiring from her music career when RHOBH came along.

Erika Jayne Instagram

7. The Story Behind Starting Her Career as Erika Jayne

Erika and Tom got married at the country club in 2000. For a long time after they got married she put her career on hold in order to be a good wife and mother. But eventually her son grew up, so she had a lot more time on her hands. She decided to “reawaken the dragon inside.” She got a postcard in the mail promoting a concert directed by an old high school friend, Travis Payne, who works as a major dancer choreographer who’s worked with celebrities like Madonna and Michael Jackson. She took this as a sign and reached out to him. The two of them (along with a music producer) began working on “Erika Jayne Project.” Where did she come up with the name “Erika Jayne?” It’s a lot less complex or meaningful than many people might think. She said her music producer Peter suggested it because it was the only name that flowed well with ‘Erika,’ so she ran with it.

Erika Jayne Instagram

6. She’s Had a Threesome

It’s pretty clear from watching Erika Jayne in her element, up on stage and in costume that she’s quite comfortable in her own body and with her sexuality. In fact, in her book she details how she once had a threesome with an ex-boyfriend and his wife who asked her out on Valentine’s Day. “An ex-boyfriend I kept in touch with had married an acquaintance of mine. He was about six feel tall, muscular, educated and professional. She was a light-skinned Caribbean beauty with golden highlights in her dark hair. They were a handsome couple,” she wrote. “We had a great time, kind of like we were on a little date. They seemed like they were testing the waters with me and driving the conversation towards sex. He has already hinted they were into this kind of thing, so I wasn’t totally shocked. I think this might be on the agenda, and I was okay with it. We went back to their place after dinner and had quite the memorable Valentine’s Day,” she wrote. She went on to add, “It was a very positive experience, I had a great time with the two of them, and it satisfied my curiosity.”


5. She Pursued Tom Girardi

Erika and Tom met when she was working as a cocktail waitress at Chasen’s, a restaurant that Tom frequented. “After a year of working in the restaurant, one night I decided to slip Tom my telephone number. We were standing in front of the giant fireplace. ‘Did you hear I was single?’ I asked,” she said. “The next day, his secretary called me and said, ‘Mr. Girardi would like to know if you’re free to have dinner this evening,'” to which she replied, “Absolutely not. Tell Mr. Girardi if he wants to take me out on a date, he needs to call me himself and ask me and give me enough time to prepare.” He eventually did call her himself and asked her out on a date like a perfect gentleman.


4. How Tom Proposed

Six months after Erika had “temporarily” moved in to Tom’s house in Pasadena (which was also only a few months after they’d begun dating), he proposed. “He took me out onto one of the balconies overlooking the lush backyard, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. He presented me with a beautiful diamond engagement ring. Of course I said yes,” she wrote. Erika was about to become Tom’s third wife and as someone who’d already been married more than once (or even twice), he knew what he wanted and what he didn’t. His only stipulation to her afterwards was that she didn’t make him wear a wedding band. “Tom said, ‘Listen, I’ll buy you anything you want. I don’t care what it is. You name it. But I’m not wearing a wedding band. I never have, I never will. I don’t like it. It’s uncomfortable. Please don’t ask me to.”


3. Their Drastic Age Difference

The drastic 33 year age difference between Erika and Tom has always been a topic of discussion, but it’s never bothered her. “Tom is 33 years older than me. It was always a bigger deal to everyone else than it was to either of us. All a couple really needs is to have the same life philosophy. If you see things the same way, then age, race, religion — none of that comes into play…I have a thirst for knowledge and Tom has a wealth of it. He is a great mentor, a great teacher and somebody I really admire…That kind of stuff is a powerful aphrodisiac,” she said. She added of their relationship, “Everything kind of fell into place, and we gelled immediately … When someone is positive, successful, loving, inspirational — I gotta tell you right now, that shit is seductive. That is more enticing to me than six-pack abs and a chiseled jawline.”


2. She Did Not Enjoy DWTS

Erika is no stranger to dancing or performing, but surprisingly, she hated her experience on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. When she was offered the opportunity her creative director, Mikey Minden, and assistant, Laia, warned her not to do it, but she did it anyways. “Dance has always been an escape for me. Now, I couldn’t escape it. It was like everything I loved and that people love about me — being sassy, bold, out there, myself — was now being criticized again,” she wrote. “Week after week, I could just feel the noose tightening. I told Tom not to come to the ballroom to see me dance. I had a bad vibe about what was happening and I didn’t want him to see me like that.” She worked so hard she left the show with a shoulder injury that required surgery! Despite not necessarily liking the experience, she made it all the way to fifth place and admitted she’d gladly return for an “all-stars season.” Although, she did admit she knew they were steering her to go home for as long as they could which became abundantly clear during Disney week. “I wanted to be a villainess or a princess. I could identify with anything but Dory, the fish who can’t find her way home,” she said. “As soon as we got that assignment, I knew the die was cast. They were going to help me find my way home.”

Source: ABC/Craig Sjodin

1. Erika and Tom Do Not Have a Prenup

Ever since Erika and Tom began dating their relationship has been plagued with rumors that she married him for money. But it’s simply not true and to back it up, their marriage has stood the test of time. These two are as happy as they day they met and have been inseparable ever since they got married. In the book she boasts about how they are best friends and how strong their connection is, but what many people might be more interested in learning is that these two do not have a prenup! Despite Tom’s legal background, financial wealth, and their vast age difference, Erika said it simply never came up. “It never came up. Let’s be serious, Mr. Girardi knows the law so well that a prenup is not going to do s**t. As any lawyer will tell you, there is always a way around a prenup, even if you think it’s ironclad,” she said.

Katherine G

Katherine G

Katherine is the Managing Editor for Health and Parenting, but she has a soft spot for entertainment. She loves binging shows on Netflix, reality TV is a guilty pleasure, and country music is her go-to playlist. When she's not writing, she's spending time outdoors, especially with her puppy Zoey!