Jaiden Fuda, the teenage son of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” couple John and Rachel Fuda, says he feels a significant distance from his convict birth mom after she discussed him in a series of jailhouse interviews.
“I’m annoyed by [Brittany Malsch] making this public. My parents made a strong effort not to talk about her shortcomings or bash her,” Jaiden, 16, exclusively tells Page Six.
“I have no feelings of anger or animosity toward her; she’s like a stranger to me.”
The high school student — who made his reality TV debut this year on “RHONJ” when his stepmom-turned-adoptive mother, Rachel, 32, joined the Bravo show — tells us that his parents “have repeatedly asked” him if he would like to visit Malsch behind bars, but has declined.
“I say ‘no,’” Jaiden says. “I wish her well and hope she stops trying to reach out to me while bashing my mom and dad.”
Malsch — who is currently serving prison time at a halfway house for a succession of crimes, including burglary, money laundering and possession with intent to distribute crystal methamphetamine in the first degree — claimed in a May interview with The Sun that John banned her from seeing Jaiden.
John, 34, tells Page Six that isn’t true, branding Malsch’s correspondence with the tabloid as a targeted “smear campaign” that has “really affected” Jaiden.
“We have not responded in order to avoid giving the story clout, but against Rachel and my wishes, our son Jaiden decided he would us to respond and add a comment,” the businessman tells us of Jaiden’s choice to speak out.
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It was revealed on May 16 that Rachel had officially adopted Jaiden after the early stages of the process played out on “RHONJ” Season 13.
After watching John and Rachel talk through the initial legal steps on the May 2 episode, Malsch told The Sun that she thought such scenes were a “poor pathetic excuse of a storyline” and “boring as hell.”
“If I had nothing to do with this situation,” the felon elaborated, “I would be watching the show thinking how lame she is — completely disregarding Jaiden’s personal life and feelings and taking shots at me to make her look like a knight in shining armor of a stepmom.”
John says that he was “disappointed” by Malsch’s comments, which he saw as a mere attempt to gain notoriety.
“My ex-girlfriend has been coming out of the wood work recently. I am honestly disappointed in Brittany for looking to take advantage of publicity instead of thinking of Jaiden’s wellbeing,” he explains.
The Fuda Tile founder — who dated Malsch for four years before breaking up with the former bartender in 2009 — was granted sole custody of Jaiden in 2011 by a New Jersey judge.
“I allowed occasionally supervised visits so Jaiden could try to have a relationship with her,” the father of three tells us. “I’d always hoped she could straighten herself out.”
Prior to Malsch’s incarceration, John claims that he and Rachel — who also share two young daughters, Gianella and Giuliana — “tried to give her a fair opportunity to see her child” in 2015.
He further alleges that she “would not show up” for planned visitations with Jaiden and “on the rare occasions she would, she was under the influence of substances.”
“As a modern-day father, I stepped up to the plate at 19 years old, and had my son with me every step of the way,” says John, who wed Rachel in 2017 after five years of dating. “I was lucky enough to find Rachel, 23 at the time, who cared enough to give herself to be a mother for him.”
Rachel previously said on Page Six’s “Virtual Reali-Tea” podcast that she was “excited” for viewers to watch Jaiden’s adoption story play out on “RHONJ.”
“The show honestly helped change my life … in the most positive way possible. I’m excited for everybody to see that unravel, the adoption process because I feel like it’s a very unique personal story and not something that’s been seen a whole lot before,” she said in February.
“And it’s very, very, very close to my heart.”