Gretchen Rossi, one of the "Real Housewives of Orange County."
Gretchen Rossi, one of the "Real Housewives of Orange County."

Housewife’ sued by man alleging libel and slander

A man who says he was the secret ex-boyfriend of Orange County “Housewife” Gretchen Rossi has filed a suit alleging slander and libel against the blond-haired, blue-eyed reality TV star.

The suit was filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court downtown. You can view a copy here.

Jay Photoglou of Huntington Beach says that Rossi regularly defamed him and lied about their relationship — on TV, to various media outlets and on her blog. He says the two were “a couple” during Rossi’s engagement to Jeff Beitzel, who died from leukemia in September 2008.

The two broke up in February 2009, according to the suit. In March 2009, Rossi filed a temporary restraining order against Photoglou, alleging that he threatened to harm her, her dog, her friend Slade Smiley and himself. The temporary restraining order was later dismissed by a judge.

In addition to libel and slander, the suit alleges instances of invasion of privacy/false light; intentional interference with prospective economic advantage; negligent interference with prospective economic advantage; intentional infliction of emotional distress; and conversion (taking property from another).

Photoglou declined to comment about the suit, except to say that it is “absolutely real.” He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees.

“We are seeking to set the record straight. We’re going to show what the real truth is, in terms of what their relationship was. The things she has been saying are untrue and inflammatory.  We’re looking forward to showing people who she really is.”

Photoglou’s attorney Brian Freedman said in an interview Friday.

Rossi, 32, who lives in Costa Mesa, did not return calls and messages placed to her on Friday.

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