Jill Zarin will make her reality TV comeback later this month when she joins seven other former “Housewives” on The Real Housewives of Ultimate Girls Trip Ex-Wives Club. The Real Housewives of New York alum promised fans that they will see “the old Jill back they remember from season 1” but revealed during an interview with PEOPLE that she handled navigating the drama differently than in the early days of RHONY.
“I’m medicated now,” Jill told the outlet. “I suffer from anxiety and partial depression. I didn’t realize it before, but I wound up going to doctor and was prescribed medicine for it.”
Jill explained how her undiagnosed condition affected how she managed her years on RHONY.
“It would cause this circular thinking that I couldn’t break out of it,” Jill shared. “When I was on RHONY, I would constantly talk about the show. If something was bothering me — say I was getting hate from the fans and I was upset about it — I would talk to Luann [de Lesseps], I would talk to Ramona [Singer], I would talk to my mother, my friend, my agent, my late husband, my daughter; it was 24 hours a day. Others could let these things roll off their backs, but I had this ailment that prevented me from doing that. I was hypersensitive to everything going on around me and quite paranoid that there were things going on I didn’t see. It wasn’t healthy for me.”
“Now, I take an antidepressant and it’s really changed my life,” she added. “Things don’t bother me as much as they did. I’m a lot calmer. It’s just one of the changes I’ve made in my life I think fans will be surprised to see.”
Jill was an original cast member of the Big Apple franchise, which premiered in 2008. She starred alongside Luann, Ramona, Bethenny Frankel, and Alex McCord. Jill was cut from the cast after four seasons, amid a major cast shakeup.
“The show went in a different direction and my life went in a different direction,” she recalled. “And in a way, it was a good thing, because I got to spend all that time with Bobby.”
Jill’s late husband, Bobby Zarin, died at the age of 71, in 2018, after a long battle with anaplastic thyroid cancer. Bravo covered his funeral during Season 10.
“For years before his death, Bobby and I enjoyed as much time as we could,” Jill revealed. “We traveled, we visited with friends, we soaked up every moment until we couldn’t anymore. He inspired me to not waste time in living life to the fullest.”
Jill added that Bobby encouraged her to seek help, during his illness.
“I got clinically depressed around the time Bobby got very, very sick,” Jill said. “I was taking care of him and I was scared that he was going to die. I would just cry out of nowhere, even on days where he was doing okay. It was a nervous system issue and that’s what prompted me to see a doctor to really address it.”
Jill has been focused on business and her charity work, in the years since Bobby’s death.
“I came into my own being as an entrepreneur,” Jill said. “Before I did the show, I was a buyer at a department store, and then I became senior executive and a president of Jockey hosiery. I married Bobby and worked with him at Zarin Fabrics. I had a lot of experience, a lot of relationships, and used those to grow Jill Zarin Home.”
Jill’s product line includes rugs, bedding, furniture, and home accessories. Jill and her daughter, Ally Shapiro, 31, have their own line of products called Jill and Ally, which are sold online and in stores such as Saks OFF 5TH, Target, Macy’s, and Kohls.
Jill added that not everyone is going to be on her side, in the new season of the Peacock series.
“Look, if you don’t like me, you’re never going to like me,” she said. “But I think you’ll see on Ultimate Girls Trip that I’ve really matured. I’m still that empathetic, opinionated friend I’ve always been — because that’s really who I am, and you become more of yourself as you get older — but I also feel lighter. I’m a better Jill.”
The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip Ex-Wives Club premieres on Peacock on June 23.
Avigail is an Entertainment blogger at All About The Tea, who specializes in The Real Housewives of Atlanta and The Real Housewives of Potomac. Avigail has a background in marketing. She’s a Brooklynite living in the Bahamas, with a passion for travel, writing, reality TV watching, pop culture and spoken word.