COURTROOM DRAMA FOR 'OC HOUSEWIVES'

Published on: March 30, 2012
Photography by: Splash News
Tamra Barney, Gretchen Rossi and Alexis Bellino

Expect a real courtroom drama for GRETCHEN ROSSI and her "Real Housewives of Orange County" co-stars if her ex-boyfriend JAY PHOTOGLOU has his way!

After three years of slugging it out in an ugly "he said/she said" legal battle over their relationship, the two are set to face off in a civil trial, and sources say Jay plans to subpoena several of Gretchen's former and current castmates to testify against her.

"RHOC" stars TAMRA BARNEY, PEGGY TANOUS, LYNNE CURTIN and ALEXIS BELLINO are among those expected to take the stand, and if they do, they'll have to tell the truth about when Gretchen's romance with Jay actually began.

The blonde bombshell claims to have been engaged to millionaire JEFF BEITZEL when she joined "RHOC" in early 2008. Beitzel was suffering from leukemia at the time, and died in September 2008.

Their relationship and Gretchen's tender bedside care for Beitzel as his health deteriorated was a major part of her story line during her inaugural season on Bravo's "RHOC" in 2008.

Gretchen insists Jay, who works in the auto industry, was nothing more than a "family friend" back then, while he contends that he was Gretchen's real-life boyfriend during filming. In 2009, he even told The ENQUIRER: "She (Gretchen) spent her days at the hospital with her dying fiance, but her nights with me."

Not so, says Gretchen. In 2009 she declared that "Jay Photoglou is nothing more than a thief and liar. Jay and I had a short-lived relationship BEFORE Jeff and I dated."

Soon after, Gretchen filed a restraining order against Jay — he says to keep him quiet. That was dismissed, and Gretchen was ordered to pay his attorney's fees.

But then he slapped her with a civil lawsuit for defamation, and she hit back with a countersuit. With their civil trial looming, Gretchen recently gave a deposition in which she changed her story about when she actually met Jay. She also admitted that she spent time with Jay on at least four separate occasions after she got engaged to her now-deceased fiance. But when pressed further by Jay's attorney, she clammed up.

"No matter what, Gretchen is not going to like it when her fellow housewives have to spill the beans about her relationship with Jay Photoglou," said an insider. "I'm sure no matter what they say, it won't help Gretchen's case."