Jenni “JWoww” Farley is opening up about her estranged husband Roger Mathews‘ initial reaction to their 3-year-old son Greyson Valor‘s autism diagnosis.
“I took the initiative towards getting him help. That was a huge argument between Roger and I. [He was like,] ‘He’s fine, he’s fine, he’s fine,’ ” Farley, 34, said to friend and costar Deena Cortese during Thursday’s season 3 premiere episode of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.
“He had a nervous breakdown in the pediatrician’s,” the mother of two alleged of Mathews, 44. “My heart broke for him because he was like, ‘I just want my son to walk down an aisle and have a family of his own.’ “
(When reached for comment by PEOPLE regarding the “nervous breakdown,” Mathews says, “Jenni and I are friendly and co-parenting well at this stage in the game and both have every intention of doing whatever we can do for both our children.”)
“As parents, you can only do so much,” said Cortese, 32, herself a mom to 6-month-old son Christopher John, a.k.a. CJ. (Farley also shares daughter Meilani Alexandra, 5 on Saturday, with Mathews.)
“It’s f—ed up but I always say I’m going to hold his hand until I can’t, and when I can’t hold his hand anymore, my money is going to hold his hand,” Farley continued. “It’s like I’m preparing not for my retirement, but for my kids’ retirement.”
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Roger Mathews Says “We All Have Adversities in Our Lives” After JWoww Reveals Son’s Diagnosis
In a confessional later in the episode, Farley alleged that her ex “believed that Greyson was just a slow learner and he was just going to learn on his own,” which “caused a lot of tension in our household.”
“One parent [is] like, ‘I need to get ahead of this and fix it,’ which is me, and you’ve got another parent that’s like, ‘What are you doing? It’s not a big deal. There’s nothing wrong with Greyson,’ ” she recalled. “It is such a s—y situation to be in. It’s really hard to explain to people who don’t have kids, the level of sacrifice we make for them.”
Cortese expressed her admiration for her friend in her own confessional later, saying, “I can’t imagine what this girl is going through. I don’t know how she is doing this. I give her so much credit.”
After nearly three years of marriage, Farley filed for divorce from Mathews on Sept. 12, according to New Jersey’s Asbury Park Press. Hours after news of the divorce filing broke, Mathews shared an emotional video on social media, swearing that he was “not done fighting” for his marriage.
The following month, the reality star shared during an interview with the Today show — after previously revealing in August that Greyson was experiencing delays in his speech — that she has felt “very alone” in the process.
“When Greyson wasn’t hitting his marks in the world of doctors … [Roger] was like, ‘He’s perfect. He’s going to be fine. This is no big deal,’ ” Farley said. “I felt very alone because I [felt like] the only parent. I thought, ‘Am I bad wanting to get him help because Roger’s not concerned, so should I not be concerned?’ “
Farley went on to reveal her son’s autism diagnosis in November, during an interview with Hollywood Life.
Roger Mathews Shares Message About Fatherhood amid Divorce from Jenni “JWoww” Farley: “I Care”
In an impassioned statement published to her website this past January, Farley alleged that on top of exhibiting physical abuse toward her over the course of their relationship, Mathews has not given their two kids the proper care they need. (When reached by PEOPLE, a rep for Mathews had no comment.)
Two weeks after Farley’s divorce filing, a source told PEOPLE the split came as a surprise as the former couple “always seemed very stable and very much in love” up until that point. (Farley has since moved on, and is currently dating Zack Clayton Carpinello, a professional wrestler.)
“Roger was always supporting her at events, nights out or any place she needed to be,” the insider said. “I always thought he was a good partner for her — much better than the guy she dated before him.”
“I don’t think she will find anyone who’s more devoted to her than Roger is,” added the source. “You can see how much he loves his kids and what a good father he is. Hopefully they work out their differences.”
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