Ramona reveals her connections to the other ‘Mob Wives’ with HollywoodLife.com exclusively — and shares what it was like to watch her grandfather ‘Lefty Guns’ Ruggiero go to prison.
Ramona Rizzo is one of the two new members to join the cast of Mob Wives for season two, and during the Jan. 8 episode, fans watched Ramona as she allied with her “cousin” Karen Gravano and fought with Drita D’avanzo. Well, it turns out Ramona has a strong family tie to the lifestyle. She opens up to HollywoodLife.com exclusively about her family history — and reveals to us how she knows her best friend Karen.
“I had somebody by the name of ‘Lefty Guns’ Ruggiero, who was my grandfather,” Ramona tells us. “The movie Donnie Brasco was based on his life. The only person I’m willing to speak about is my grandfather. We’re the real deal.”
Ramona’s grandfather Benjamin Ruggiero was a “soldier” in the Bonanno crime family. He was notorious for his friendship with FBI undercover agent Joseph “Donnie Brasco” Pistone, who infiltrated the family for six years.
“I was extremely close with my grandfather,” Ramona tells us. “His going away affected me really bad. When I was making my communion, that’s when things started going on.”
Ramona’s family tried to keep its affiliation with the lifestyle a secret from her.
“My grandfather went to jail for 13 years, but they still didn’t tell me,” Ramona recalls. “My family hid it from me. I grew up differently. The word ‘mob’ was never used in my home. … I saw all the news with my grandfather, and that’s how she found her family’s secret out.
After watching what happened to her family when her grandfather went to prison, Ramona decided she wanted to break away from the lifestyle.
“Everything I went through, I didn’t want to marry Italian,” Ramona explains. “If [I had] a boy, he could possibly be in the lifestyle.”
Sadly, Ramona’s marriage of 10 years turned out to bring its own hardships. The man she married was of Arab descent and ended with her struggling to get a divorce and fighting to get her kids out of the country of Jordan.
“The last time I was in Jordan was to get divorced,” she says. “I went there for two-and-a-half years.”
Ramona now raises her four children — Giovanni 13, Anissa, 12, Melina, 11, Gianna 7 — on her own in the United States.
So far on Mob Wives, Ramona has come to be known as the ally and friend of Karen. Karen reveals the story behind their friendship
“I met Karen at 4 years old,” Ramona says of her Mob Wives co-star. “I called her mom and dad ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle.’ We did frequent holidays together.”
As seen on the Jan 8. episode, Ramona is sure to be a key player in the Mob Wives season two war fighting for Team Karen.
— Lindsey DiMattina
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