Season 12 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey premieres Tuesday (Feb. 1) on Bravo, and it will feature returning housewives Teresa Giudice, Melissa Gorga, Dolores Catania, Margaret Josephs, Jennifer Aydin, and Jackie Goldschneider. Aside from epic drama like we’ve never seen before, the new season will also welcome a new face to the Jersey group. Traci Johnson is joining the show as a “Friend” of the Housewives, and based on the thrilling trailer, she’ll have a front row seat to Teresa and Margaret’s big fight in Nashville and other drama-filled moments.
So who is Traci Johnson? Well for starters, she’s married to retired NFL star Tiki Barber, 46, who will also appear in the new season. Here are five key facts about Traci, including details about her marriage to Tiki.
1. Traci is a former model.
Before her reality television debut, Traci was a model. No surprise there, considering how gorgeous the blonde beauty looks in all the promos for the new RHONJ season. Traci uses her Instagram page, which boasts over 11,000 followers, to show off her good looks. Ahead of the RHONJ premiere, she shared a stunning photo of herself in a purple dress for her confessionals. “Giving some love and throwing some shade @bravotv 8 more days!!” she captioned the snapshot.
2. Her relationship with Tiki was initially controversial.
There was no shortage of drama for Traci and Tiki when they started dating around 2010. The pair met when a then-23-year-old Traci was an NBC intern and Tiki worked on the Today show. At the time, Tiki was married to his college sweetheart Virginia Cha Barber, who was 7 months pregnant with the couple’s third and fourth children (twin daughters). Tiki and Virginia separated in April 2010, and it was later reported that he had been having an affair with Traci. However, Tiki and Traci have denied this and claimed that Tiki was already separated from his wife before they entered into a romantic relationship. Tiki and Traci got married in a New York courtroom on July 20, 2012, just eight days after his divorce from Virginia was finalized.
3. She has 2 children.
Traci is the proud mother of two children, both of whom she shares with her (former) pro athlete husband. Their oldest daughter Brooklyn, 8, was born on December 27, 2013, and their younger daughter Teagan, 5, was born in July 2016. Traci documents her adorable girls on Instagram. Brooklyn is a competitive cheerleader and is teammates with Snooki‘s daughter Giovanna, 7.
4. She’s a step-mom.
Through her marriage to Tiki, Traci is a stepmom to his four kids he shares with Virginia. Those kids are: sons A.J., 19, and Chason, 17, and twin daughters Riley and Ella, 11. All six of Tiki’s kids got together to celebrate their dad on Father’s Day 2021. Traci shared an adorable family photo to Instagram and wrote, “Cheers and love to the man that values his role as ‘Dad’ as the most important job in his life. I’m not sure how you do it but you make the chaos of 6 kids look easy and you handle every aspect with a smile. Thanks for including me on this parenting journey with you, my love.”
5. Traci appears to be close with her ‘RHONJ’ castmates.
We’ll have to see RHONJ season 12 play out to learn Traci’s dynamics with the women. But based on social media, she seems to be on especially good terms with the trio of Melissa, Jackie, and Margaret. They, as well as Dolores, all comment kind words on Traci’s Instagram posts. She even earned a birthday tribute from Margaret in September! As for Teresa and Jennifer, viewers will have to tune into Bravo weekly to learn whether or not they’ll turn out to be Traci’s friends or foes.