A “controversial history” between Julie and several of her roommates was first teased in the trailer for The Real Homecoming: New Orleans. Now, during the premiere episode — streaming exclusively on Paramount+ — the backstory which prompted this statement by Danny was revealed.
The first cast member to expose their tension with Julie was Melissa, who touched down in NOLA with her own supply of toilet paper. The now-mother-of-three stated she was “genuinely excited to see a lot of them” when she was on the verge of reuniting with all of her Y2K roomies. And when she first met up with Danny before making their way to the new house (just like they first met in 2000!), she quipped “oh girl, I’m worried” when he stated he wasn’t really concerned about seeing anyone.
But Danny’s statement about not having apprehension did not mean he had not been hurt by Julie in the past. His story: After RW aired, he and Julie were hired by an organization to mentor high school seniors, but he received troubling news that Julie sent a letter “trashing” his character to the org.
“[The letter said] that I essentially have no morals [and] it’s a mistake to hire me — and the same stuff happened with Melissa,” Danny revealed in a confessional interview. “This happened multiple, multiple times, and I never heard from her again.”
Meanwhile, Melissa last saw Julie on The Challenge: Battle of the Sexes in 2003 after “cussing her a** out” for doing “shady sh*t” (Melissa’s take).
Then Julie, who did not meet up with anyone prior to arriving at the new digs, stated that she needed to right wrongs and apologize for things (without naming names or consequences). She admitted she felt “awkward” and predicted she would be getting the cold shoulder from some people. And she was right.
When Julie embraced Danny, she immediately stated she was sorry, but Danny told her they would talk about it later. Danny reflected that it was “all too fast,” the gesture unfolding in front of the group felt “performative,” and he was not taking it as a “true apology.”
But Julie and Melissa did not opt for any close contact. Instead, Melissa, who was “not trying to mess with that lady,” offered up four simple words: “Hi, how are you?” Julie kept her distance, and shortly after the greeting, the two women spoke — and it was thanks in part to an old-school TV Guide issue that Tokyo (aka David) brought along.
“Melissa did not date during her time in New Orleans,” Melissa read from the vintage 2000s magazine. “But she plans to make up for lost time when she moves to Los Angeles with Julie this summer.”
The mention of the City of Angels prompted the first disagreement between the duo: Melissa claimed that she resided in Los Angeles and Julie was in Orange County, while Julie said that Melissa didn’t want to be SoCal roomies so she had her own place. Julie quickly refuted the OC portion and rattled off the street name of her LA place. Julie, visibly irritated by the differing claims, left the group and muttered under her breath that Melissa was a “f*cking liar.”
But this was only the beginning of the LA living situation she said/she said. An “incoming message,” featured on previous Homecoming seasons, showed a video recap of the seven strangers’ original stint in New Orleans — and the nostalgia-filled clip concluded with (you guessed it) Julie and Melissa. Melissa stated back in 2000 that she would “definitely” be in touch with Julie, while Julie confessed Melissa meant the world to her. And then, there was the California reference yet again.
“We’re going to party in LA,” Julie gushed to Melissa while they gave each other a big hug goodbye in 2000.
Julie quickly wanted to understand why Melissa couldn’t remember that Julie moved to LA. Then, Melissa conveyed how she truly felt.
“We were really, really good friends, and then you did a really bad thing to me, so I don’t remember any of the good, fun stuff,” Melissa told Julie, as the other five observed. “That’s the truth.”
Julie maintained that she had thought about Melissa, and Melissa did not answer her calls.
“We could never address anything,” Julie claimed.
A Challenge clip (Melissa had previously referenced it) rehashed their beef and reminded viewers of their public feud, which was featured on MTV.
“A college chose to hire me to do a lecture at their school over Melissa, and Melissa got really upset about that,” Julie stated back in 2003. Melissa’s take: “Julie is so greedy when it comes to money. She called this f*cking school, talking about, ‘Melissa doesn’t sign autographs, Melissa doesn’t do this, Melissa doesn’t do that. And her fee is too much. But I’ll do it.'”
Present-day Julie denied that she ever called a school to not hire Melissa, but Melissa refuted this and stated that an agent received the emails which explained why she had lost the gigs. Danny had seen enough: He interjected, in front of everyone, that he experienced the same thing and insisted they stop debating about whether or not this happened.
“I wrote one letter, and it was about Danny,” a visibly ashamed Julie admitted. She explained that she betrayed him because she was in “self-preservation mode” after the pair were spotted by event organizers laughing about how some of the kids didn’t recognize them. She ultimately lied and stated that Danny was making fun of the kids and then owned that her actions were “f*cked up.”
Danny had a different opinion. “The letter painted me as a horrible homosexual,” he explained. “Everybody’s parents were terrified of you being the gay in front of their teenagers. And you were there to be the good little Mormon girl.”
And, yet again, Julie stated she didn’t write any of this or “say those things.”
“That was a sensitive time, when you were gay at that time and you were allowed to have a voice,” Danny remembered, as Julie began to cry. “It was rare and it was special, and when someone tainted that, it meant a lot.”
“For 22 years, you didn’t acknowledge it,” Melissa offered. And then she addressed Julie’s tears. “You didn’t apologize about it. And now you’re sitting here crying about it when we are the aggrieved party. That’s the problem.”
Melissa was adamant that she was not holding a grudge, but instead, she made a point. “I looked petty on national television for 20 years because you never told that story right. And then on top of that, those actions were done against marginalized people. You did it to a gay person and you did it to a person of color.”
Julie asked if Melissa was calling her racist and homophobic, a suggestion Melissa immediately shut down. But then Julie pivoted back to the letter because she couldn’t understand it and wasn’t ready to accept it as being true.
“I’m sorry if is not an apology,” Melissa told Julie. “Already, your apology is flawed.”
The group eventually dispersed, and Tokyo tried to tell Julie one-on-one that it didn’t matter who was responsible for the letters (Julie didn’t want to blame her agents) but that there was a common denominator with two people and it “actually happened.” The proof did not matter, just the hurt feelings.
The episode ended with Julie realizing she needed to own her behavior and asking if she could enter Melissa’s room. So will Julie ultimately take responsibility for her actions and express her regret, or will the differing versions of history persist for the entire duration of this homecoming? Give your thoughts on the inaugural episode, and keep watching The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans when new episodes drop every Wednesday only on Paramount+!