You never know what kind of drama will unfold on the red carpet. (Just ask Kim Kardashian
) But Slade Smiley got to experience it firsthand when a bill collector accused him in front of cameras at an event of owing $160,000 in child support payments for his 11-year-old son, Grayson, who’s currently battling brain cancer. Since then, however, Real Housewives of Orange County star Gretchen Rossi has come to her boyfriend’s defense, despite opposition from the most fervent of Smiley haters.
“I’m sad because he’s my significant other, but at the same time, they don’t know the real story,” Rossi told Hollywood.com at the Bravo upfronts in New York. “You know the truth. That’s the bottom line. You don’t allow what they’re saying to affect you, because you know what they’re saying is based off of false rumors and things that they don’t know.”
But according to the 33-year-old reality star, her longtime beau tries not to take too much of the negativity to heart. “He knows who he is. He knows that he’s an amazing father,” she says. “He doesn’t have a problem with his first child’s mother. He’s raised him and his a great kid. He has a great relationship. To me, that says a lot.”
As close the the two of them may be, Rossi’s still not ready for them to take the next step into holy matrimony… yet. “We’ve been in a relationship for three years. I feel like we’re already there,” Rossi says. “As far as marriage goes, I think there’s some things that still need to be worked out before we take that step.”
But for now, Smiley may want to play it safe and steer clear of red carpets for the foreseeable future.