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Heather McDonald Settles Defamation Lawsuit With Jim Bellino Over 2019 Podcast!

Jim Bellino, the ex-husband of former Real Housewives of Orange County star Alexis Bellino, settled his defamation case against Heather McDonald, according to Page Six.

Bellino and McDonald said in a joint statement on Monday that they came to “a settlement of the dispute on mutually satisfactory terms,” TMZ reported.

The joint statement also says Heather “never intended to cause any of the damage” to Jim's reputation or that of his business.

In March 2020, McDonald was granted her request to have Bellino’s defamation lawsuit against her dismissed, according to the Orange County Superior Court documents obtained by Page Six on Thursday. However, Bellino filed an appeal at that time.

McDonald argued that she was within her first amendment rights when she hosted the live “Juicy Scoop” podcast taping with Tamra Judge and Shannon Beador, with her lawyer filing an anti-SLAPP motion to plead her case. The judge agreed with McDonald in a preliminary ruling.

“I am really happy,” McDonald told Page Six at that time. “I feel in a much better state now that we have an actual ruling in our favor.”

“I mean, it’s been a horrible last two years going through it all and it’s definitely affected my business,” she explained. “When people bring on lawsuits like this just to have a chilling effect, it’s so that people crumble up and die and roll over. And when it’s happened to other reporters and entertainers like a John Oliver — he has HBO to protect him, you know, he’s on a major network. I am by myself. I live in an average home that someone can just walk up to the door and knock, which is what happens when you get served. And it’s terrifying.”

She noted that she changed her live shows to eliminate guests — she did not want to put them in an uncomfortable position — and felt like she had a cloud over her head.

“I just don’t think somebody knows once they’ve been through it,” she explained. “Like, how you’re having like a good day and then all of a sudden you’ll have a panic attack. Or any time I got a Google alert, I would get scared because I was afraid it was about the case. I’ve never suffered from anxiety or panic attacks or anything like that. Now, I’m like, waking up in the middle of the night and it just affects everything in your life and it makes it really hard. And I have to be funny every single day and so it’s very difficult.”

Bellino first sued McDonald in June 2019, alleging that she, Beador and Judge “shamelessly ‘dished’ and peddled unsubstantiated gossip about the Bellinos and their divorce” throughout their conversation where they discussed his divorce with Alexis and his trampoline business at the Irvine Improv in California. He also sued Judge and Beador in the matter, with those cases still ongoing. Beador was dismissed from her suit and was awarded $137,340.25 for her legal fees in regard to the matter. However, the case against Judge is still ongoing.

McDonald then revealed why she hasn't spoken to Beador and Judge since being sued. “Unfortunately, their attorney counseled them and our attorney said this is a very common thing to say — do not talk to this other party — me,” she explained. “So I haven’t talked to them in over a year.”

“That’s what was so heartbreaking about it all because I was really good friends with them both,” she added. “They’ve both been on my show numerous times before. I went to Tamra’s wedding. I met her over ten or eleven years ago when our kids were both four. Shannon went to USC and we connected on that level and went to games together.”

Photo Credit: Getty/Google Images