Jan Josephs, Ex-Husband of ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ Star Margaret Josephs, Dead at 74

Jan Josephs

Jan Josephs

thumbs up Jan Josephs

Jan Josephs, the ex-husband of Real Housewives of New Jersey star Margaret Josephs, died on Aug. 26 at the age of 74 from a sudden heart attack, PEOPLE can confirm.

Funeral services for the beloved father, of Englewood, New Jersey, were held last week. News of his passing was made public by Margaret on Monday, in an emotional Instagram post.

“Today would have been Jan’s 75th birthday,” wrote Margaret, captioning a black-and-white photograph of a young Jan. “He passed away unexpectedly last week and a piece of us died with him.”

“We are heartbroken,” she continued, adding that “the night before he left us we shared a beautiful conversation of how blessed we are, our children all successful and happy and that we could only brag to each other.”

She went to say that despite their divorce, the two spoke everyday. “He was my family,” said Margaret. “Jan was an amazing father, grandfather, friend, [and] partner to his girlfriend. He loved everyone unconditionally. He loved Motown, working out and Italian food, but most of all he loved his family.”

Her candid posted ended with an explanation of why she picked a younger photo of Jan. “I chose this photo not only because it was one of his favorites but because he had a youthful spirit and will be forever young” said Margaret. “Happy Birthday my angel 🙏🙏🙏💔💔.”

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Margaret, 55, and Jan first married in 1994 when the RHONJ star was 24. At the time, Jan had full custody of his three children (then ages 8, 14 and 16) from a previous marriage.

“They needed someone to love them and I was completely obsessed with them,” Margaret shared during an episode of RHONJ about her three stepkids, who are now 42, 44 and 46.

The exes also share a 26-year-old biological son. Margaret has chosen to keep all four kids off of the Bravo reality show and off of social media, famously not revealing their names.

RELATED: RHONJ‘s Margaret Josephs Opens Up About Biological Son: ‘People Don’t Know About’ Him

Margaret Josephs attends the OK!  Magazine Summer Kickoff Party

Margaret Josephs attends the OK! Magazine Summer Kickoff Party

Theo Wargo/Getty Margaret Josephs

In 2013, Margaret and Jan ended their marriage after Margaret had an affair with now husband Joe Benigno — a revelation that she opened up more about in her 2021 memoir, Caviar Dreams, Tuna Fish Budget.

Shortly after, in 2013, Margaret and Benigno married. He’s since been a RHONJ regular, although Jan has also made appearances on the show over the years.

Margaret previously told PEOPLE that her decision to leave Jan for Joe added tension between her and her stepchildren, explaining that it had been years since she had spoken to some of them.

“I know they don’t hate me,” Margaret said in 2018. “They’re holding a grudge. And it doesn’t make it any easier. But I know in my heart we’ll find a way back to one another . I’d die over them.”

“It’s an ache no one can fill. It’s heart-wrenching,” she continued. “They were my whole life. We had every Sunday dinner, bar mitzvahs. … Not knowing what they’re up to, it’s so weird. I pray every day and I write to them constantly. It’s not like they don’t acknowledge me with thank yous. But it’s just not the same.”

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As for Jan, Margaret told Wendy Williams in April 2021 that she and Jan remained “amazing friends and amazing co-parents.”

She also proved those sentiments in a Father’s Day shout-out on Instagram in June 2019, writing beside a split photo of Jan and Joe, “Happy Father’s Day to all the incredible dads out there! I am so appreciative and feel blessed to have 2 amazing men in my life who are the true meaning of selfless when it comes to our family and children.”

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