Karen Gravano, Angela 'Big Ang' Raiola

Brent N. Clarke; Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Things can definitely get tricky when there's deep family history involved in a situation.

Regardless, Mob Wives star Karen Gravano tells E! News exclusively that nothing would have kept her away from paying her respects and attending Angela "Big Ang" Raiola's funeral earlier today. "The most important thing I want to say is that I was there to say goodbye to my friend," she tells us, adding that she was never "banned" from being at the memorial service.

"Obviously, there is history there. But I was never banned. It was never, ‘You're not allowed.' It was about what would be the best timing and the most appropriate way," Gravano continues.

Big Ang, the 55-year-old niece of Salvatore Lombardi, aka Sally Dogs of the Genovese crime family, died Thursday after a long battle with cancer, and a source told E! News Sunday that Gravano, along with co-star Brittany Fogarty, were told "it's not a good idea" to attend any of the services because of their dads' past cooperation with authorities.

Karen Gravano, Renee Graziano, Big Ang

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(Karen is the daughter of Salvatore Gravano, also known as Sammy the Bull, a former underboss of the Gambino crime family who served as the right-hand man to notorious New York mob leader John Gotti. Salvatore later became a government witness and helped bring down his boss.)

Gravano explains, "My situation isn't about my father, it isn't about anyone else. It's about paying respects to my friend. I wanted to say my goodbyes to Ang and pay respect to her and her family and an army couldn't stop me.

"I was just happy to be there. Let people believe what they want to believe. I was there and I walked out holding her casket."

Gravano did not end up attending Big Ang's wake, however, telling E! News, "I decided with the history it would be the best idea for me to do it on my own terms."

Family, friends and many of Ang's Mob Wives' co-stars came out to pay their respects at Basilica of Regina Pacis, a Catholic parish church in Brooklyn, today, including Drita D'Avanzo, Carla Facciolo and Renee Graziano.

Angela 'Big Ang' Raiola

Steve Mack/Getty Images

A rep for Big Ang tells E! News her casket was walked out of the church by her two best friends, Celia and Lil Jen, followed by Adam Gonzalez (a Mob Wives show producer and good friend to Ang), Jennifer Graziano (the show's creator), Karen, Drita, Carla and Renee. 

"Ang's sister [Janine Detore] gave an amazing speech," a source tells E! News. "It was very touching."

"Everyone was crying and everyone's heart is broken," says her rep. "While we all know Ang would want us all to be strong, it's so hard."

The season finale of Mob Wives will air March 10, and the reunion special will follow on March 16.

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