When Teresa Giudice and Joe Giudice‘s legal problems — which led to jail sentences for both — began, fans wondered if Teresa would pack up her four daughters and leave Joe. But the Real Housewives of New Jersey star says walking out on her husband of nearly 20 years was never an option.
On Wednesday’s first part of the RHONJ season 8 reunion, the 45-year-old Turning the Tables author told host Andy Cohen that there was never even a conversation in which she thought, “Am I going to stay in this?”
Moreover, Teresa made it clear that she isn’t a pushover when it comes to Joe.
“You guys see me flip a table. You’ve seen me push ,” she said, quoting her more memorable moments on the show. “You can tell, I don’t take s—. So if my husband didn’t treat me the right way, trust me, I would not take it.”
“I always put my husband in his place,” she added. “For real.”
Teresa’s decision to stand by Joe, 45 — who began serving a 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud in March 2016 — is something that some of her own Housewives agreed they would have trouble doing if they were in her shoes.
“I think I would give them a lot more hell than Teresa is giving Joe,” Teresa’s sister-in-law Melissa Gorga said. “I trust you to the max and I assume you’re doing everything right. And I’ve learned from her that’s not the way to be, and she preaches that now. I love my husband, but I don’t know …”
Perhaps the difference is that Teresa spent 11 months in prison for the same crimes, time that she said taught her to cherish every moment she has with her four daughters Gia, 17, Gabriella, 13, Milania, 11, and Audriana, 8.
“They lost me and then they lost Joe,” she said, adding how Joe’s father and her mother had both recently died as well. “Hello, it’s been a crazy few years. That’s why nobody can compare themselves to what I’m going through. Nobody is walking in my shoes.”
With Joe’s exit from prison on the horizon, Teresa did admit that he has “a lot of making up to do.”
She explored some of those pains in her latest book Standing Strong, writing, “I’m still not happy with Joe. Actually that’s the understatement of the friggin’ century. And I’m not going to hide it anymore.”
“I used to lead a charmed life. Joe made plenty of money to support our family and then some. I was happy and relaxed. Until Joe f—– up. And he f—– up bad,” she wrote of the “stupid decision making” that led to their jail time. “Now I’m a single mother. I handle everything. All of it. And I support my entire family financially, which is a big weight on my shoulders on top of everything else.”
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On Wednesday’s reunion, Teresa admitted that writing the book helped her get over some of the resentment she was holding against Joe.
“I was hurt and a lot of anger came out, and I wrote that in my book,” she said. “It was kind of therapeutic for me because I got some of that out.”
Asked if Joe will be different when he gets home, Teresa said “Oh, definitely.”
“He seems different now,” she said. “Now he watches the show and is like, ‘Wow I was such an a——,’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah…’ ”
There is one more thing on her mind: the looming threat that once Joe is released, authorities might deport him back to Italy where he was born.
But Teresa remains strong. “I mean, Italy’s a beautiful place to live,” she said. “I wouldn’t mind, you know, I’m just saying.”
“Whatever God has planned for me, that’s what’s going to happen,” she continued. “I will embrace it the best I can.”
The Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion concludes Wednesday (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.