After almost 12 months behind bars, Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice was released from prison this morning, according to People.
The site is reporting that Teresa was officially released from the Federal Correctional Institution in which she was being held in Danbury, Connecticut, just after 5:00 a.m. on December 23. Her lawyer, James J. Leonard, Jr., confirmed to People shortly after that Giudice “is free.”
Just over 2 hours after her release, E! Online reported that Teresa had arrived back at her New Jersey mansion, accompanied home by Leonard Jr., and was greeted by signs drawn for her by her 4 children, Milania, Gia, Gabriella, and Audriana, which reportedly read “We missed you.”
A source exclusively told People shortly after Teresa’s release that the mum of four is “thrilled” to finally be released from the Connecticut prison, and is heading home to her New Jersey mansion to spend Christmas with her daughters and her husband, Joe Giudice.
“Prison was tough for [Teresa], but she made the best of it,” the source added to People. “She couldn’t wait to get home to Joe and the girls from the minute she set foot in prison. She is so happy and grateful that she is able to be home with them, for Christmas, no less.”
Real Housewives Executive Producer and Bravo staple Andy Cohen also confirmed Teresa’s release on social media, tweeting out to his more than 1.72 million followers, “Welcome home @Teresa_Giudice! #RHONJ.”
The news of Giudice’s prison release comes just days after Teresa’s sister-in-law and Real Housewives of New Jersey co-star, Melissa Gorga, revealed to Us Weekly that the Gorgas and the Giudices will be spending Christmas Eve together following Teresa’s release.
“It’s a blessing that everyone will be able to be together,” Melissa told the site earlier this month after a source revealed that the sister-in-laws, who famously butted heads on the popular Bravo reality show, are “on really great terms right now.”
“Everything that happened with Teresa going away made both women realize that there are more important things in life than their old feud,” the source continued, “Melissa and Joe [Gorga] reached out to Joe Giudice … and all four of them are on the best terms they’ve ever been on.”
As for Giudice’s plans beyond the festive season, People announced last month that Teresa is ready to spill the beans on her year behind bars in 2016. February 9 will see the release of Giudice’s tell-all book, titled “Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again,” which will detail the ins and outs of her time away.
The book is also expected to lift the lid on Teresa’s dramatic life before she entered Danbury Correctional Facility and will also be giving more details on her life in front of the camera during her 7 seasons on The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
“While we’ve all watched Teresa’s life unfold on television, Turning the Tables will mark the first time we will hear all of Teresa’s incredible life story, including her recent stint in prison,” publisher Jennifer Bergstrom told People of Teresa Giudice’s tell-all memoir.
The site is also reporting that the new book “features never-before-seen scans of her diary while detailing what life is truly like in a federal corrections facility and how Giudice found strength during one of the most trying times of her life.”
Teresa and Joe Giudice both pleaded guilty to numerous counts of fraud in March, 2014, which reportedly included bank, mail, and wire fraud, as well as making false statements on loan applications. Teresa was then sentenced to 15 months behind bars the following October, whilst Joe was also sentenced to prison time and will be entering prison for his 41-month sentence in 2016.