On July 10, the Real Housewives of New Jersey came back to Bravo for its seventh season by showing the tearful homecoming of Teresa Giudice, who was released from prison on December 23, 2015.
Giudice and her husband, Joe Giudice, were both found guilty of fraud and sentenced to serve 15 months and 41 months respectively.
The couple were allowed to serve sentences separately in order to leave one parent at home with their four children, Gabriella, Gia, Milania, and Audriana. Teresa Giudice’s sentence began on January 5, 2015. Joe Giudice began his sentence March 23, 2016, and he will be released in March 2019.
Giudice spoke candidly about allowing cameras to film her return. “The past season has been very dark,” she explained. “I wanted to share this with the world so everyone can see that we go through these hard times in life. We all have to. No one has a perfect life. There’s always a light at the end.”
The experience was bizarre, according to Giudice, who said “It felt like ‘what is going on?’ I’m hearing my lawyer on a walkie-talkie. I had the paparazzi driving up on the side. I felt like I was in a movie and here I am playing this person.”
Giudice spoke about her homecoming to CNN. “The day I came home it felt like a dream, ‘Am I really home?’ But it was like I never left,” she said.
“Even though I saw my daughters once a week, that’s nothing compared to just being there for them,” Giudice said on the episode. “You’re their mommy. You’re their provider. You’re their everything. And to be taken away for them? My poor babies, I know they felt lost.”
Giudice’s husband is now serving his prison sentence, and the couple are maintaining communication. Giudice visits him weekly and the pair reportedly exchange between 10 and 20 emails a day.
Giudice defended her husband and family in an ABC interview, saying “I’m coping the best I can. Listen, I love my husband. Unless you walk this path, unless you know all the pieces to the puzzle, no one can judge. He’s an amazing man. He didn’t mean for any of this to happen.”
Because Joe Giudice is an Italian citizen, there is a possibility that he will be deported upon completion of his prison sentence. However, Teresa Giudice said she was confident he would not be.
“I think our future is not uncertain,” Giudice said. “He’s going to be home. We’re going to be together. Our family’s going to be reunited again, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
In the meantime, Giudice has been raising their four daughters alone, which she says has had an impact on them. “You know, (they) miss their dad, of course, tremendously, just like I do. But you know they’re doing as well as could be expected,” she said. “They’re amazing. They’re really strong young girls.”
Nevertheless, the family reportedly misses the patriarch of the household. “We all miss Joe tremendously,” Guidice said. “But I try to remind them, ‘Now that mommy is home, didn’t it go by fast? That’s how it’s going to be for daddy too.'”
Giudice wrote about her time in prison in her recently-published book Turning the Tables.
The actress reportedly cried while watching the premiere of Season 7. “Watching this episode wasn’t easy. It made me cry. Seeing Joe and my daughters waiting for me while I drove home with Jim brought back a lot of tough memories,” she wrote on her blog.
“It was surreal to watch. I had waited for that moment for 11 and a half months and felt like it was a dream. I still do. … I’m just so happy to be back home with my babies, where I belong.”
[Photo By Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images]