Teresa Giudice on WWHL

Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice is one-on-one with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live tonight. Andy jokingly points out the irony in Teresa wearing an orange jumpsuit before he asks any questions.

They laugh, they catch up a little, and then Andy mentions, the last time he saw her, it didn’t seem like Teresa was preparing herself for prison. “No, not at all,” she admits. “I was just in the moment and focusing on my daughters. I felt like I was dying. In reality, that’s who I felt. I wanted to, every weekend, do something special with them. Especially with my little baby. I did not want her to forget me.”

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“When I first got there, I was pretty much numb,” shares Teresa. “I was going through the motions. When you first get there, they strip search you. You have have to bend down, cough, something I’d never done before. I felt humiliated.”

Teresa says she didn’t get to her room until 4:30 in the morning. “I look at my bed, there were urine stains and blood stains on the mattress. It was disgusting. The other girls helped me make my bed. After I made my bed, I passed out for a few hours. Then I got up again with the girls around 6:30 because they were getting ready to go to work.”

Andy reminds Teresa that she told Joe prison was like a low-budget spa. “I just said that to him because I didn’t want him to worry. It really wasn’t like that.” The best thing about prison? “Being able to work out three times a day.” The worst thing about prison? “Being away from my daughters, and Joe, of course.”

Does Teresa understand why she went to jail? “Yes. In the beginning, I didn’t understand. Just because I’ve never been in trouble before. I didn’t understand the legal system. Believe it or not, once you get there, you become so knowledgeable about the legal system and just by talking to the other girls. But I know the reason why I was sent there.”

Teresa adds that “of course” she holds herself accountable. “I signed papers without reading them. Before I even do that again, I’m going to make sure whatever I put my John Hancock on, that I understand fully before signing any other papers in the future. I pleaded guilty to what I did. I got sentenced. I served 11 1/2 months. I apologized to the judge. I did my time. My restitution is paid.”

What does Teresa say to people who say she shouldn’t be back on the show? “Listen, no one’s perfect in life. We all fall down. Obviously, I fell down, and now I’ve picked myself back up. I think we should all encourage each other and pick each other up. I hope that’s what the world’s going to do with me.”

Andy asks Teresa about the shiny new Lexus waiting for her in her driveway when she got home. “My lease was up on my car and I needed a car. Joe got me a new lease and he got me a new Lexus. It’s a lease. Lexus decided to put up that big red bow. They were smart, they knew tons of paparazzi was gonna be at my house, so they got a lot of press for that.”

Teresa claims that she understand why people were upset about the Lexus. “I even said to my husband, ‘Why did you put that red bow on?’ He said, ‘I didn’t put it on, Lexus did.'”

Who was Teresa more worried about – herself or Joe? “Believe it or not, I was totally numb with it. I didn’t even think about it. I am more worried about Joe than I was for myself. I think women are stronger and different and they will just walk away from situations. I don’t know how mens prisons are.”

About prison fights, Teresa says they happened, but she wasn’t in any.

Did being in prison teach Teresa how to handle conflict differently? “It did. I was not going to give anybody anything in order to ruin my good time. There was no way I was going to jeopardize that.”

Andy asks Teresa what she means by her “good time” in prison. “Good time… meaning staying there longer,” she explains. “My sentence was 15 months, but then you take off good time, so that’s why I was only there 11 1/2 months. Whatever sentence you get, you don’t do that full sentence, you get good time plus home confinement. Then some people get halfway house, but they denied me halfway house.”

Did Teresa watch Teresa Checks In? “I did. At first I didn’t want to watch it. I thought it was going to be hard on me. But I have to say that all the girls there supported me and we all cried and laughed through the whole show.”

Teresa says seeing her family cry over her absence broke her heart. She says hubby Joe did a good job taking care of the girls and brother Joe did a great job taking care of their parents. “When something like this happens, from now on, I just want to live every day like it’s my last day,” she adds. “Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s nonsense.”

Why didn’t Teresa put Melissa on her visitors list? “By the time she sent it in, it was like three months later and my list was full at the time. I took my brother-in-law Pete off the list to add my brother. When I left, things weren’t the greatest between Melissa and I. You’ll see it on the show, I ended up saying it [to Joe Gorga], I really didn’t want to spend five hours sitting with Melissa and chatting with her in the visitation room. We laughed about it. Now you are going to have to tune in and see what happens on season 7.”

Teresa claims she was happy to see Joe and Melissa with her kids on Teresa Checks In. “Family means the world to me. I love my brother. I love Melissa. I love my nieces and nephews. I want them in my life.”

Andy shares that Teresa said nice things about other Real Housewives in her book, but she did not even acknowledge Jacqueline Laurita. “While I was there, I didn’t hear from her,” says Teresa. “When I left, we weren’t speaking. I haven’t really spoken to her in three years.”

How was the food in prison? “The cooks did the best they could with the food that they had. It was different every day.” What’s the first thing Teresa ate when she came home? “Rino sent food from his restaurant. What I remember specifically going after was the lobster.”

Does Teresa resent Joe? “No. I lived with the man. I know that he didn’t mean to harm me in any way. He took full responsibility – but the government saw it a different way. What else can we do?”

About reports of Joe cheating on her, she says, “If I didn’t want to be with Joe, I wouldn’t be with Joe. If Joe didn’t want to be with me, he wouldn’t be with me.”

Are Teresa and Joe worried about Joe possibly being deported? “We are just taking day-by-day and focusing on our children right now.”

TELL US – YOUR THOUGHTS ON TERESA’S INTERVIEW? DO YOU BELIEVE SHE HOLDS HERSELF ACCOUNTABLE?

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