Teresa Giudice Says Being In Prison Was Hell, First Paycheck Was $1.60; Talks Joe’s Possible Deportation And More

Teresa Giudice is going to be everywhere this week.  When I opened a particular website this morning, there were at least a dozen articles about her and her book!  Teresa did two interviews with GMA’s Amy Robach – one pre-taped at her home and then she appeared live in the studio this morning, too.  Her pre-taped interview is split into two parts – the second half will be on Nightline tomorrow.  In her interviews today she opened up about how she spent her days in prison and still maintains that she didn’t know what she was signing way back when.  The Real Housewives of New Jersey star also called prison “hell.”  She talks about whether she and the girls will move if Joe is deported and so much more.

Amy asks Teresa if she knew she was breaking the law and committing a crime.  “Definitely not. I didn’t know I was committing a crime.  The government saw it differently, I got sentenced, I served time.” 

How did it feel to go from reality star and mother to an inmate number?  “It broke my heart.  Growing up I was the good girl.  I always did everything right.” 

Teresa said she was fine being stripped away of everything and just being herself in prison.  “I was fine being just who I am.” 

Teresa says the prison was no country club as it’s sometime described.  “There’s mold in the bathrooms, there was not running water constantly, showers were freezing cold.  It was hell. It was definitely living in hell.” 

The worst part? “Being away from my daughters and Joe.”

She says sticking with a routine helped.  “I had a job in the kitchen, I wiped tables three days a week.  I got paid twelve cents an hour, I spent it at the commissary.  My first paycheck was $1.60. The only thing they’d give you is toilet paper and maxi pads.”  She added, “I have to say the girls were amazing there.  Anytime anybody new comes, we all help each other. You think that people are terrible in prison, which isn’t true.  I totally don’t feel that way now.” 


Did she ever fear for her life?  “I wasn’t scared. I know I could hold my own. There was fights that went on. Believe me, they were trying to start drama with me, but I just walked away.”  Amy quips that Teresa is used to drama.  Teresa half-laughs and says it was nothing like being on the Real Housewives of New Jersey. And I thought The Real Housewives of New Jersey was drama.  When you go to prison it’s a whole different…there’s a lot of drama.”

Amy says that Teresa writes in her book about the chaos with paparazzi and unfairness, etc, so she asks Teresa why she chooses to stay in the spotlight? “Good question. It’s my life now, it’s what I know.  And I live in New Jersey, I don’t live in Hollywood, so the paparazzi isn’t always staked out at my house.  During this legal situation that’s where the paparazzi came around a lot more.” 


Will Teresa and the girls move to Italy if Joe is deported?  “We’re just taking it one day at a time.  I’m just happy to be home.  We’re just enjoying every moment.  Living in the moment.” 

The rest of Amy’s taped interview with Teresa is airing tomorrow night on Nightline (11:35 pm EST). 


Teresa then appears live on GMA this morning in another segment to chat some more. Amy asks her how it feels to be off house arrest.  “It feels great.  It’s great to be home with my daughters and my husband.  Even though I was on house arrest, i got to do things.  I just had to let my probation officer know what I was doing.  Now there’s no schedule.  I can take my kids to all their activities.  That’s my biggest thing – I wanted to drive them to their activities.” 

Amy mentions her $400K in restitution, her house almost being in foreclosure and asks what their financial situation is right now.  “Restitution is paid off, the house is not in foreclosure anymore, thank God, and everything’s good.” 

Amy reads questions from viewers for Teresa.  What lesson will you teach your daughters from your experience?  “Before you sign something, make sure you completely understand it and read everything.”

Since Teresa told her younger girls that she was going away to write a book and not prison, what will she tell them about Joe going away for three and a half years?  Will she tell them he’s going to jail (prison)?  “No, we told them that mommy was going to work first. I told them I was going to write a book.  I had to live at ‘camp,’ which is prison, obviously.  I had to go through the experience and that’s what mommy was writing about.  And when mommy comes home, daddy’s going to work.” 

Does she blame Joe in any way for what happened to her?  “No, I don’t.  There was legal people around us also when I signed those papers and it’s something that happened.  I’m not going to look back, I’m gonna move forward and look at the future.” 

What impact has it all had on her marriage?  “If anything, it’s made it stronger.  It really has.  We’ve been married 16 years and it’s going strong.” 

After she got home what was the first luxury she treated herself to?  “Just spending time with my daughters and spending time with Joe, that’s all I wanted to do.”  Amy tries to ask her what she was most afraid of living without (aside from her daughters), but Teresa says again, “just my daughters and Joe.  I didn’t care about the food, I didn’t care about clothes.  I was fine not wearing makeup every day, I just missed my daughters.  They’re my life, I live for them. It’s amazing, after you give birth you can’t live without them.” 

How did you pass the time?  “I worked out three times a day.  I did yoga and it changed my life.  I am getting certified in yoga.  I did a lot of pilates, I did a lot of running.  We had a track and we were allowed outside.” 

How much of her experience in prison will she show on season 7 of RHONJ?  “I’m an open book. I’m gonna share my whole life and when you read my book you’ll see, everyone is going to get to know me from my upbringing to my 20s to when I gave birth, and how it was when I was away and being on Real Housewives of New Jersey.” 

Amy then clears up this last name pronunciation business.  Teresa laughs it off and says that the Italian way is too hard for people so her and Joe are fine with either pronunciation of it.

I should add that ABC is adamant that they did not pay Teresa for the interview as many had speculated.  I do believe that part.  I think Teresa went with GMA first because of the huge audience she’d reach for book promotion

Remember Teresa will also be on WWHL with Andy tonight and tomorrow night. 


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