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‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ star Teresa Giudice says ‘I never saw myself going to prison’

'RHONJ' Teresa Giudice Poses For A Portrait At Her Home on January 13, 2017 in Towaco, New Jersey. .
'RHONJ' Teresa Giudice Poses For A Portrait At Her Home on January 13, 2017 in Towaco, New Jersey. . Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

The Real Housewives of New Jersey (RHONJ) star Teresa Giudice has let the world in on her turbulent life from Season One to the now-airing Season 10 of the hit reality show.

Giudice served a little over 11 months in prison for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud and was released on Dec. 23, 2015. Her mother also died in March 2017 after a battle with pnemonia and her husband, Joe, previously served a 48-month sentence for the same charges.

Joe was released from prison in March of this year, but he is now awaiting a decision in his deportation case after he was taken into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.

READ MORE: Joe Giudice speaks out for first time after leaving ICE custody

Joe was brought from Italy to the United States by his parents when he was one year old but never became a U.S. citizen. Joe’s team filed a petition on April 17 for a federal court to review the decision.

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The petition was denied, and Giudice was deported to Italy.

“I’ve learned a valuable lesson from all this and I know my family is the most important thing to me, but it’s better that I’m out here than in there,” Joe said in October, referring to being in Italy and not in prison.

Now, Teresa remains in New Jersey, raising her four daughters Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 14 and Audriana, 10, with the help of her father, who also appears on RHONJ.

Teresa was in Toronto for hayu canada and Thyrst’s Reality TV brunch (with the help of Jack the Publicist) on Dec. 7 at the Gladstone Hotel.

READ MORE: Teresa Giudice’s husband, Joe, to be deported to Italy

Thyrst founder and former Big Brother Canada contestant Aneal Joshua told Global News that he loves to bring together Drag Brunch at the Gladstone Hotel and stars of the Real Housewives franchises, because “drag culture is at its peak currently.”

“And then Real Housewives, it’s mostly because I was embarrassed. I really was never tweeting my thoughts on the show, but then there’s been this shift into a community and social media has been a fun, positive space with the best memes for the show,” Joshua said.

“I think the thing about [Real Housewives] is that it really did become a luxury and there’s real moments in watching that show.”
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Teresa Giudice and Aneal Joshua. (hayu Canada / Luke Villemaire)
Teresa Giudice and Aneal Joshua. (hayu Canada / Luke Villemaire)

Joshua wants to take the reality TV brunch across Canada.

“I think that there is reality TV lovers all over the country so to create these pockets of community around the Thyrst podcast and these events is what I would love to do with Thyrst,” Joshua said.

“I love [Real Houswives], I can tell you every Big Brother elimination. I would love to be able to talk about reality TV all over the country.”

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Global News sat down with Giudice in Toronto at the Gladstone Hotel to talk about Season 10, Joe’s situation with ICE and much more.

Photo by: Madi Borland
Photo by: Madi Borland

READ MORE: Teresa Giudice says ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ Season 8 ‘one of the best seasons yet’

Global News: How do you feel now that Season 10 is airing and the whole world is watching after you’ve already lived it?
Teresa Giudice: I think everyone’s gonna really, really like this season and I know they think they know me but they’re going to get to know me even better this season. I feel like the fans are going to be like, ‘Oh my God, I absolutely love, love, love, love Teresa.’

We already do! You’re the queen of The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Thank you! I feel like in the beginning, I always got, ‘Are you that mean?’ People thought I was being really mean all the time but I’m so not mean. I’m the easiest person to get along with. I’m very true blue, very loyal, just don’t f–k me over. I’m a very loyal person but if you screw me over I’ll never trust you again.

I’m all about forgiving but it depends because I like to forgive strangers over family because family shouldn’t screw you over. When it comes to friends, they’re friends, meaning like Danielle [Staub]. I brought her back into my life and it we fell out over stupid s–t or stupid rumours in the beginning. I reached out to her and let her know I didn’t mean any of it. She brought her kids there [in Season One], she always brings that up. I wasn’t trying to hurt her kids in no way, shape or form. I’m a mom of four and i would never want to hurt anyone’s children at all.
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My children were there, too, and I made them leave the room. I didn’t know what was going to happen but I just didn’t want them being there with any altercations or anything, you know?

Dolores Catania on returning to the Real Housewives of New Jersey
Dolores Catania on returning to the Real Housewives of New Jersey

It’s nice to see that you two are still friends. Your friendship seems to have flourished over the last few seasons.
Keep watching… I wish her well and everything. But you need to watch the season. I’m all about loyalty at the end of the day.

How hard is it to deal with Joe’s situation, because you’ve been living it for a while but now the world is watching? You can’t deal with it privately anymore because all you fans just want to know what happens next.
I mean, it’s my life. I’ve put it out there and I’m fine with that. I always think that I don’t know why this came to me, because I really didn’t go looking for it. It came to me and then it came to me for 11 months. I didn’t say yes right away, it took me 11 months to sign the contract from the beginning. This is part of my journey and I think maybe it’s all happening to me so that I can help other people get through tough situations, because I know I make it look easy but I went through a lot.

You’ve been through so much and we’ve all been following your story for 10 seasons. You’re an inspiration.
Yeah, I’ve been through a lot so I’m here to help. A lot of people tell me I’m an inspiration, so I’m happy that I do help other people get through difficult situations.

Do you think your family would ever move somewhere different than the United States so your daughters can grow up with their father? Toronto’s Little Italy is very nice.
If I’m going anywhere or move anywhere else besides New Jersey, it’s going to be somewhere warm. Nowhere with the snow, so the next place I’d move, it has to be warm all year (laughing).

How do you remain so strong and positive for your daughters?
I do it because I have to for my daughters. Everything I do is for them. I live, breathe and sleep for my daughters… actually I don’t even sleep that much. I live, breathe and work for my daughters.

What have you learned about yourself after going through all of this?
Throughout the past five years, it’s been really hard. I just have to keep going forward. I have four beautiful daughters that look up to me and they’re like, “That’s my mom.” If I fall apart, then they’re going to fall apart. I can’t do that.

Do you ever get overwhelmed when people ask you about your future with Joe?
No, no, no. Listen, I’ve been through so much that anybody could ask me anything. Nothing fazes me anymore.

The last time you and I spoke, it was ahead of Season 8. We were talking about you learning to swim. How do you feel about the water now?
I go in the water but I just don’t want to be thrown in the water. I go in the water at my own pace but I just don’t want to be tossed into a pool. That’s just not my thing. If I’m thrown into deep water, I panic. That’s my problem.

What would you say are your favourite two moments from Season One to Season 10 involving you?
The birth of Audriana and then doing my cookbooks. I’m a four-time New York Times best-selling author and I wrote two memoirs. I wrote six books so those are the two things that I’m most proud of.

How do you feel about fans still loving the table flip moment with Danielle from Season One?
Hey, I embraced it. At first I was like, “Oh my God. I can’t believe I did that.” But now I just embrace everything. That’s me. I guess if I get pissed off, I’ll throw s–t. It’s better me throwing stuff than throwing the person, right?

How is the dynamic with the cast after filming this season? Is there anyone that you hangout with regularly? 
You have to finish watching the season! But I hang out with Dolores [Catania] and Jennifer [Aydin]. We all have busy lives. We’re together for five months straight for filming and we see each other a lot but then it’s so crazy after we film. We have other friends and we want to be with our families so that’s how it is. It’s not like we don’t hang out anymore but we do other things, we vacation and stuff like that. So if you don’t see us hanging out afterwards it’s because we’re doing other things.
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What’s next for you in 2020?
I’m not saying anything. I’m never talking about my future again. I remember when I first started the show people used to ask me where do I see myself in five years. Well, I never saw myself going to prison in a million years but I did. I’m never talking about the future again and I’m just going to let it play out for itself.

(This interview has been edited and condensed.)

The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Slice and Thursdays on hayu.