Earlier this month, it was revealed that Real Housewives of New Jersey stars Joe and Teresa Giudice had separated after 20 years of marriage, but there weren’t many people who were shocked by the news. Joe and Teresa have had some serious challenges in their relationship in recent months because of Joe’s deportation drama, which sparked a lot of breakup rumors. But, their troubles actually started a long time ago.
Joe and Teresa knew each other their entire lives before they became husband and wife on October 23, 1999, when they were both 27-years-old. It didn’t take the couple long to start a family, as they welcomed their daughter Gia in January 2001.
They continued to grow their family in October 2004 when their second daughter Gabriella arrived, and in February 2006 their daughter Milania was born.
When Teresa was pregnant with their fourth daughter Audriana, Bravo added her and Joe to the original cast of Real Housewives of New Jersey in 2009, and the very first season premiered on May 12th of that year. Just four months after the premiere, Teresa gave birth to Audriana.
But, living their lives in front of the cameras quickly proved to be a challenge for Teresa and Joe’s relationship. And, it didn’t take long for rumors to swirl that Joe was cheating with the family’s former nanny who happened to be his secretary.
At the RHONJ reunion in October 2012, Jacqueline Laurita revealed that Teresa had told her that she walked in on Joe when he had someone on his desk in his office, and that Teresa had “caught him with the secretary, babysitter.”
Despite the infidelity rumors and accusations, Joe and Teresa renewed their vows nearly 12 years after their wedding. Teresa told In Touch Weekly that she was happy at her second wedding because marriage means for better or for worse, and everything they had been through made them stronger.
“I wanted to show my girls that marriage is really important, as is being faithful to one another,” said Teresa.
However, the vow renewal didn’t stop the cheating rumors. In fact, they got worse, as numerous reports claimed Joe was having multiple affairs. An insider said at the time that Teresa comes from a religious Italian family that doesn’t believe in divorce, but things had gotten so bad she was considering leaving Joe.
It was around this time that Joe and Teresa’s legal troubles started. In July 2013, they were indicted and faced 39 charges, including bankruptcy fraud, bank fraud, and wire fraud. At first, the couple pleaded not guilty and tried to fight the charges, but in March 2014 they decided to plead guilty and make a deal.
Teresa ended up with a 15 month sentence in federal prison, and Joe received 41 months. However, they didn’t have to serve their sentences at the same time, as the court agreed that one parent should be with the kids.
Teresa went to prison first in January of 2015. Then, after she served 11 months and was released, Joe reported to federal prison in March 2016. When Teresa was in prison, the infidelity rumors surrounding Joe continued. An insider claimed to see Joe hooking up with a girl named Jamie Jackson in Atlantic City, but he denied the accusation.
When Joe started serving his sentence, the separation took its toll on Teresa.
“She was, and still is, very angry at Joe for putting their family in this position,” an insider said in 2017. “She was at the height of her success when everything went down. They went on fabulous vacations and had beautiful cars and jewelry and, most importantly, their freedom. Joe ruined all of that. She doesn’t visit Joe in prison as often as she used to.”
Eventually, the infidelity rumors started to follow Teresa, and sources started to claim in October 2017 that she was planning on divorcing Joe when he was released from prison.
“People think that I’d never leave Joe. But that’s not the case. If things with Joe aren’t good… between us when he gets home, I’d absolutely end our relationship,” Teresa wrote in her book Standing Strong.
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I posted this message in morning but I choked up and I took it down then I thought part of regrowth is acceptance!! This year, I have done a lot of self reflection I now know to be Happy and content with who I am and what I have food, bed, air, girls, and family. I learned in there All you have to do is love yourself and be the BEST! I’m letting go of 2019 with my beautiful girls but promising them the BEST of ME IN 2020!!”They make me proud in so many ways and are my treasures.”❤️❤️❤️❤️ ps didn’t mean to cut my baby out still learning will get in time. 😐
After a judge ordered Joe’s deportation in October 2018, cameras caught Teresa multiple times with Blake Schreck, a man 20 years her junior. And at the RHONJ reunion in early 2019, Teresa hinted that the marriage was over because she couldn’t handle a long-distance relationship.
Finally, when Joe was released from ICE custody in October 2019, he had to move to Italy to wait for the decision in his deportation appeal. And when Teresa and their daughters visited him in November, the couple reportedly decided it was time to officially separate and move on.
“Teresa and Joe have split, but everyone saw it coming. No one is really surprised,” a source revealed. “Even their daughters knew it was coming and their recent trip to Italy was all about spending quality time together and discussing the real issue at hand — they were splitting up.”
New episodes of Real Housewives of New Jersey air Wednesday nights on Bravo.