Family is everything. One day after being sentenced to prison, both Teresa and Joe Giudice sat down with Andy Cohen to discuss the aftermath on Watch What Happens Live. Below, Us Weekly rounds up the five need-to-know highlights from Part I of The Real Housewives of New Jersey stars' special segment, which aired Monday, Oct. 6.
1. How the Couple Reacted to the News of Their Prison Sentences, Homecoming After Court
"It was devastating," Joe, 42, said of the moment in the courthouse when he learned both he and his wife were going to prison. "I actually felt like I got hit in the back of the neck with a bat."
Joe added that he was surprised to hear he would be spending 41 months behind bars. "I think it was a little high," he said of his sentencing with a shrug. "But I mean, um, I didn't think I was gonna get that much… I don't know. It is what it is."
Teresa stuttered as she attempted to piece together her initial reaction to her 15-month sentence. "I was getting so nervous yesterday that I was shaking," the veteran New Jersey Housewife said. "My nerves were pulling. At one point, I couldn't even move my fingers. They were like stuck. I couldn't open my hands… see they're a little shaky. My nerves were shot. I've had sleepless nights. I mean, I, of course, was shocked. It was very unexpected. I don't know, I don't even know what to say." Find out the judge's reasoning behind Teresa's sentence.
The embattled spouses were welcomed by close family and friends at their home in Towaco, N.J., after leaving the courthouse last Thursday, Oct. 2. "It was hard walking in," Teresa recalled. "I couldn't wait to see my daughters, that's the first thing I wanted to see: my daughters and my parents. I saw my mom and she started crying, I was just like, 'Mom, don't cry. Just be strong for me… She was like, 'You never did anything wrong. You've always been a good kid.' She couldn't believe it. She was so upset and my heart was breaking just seeing her upset. Then I saw Gia [who] was crying and we just hugged for a long time."
2. Teresa Did Not Understand She Could Go to Jail
Cohen asked Teresa why she accepted a plea agreement that would send her to prison for 27 months. The reality star responded, "I didn't understand that part."
Teresa claimed her lawyer did not tell her what the plea deal could potentially entail. "I didn't fully understand it," she responded again. "I thought my lawyer was going to fight for me. I mean that's what lawyers do, I don't know. That's why you hire a attorney. You put it in their hands. I mean, whatever they wanted from me — believe me — I followed their direction. Whatever they wanted, I gave them. I'm not trying to hide anything."
The RHONJ veteran added that she was "shocked" by the judge's scolding during the sentencing about "inconsistencies and omissions" in their financial disclosure paperwork. "Whatever I needed to do, I would have [done]," she said to Cohen. "After I left court, I left court. I never spoke to my attorneys. It was done. The judge made a decision, it was done."
3. Joe Giudice Admits to Using His Wife in Fraud Scheme
Cohen then shifted the attention towards Joe, who claimed he didn't think Teresa would get jail time especially after he pleaded guilty. "I wasn't expecting her, you know?" said Joe, who didn't even "know how many damn 'counts we had." Added the father of four, "I even took all blame and full responsibility for everything. it wasn't like she really had [a] part… in my businesses. Whatever, she really didn't."
Still, he admitted to using his wife in his elaborate fraud scheme years ago. "In court, your attorney asked for leniency because Joe handled the finances," Cohen noted to Teresa. "What role did you play in this? How aware were you in what was going on? Were you just signing what was given to you?"
"This was before Housewives and whatever Joe told me to sign, I signed," said Teresa of signing false documents. Her husband added that he would hand her "whatever the bank gave me for her to sign."
Cohen then noted that they were false loans and fake W-2 forms, which made Joe immediately defensive. "Alright, whatever, I was taking out false loans…. They were handing me the paperwork. Whatever the forms were, she had better credit. So, we used her. She never even came to closings, she's never been to closings. She might of signed one document."
Simply, Joe admitted: "Basically, I would get the paperwork, [get her to] sign it, and it would be done."
His wife, during the course of the interview, also explained what she meant when she told the court last week, "it's time for me to wake up."
Teresa elaborated: "Time for me to wake up [in a way where] I do need to read things before I sign them. I do need to understand things before I sign… I'm a trustworthy person and sometimes I take what other people say, and I just believe them. I trust them and I can't do that anymore. I gotta, you know, I gotta make sure I fully understand something or fully read it, or find a lawyer, like a contract lawyer."
4. Teresa Has Not Told Her Youngest Daughters She Is Going to Jail
Teresa confirmed to Cohen on WWHL that she was reporting to prison on January 5, 2015. The mother of four said that besides their eldest daughter Gia, 13, the other three girls Gabriella, 10, Milania, 8, and Audriana, 5, have not yet been told that their mother will be behind bars for 15 months.
"They don't know anything," Teresa said. "Actually, Milania came up to me while I was in bed yesterday and said, 'Do you have something to say to me?' And I said, 'Like what?'"
Teresa told Cohen it's possible her two middle children are aware of the situation. "Gabriella gave me a kiss this morning," Teresa said of her "not that affectionate" daughter. "So, she gave me a kiss and came up to me. I love that, because my Gabriella, she's so good."
Teresa added that Milania knew something was up when they had a "full house" the night of their sentencing. "Milania even said, 'Why is everybody over?'" recalled her mom. Cohen then pointed out that the last time the spouses had a packed house was after Joe's father Frank died this past June. Teresa said someone told her daughter, "It's been 4 months since Nono passed and we're just all getting together as a family."
Eventually, Teresa said, she will have to tell her girls. "I'm not going to say something like, 'Mommy's going somewhere,'" she said of her hypothetical explanation. "I want Joe to come with the girls to come see me, but you know I'm grateful to the judge," she mused. "Because I know that she could have taken us yesterday if she wanted to. Or she could have taken us both, or taken me."
Teresa also said she was taking Judge Esther Salas' words to heart. "A lot of the things that she said yesterday, it hit home and it bothered me," she confessed. "From everything that she said, I'm just going to take it and become a better person."
5. Teresa Talks Looming Prison Sentence: "I'm Going to Do Fine"
Cohen concluded the first part of his interview by discussing what Teresa envisioned for herself in prison. "I've been thinking about this: You are a person who like to get your hair and makeup done, you've got style," Cohen noted of the RHONJ veteran. "You care about your appearance. Knowing that, how do you think you're going to do in prison?"
She responded, "I'm going to do fine… I don't care about that, I'll just slick my hair back and go about my day. I just think about my daughters. That's all I think about."
Getting brutally honest, Cohen pointed out what she might physically endure in prison. "I just want to be with my daughters, that's all I think about right now," Teresa responded. "That's all I've been saying to him last night. I just want to make sure my daughters are ok and that's all I want. I just want him to be with them all the time, I just want to talk to my daughters everyday. I want him to bring my daughters to me."
She told Cohen that her husband promised to bring the girls by twice a week, but Teresa said once a week is better because they had busy schedules. "I hope he can keep up with their schedules," she sighed. (He added earlier in the interview, "It's going to be a lot of work, but they're my daughters and I've gotta do what I've gotta do. I guess I'm going to be the Housewife. What are you gonna do?"
As for Teresa's infamous temper, which has led to many incidents (table flipping, Christening feuds, and more) on RHONJ? The reality star said inmates have nothing to worry about. "I mean you pushed me at that reunion," Cohen recalled of one season.
"I've grown since then and I'm not that same person," Teresa insisted, while her husband joked: "What if another woman touches you?"
Teresa shook her head and said, "I'll be fine. No one can push my buttons anymore." She admitted that she was simply numb to everything. "I really am."
Part 2 of the Giudice's tell-all Watch What Happens Live special with Andy Cohen will air Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.