“Very sad and devastating news. My heart is broken for him and their entire family,” Wakile, 53, tells Us Weekly. “It’s a harsh punishment for someone that has lived his whole life here as an American and has served his time for his mistakes. To be separated from his family is heartless.”
Wakile, who appeared on seasons 3 through 7 of the Bravo series, has had a strained relationship with her cousin Teresa Giudice for years. The 46-year-old Standing Strong author called the entrepreneur “a cancer” during a September 2016 episode of RHONJ, though at the time the two promised they would always be there for each other if they really needed to be.
According to a source, Joe plans to appeal the judge’s ruling. “Joe isn’t going to go down without a fight and is going to appeal the decision,” an insider told Us earlier this week. “This isn’t over, not by a long shot.” However, an immigration lawyer explained to Us that he is “unlikely” to win an appeal.
The 46-year-old restaurant owner, who moved to the U.S. as an infant but never became a citizen, was ordered on Wednesday, October 10, to be deported to Italy. He is currently serving a 41-month prison sentence, which began in March 2016, after he and his wife — who served her 11-month sentence in 2015 — pleaded guilty in 2014 to 41 counts of fraud, including bankruptcy, wire and mail fraud. Joe also did not pay approximately $200,000 in taxes.
Wakile is not the first of Joe’s costars to speak out about his upcoming deportation. “I happen to like Joe a lot. He treated me from day 1 with respect that I’ve earned,” Kim DePaola told Us on Wednesday before quipping about Teresa: “Will she see Joe in Italy? No. Just like she didn’t see him in jail.”
Caroline Manzo echoed Wakile’s statement: “So very sad to hear the news. Joe has been in this country since infancy. He’s made mistakes, took responsibility for those mistakes and served his time. He is not a violent person or a threat to society. He has four beautiful daughters that love their father and need him in their lives. He in turn has always been a loving and devoted father who treasured spending time with his girls. Very, very sad situation.”
Joe and Teresa, who wed in 1999, share Gia, 17, Gabriella, 14, Milania, 12, and Audriana, 9.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!