Us Weekly confirmed on Tuesday, December 17, that the Real Housewives of New Jersey stars decided to separate after 20 years of marriage.
“Teresa and Joe have separated, but have no plans to divorce yet,” a source told Us. “Teresa and Joe talked about their future when she and the girls were in Italy and decided it was best for them to separate. Neither of them wanted to be in a long—distance relationship.”
The source added that Joe, 47, who is living in his native Italy as he awaits a verdict in his deportation appeal, “has been dating,” but Teresa, also 47, has been “busy taking care of” their daughters Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 13, and Audriana, 10.
“They harbor no ill will towards each other and will continue to coparent their kids,” the source explained. “The girls will be going to Italy in December, Teresa will be staying home.”
Teresa and Joe’s marriage has faced a series of hardships in recent years. After the former couple pleaded guilty to 41 counts of fraud, the Standing Strong author served 11 months in prison in 2015. Joe, for his part, reported for his 41-month sentence in 2016 after Teresa came home. The former construction business owner was released into Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in March 2019 after a judge ordered him to be deported when he completed his sentence.
During the season 9 RHONJ reunion, which aired the same month, Teresa admitted that she would not stay with Joe if he was deported.
“I’m not doing a long-distance relationship. I’m not doing it,” she said at the time. “You know, I want somebody with me every day. I know exactly what happens. You know, I’m sure he’ll be with other women. It happens.”
After several months in ICE custody, Joe was granted permission to live in Italy while a judge makes a final decision in his case. While Teresa traveled overseas to visit him with their daughters in November, she later revealed she had no plans to return until summer 2020.
Scroll through for reactions to Teresa and Joe’s split: