Teresa and Joe’s 20-year marriage came to an end after he failed to take any accountability for his actions — the very same actions that sent them both to prison.
The Feb. 26 season finale of The Real Housewives of New Jersey was titled “Family Reunion”, and that’s because it showcased Teresa Giudice‘s highly-anticipated reunion with then-husband Joe in Italy, following his release from both prison and ICE. Teresa’s main objective was to chaperone her four daughters as they reunited with their dad, but Joe also wanted to reconnect with his wife. Unfortunately for him, she wasn’t in the mood.
The girls’ trip to Italy came five months after Teresa wrapped filming Season 10 with her co-stars, during which Danielle Staub revealed that Teresa urged her to pull Margaret Josephs‘ hair, so Teresa had somewhat of a clear mind when she reunited with Joe. And it was with that clear mind that she told Joe she didn’t want to sleep in the same bed as him. Then, when he tried posing in a photo with her, she suggested she just take the photo of him and their daughters instead.
“I know Joe is trying to be sweet to me — I think Joe wants to be a couple again. But I haven’t been happy with Joe for a long time,” she said as a series of flashbacks showed some of their darkest times together, including that time he took a mysterious phone call in the vineyards during a cast trip to California in 2012. She continued, “I remember when I first got married to Joe everything was great, and I truly do not want to hurt him, but sometimes you just can’t get over what happened and you need to move on”.
Later that night, after a gorgeous Italian dinner with daughter Gia, Milania, Audriana and Gabriella, Teresa and Joe sat down for a chat, one-on-one. “I want you to know how I feel, and I want you to tell me how you feel [before we leave]”, Teresa told Joe. “We haven’t been with each other in so long,” she added, before Joe said, “By the time we get used to each other, you’ll be gone.”
“I’m just saying, how do you see us with this whole situation?” Teresa asked. He suggested that they can get on planes often and see each other in various locations, whenever they want. But that didn’t satisfy Teresa. “I want somebody to be with me every single day,” she said.
“Listen,” he told her. “I can’t change what the present is, okay. I got an appeal going, and we still got a while before that.”
“So we’re both going to wait?” she asked. He said, “I don’t know. Maybe it’ll make our relationship stronger,” before he started twirling the wine in his glass, which irritated Teresa. “Stop swishing your wine … I’m trying to talk to you.”
She continued, “The past five years have been really dark. You’ve said a lot of hurtful things to me like you wish you never married me and all this other stuff. It just makes me think about some things, like you marry someone and they’re supposed to protect you. It’s just, I don’t know, I trusted you and then you made s*** happen.”
“[Teresa], s*** happens to everybody,” he shot back. “Are you out of your mind? My crime was a bogus crime. People don’t even do time for that kind of crap. So let’s just forget about it. It’s in the past.”
She then told him, “Listen, I haven’t been the same since.” But he told her not to blame him. “Do you think I want our marriage to fall apart?” he asked. She said she understood it, but still felt upset, so he asked, “Do you just want to end [our marriage]?”
“Do you want me to lie to you?” she asked.
“It’s so infuriating to me. After four years of us both doing time, he still does not take responsibility for what he has done. He hasn’t changed”, she said in a private confessional.
“I guess that’s it,” Joe then said, before they hugged and said goodbye to each other. “No matter what, I want you to be happy endlessly,” Teresa told Joe. He then went to spend the night with their daughters.
After her alarm clock went off at three in the morning, Teresa revealed in a confessional, “I’m not ready to tell the girls that things are over between me and my father. We’re still going to fight the appeal and there’s a chance Joe might still come back to America. But I’m jut really happy that Joe is out and free and my daughters are reunited with their dad. Even if they’re definitely going to have to get on a plane to see him. This is not the end, so that’s how I want my daughters to feel. The past five years, we’ve been through a lot and of course, I put everyone else’s needs before mine. But hopefully now that this chapter’s closed, I can start thinking about what makes Teresa happy.”
Want more? New episodes of The Real Housewives of New Jersey air Wednesdays at 8pm on Bravo.