Teresa Giudice opened up in her first interview since being released from federal prison.’The Real Housewives of New Jersey’ star spoke out in a television appearance on ‘GMA’ about prison conditions and how she survived, what she envisions for her future and more.
The 41-year-old reality TV star and New York Times bestselling author of three cookbooks spent nearly a year at Danbury Federal Correctional Institution, a minimum-security prison in Danbury, Connecticut. She was released last December. She served 11 months of a 15-month sentence, after which she served time under house arrest and now is currently on probation.
The story of the arrest alongside husband Joe Giudice and the initial 39-count federal indictment was an explosive story playing out for months in the typical media-circus fashion. Giudice pleaded guilty to 41 charges including conspiracy to commit bankruptcy and mail fraud. Her husband is set to begin a 41-month sentence in March and, as a non-U.S. citizen could possibly face deportation to Italy upon his release.
Now Teresa Giudice has a newly published memoir entitled ‘Turning The Tables’ and is speaking out on ‘Good Morning America’ in her first interview. She spoke with ABC News’ Amy Robach in a pre-recorded interview in her New Jersey home, while under house arrest, and later in a live interview at the GMA Times Square Studio.
As for the crime and conviction, she said, “I didn’t know I was committing a crime. The government saw differently. I got sentenced. I got served time. I did what I had to do and now I’m moving past it.”
Asked how it felt to leave her husband and her four daughters behind to serve her time behind bars, she said, “It broke my heart. I was always growing up the good girl. Always did everything right.”
Giudice spoke about the conditions at the Danbury facility saying, “It was no country club, trust me. I mean there was mold in the bathrooms. There was not running water constantly. The showers were freezing cold. I mean, the living conditions were really horrible. Like, horrible. “There were some nights that we didn’t even have heat.” She went on to say, “It was hell. It was definitely living in hell.”
She said that being away from her daughters was the worst part. She went on to speak about her day-to-day life, saying, “I had a job in the kitchen. I wiped tables after breakfast. Three days a week, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. That was my job. I loved my job.” She said that she was paid 12 cents an hour and that her first paycheck was $1.60.”
She went on to speak about how yoga was crucial for her during her stint, saying, “Yoga changed my life. I’m going to get certified in yoga.”
She spoke highly of her fellow inmates and said, “You know, anytime anybody new comes, we all help each other. So I was given stuff, which was nice, when I first got there.”
But she did go on to open up about the reality of prison life. She said it “was nothing like being on ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey.’” She went on to elaborate and added, “That’s all there is, is drama. And I never lived with so many women in my life before.” She said the inmates “thrive on drama,” adding, “It was crazy to me.”
She also was asked about why she continued to seek out the public spotlight, now that she was out of prison and she said “It’s my life now. It’s what I know.”
Reflecting upon the media frenzy that went on in the months leading up to her conviction, she said, “Unfortunately during this crazy time — this legal situation — that’s where the paparazzi came around a lot more.” She expressed hope that in the future the paparazzi would be there “for happy times and for happy things that’ll be going on.”
And yes, she will very much be in the spotlight as she continues on ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’ when the show begins its seventh season. You can see the full interview with Teresa Giudice below.
Pictures: PR Photos