Teresa Giudice made her return to reality TV Sunday night on Bravo’s new special “Real Housewives of New Jersey: Teresa Checks In.” The show allowed viewers to get a glimpse of Joe Giudice’s daily life since his wife began a 15-month prison sentence in January. Although Teresa, 43, was not physically on the show, she checked in several times via telephone, sharing shocking details about her prison stay with viewers and her family. Below are nine must-see moments from part one of the “RHONJ” special:
According to E! Online, Teresa is granted unlimited access to her email account while behind bars. She utilizes it to send detailed instructions to her husband and daughters about how things should be run. For example, during the episode, she facilitates not one but two big bashes down to the smallest details.
Although she is free to email Joe, 43, and the girls whenever she likes, Teresa is given just 300 minutes of phone time per month. To “RHONJ: Teresa Checks In” viewers, it may have seemed as though Joe’s home phone was ringing off the hook with constant calls from his wife. However, the limitations leave her with an average of just 10 minutes per day to use a prison phone.
Early in “RHONJ: Teresa Checks In,” Joe tells viewers the Connecticut prison his wife is in is similar to a “low-budget spa.” A phone call from Teresa later in the episode, however, suggests otherwise. As was reported by People magazine, during one of her many calls home, she asks Joe to go into another room, then tells him she was strip-searched by guards who believed she was hiding a cell phone.
Joe shares with the cameras that Teresa frequently updates him on the many sexual relationships within the prison. During one conversation she says she “has to close her ears at night” to get any sleep.
Joe, now the sole parent and provider for his four daughters, does not have a driver’s license due to a previous arrest that resulted in a suspension. He is forced to rely on family members, including “RHONJ” co-stars Joe and Melissa Gorga (Teresa's brother and sister-in-law), to get his daughters from place to place.
While Joe Giudice does occasionally look to Joe Gorga, 36, and Melissa, 36, the pair revealed that they would like to do more for the Giudices.
Getting around town isn’t the only struggle Joe is facing. He says during the hourlong special that he hasn’t been able to sleep in his bedroom since Teresa went to prison.
Oldest daughter Gia Giudice, who was first introduced to viewers as a spunky youngster on “RHONJ,” has, at 14, grown into an independent and mature young woman. Her interest in boys is presenting new challenges for her father. During “RHONJ: Teresa Checks In,” viewers see Joe preparing her for her first school dance, providing strict guidelines on how close she's allowed to be to boys while slow dancing.
Because she is the oldest, Gia has been afforded several unique responsibilities. During the episode, viewers learn she is the only one of Teresa’s daughters who knows she’s in prison. She's also the one Teresa looks to to send tweets to her fans.
After “RHONJ: Teresa Checks In” aired, Joe Giudice and Joe Gorga appeared alongside one another on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” where they revealed even more details about Teresa’s prison stay. Joe Giudice told host Andy Cohen he has finally gone back to sleeping in his room after several months on the couch. He also revealed that Melissa has not visited Teresa in prison and that, although his wife has made good with a majority of her “RHONJ” cast mates, he only hears from Rino Aprea and Dina Manzo.
Teresa Giudice will be released from prison in December, allowing her to be home for the holidays. She will serve out the remainder of her sentence under house arrest. (Joe Giudice will then begin serving his 41-month prison sentence; he and his wife were convicted of wire and bankruptcy fraud.) Despite these restrictions, Teresa will be featured on Season 7 of “RHONJ.” Bravo has not announced when the show will return.
Part 2 of "Real Housewives of New Jersey: Teresa Checks In" airs Sunday, Oct. 18, at 9:30 p.m. EDT on Bravo.