Nearly four months after his wife Teresa Giudice began her 15-month prison sentence, "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Joe Giudice is opening up fore the first time. The 42-year-old recently sat down with Extra to discuss Teresa's life behind bars, what it's like raising four girls on his own, and more. Joe revealed that Teresa's incarceration -- which was the result of multiple fraud charges -- hasn't been easy on him or his daughters, but he said they are coping and have been made stronger for going through the experience.
"You know what I mean... when you have four kids you have to stay strong," Joe told Extra's cameras.
Joe has been standing in as both mother and father to the couple's four daughters since Teresa entered prison Jan. 5. Teresa's sister-in-law and "Housewives" co-star Melissa Gorga recently appeared on an episode of Bravo's "What What Happens Live" hosted by Andy Cohen, during which she revealed that Joe has been "doing what he has to do" for his girls. She noted that he has stepped up, doing all the things Teresa was once responsible for. Melissa later revealed that she frequently tries to help the family, but is constantly pushed away by Joe and Teresa's mother. She also claimed she has not seen or spoken to her sister-in-law since she turned herself in.
"No, I think she's keeping her visits for her children," Melissa said when asked if she's seen Teresa in prison during an appearance on "Good Day New York." "I think she's going to want every visit to be with her children."
Joe supported this thinking, revealing to Extra that he and the girls have tried to visit the reality-TV star and best-selling cookbook author almost every weekend at the Connecticut prison she currently calls home. He said they are also in regular email contact. He assured viewers that, although she's in prison, Teresa makes sure to keep up with her glamorous routine, adding that during one visit he and the girls had to wait while she got ready to visit with them.
"She made us wait an hour to make her hair, to do her hair," he said. "That was a little annoying."
Joe said the 42-year-old is adjusting well to life on the inside. She regularly visits the gym and gets her hair and nails done. He also told viewers she's found a tight knit group of friends with whom she does everything.
"She's got a little group she hangs out with and does her thing with every day, and who get goes to the gym with...and who does her hair and who does her nails," he said.
While he is currently a free man, Joe is slated to begin his own 41-month prison sentence upon Teresa's release. Joe was found guilty on similar charges to those his wife is currently serving time for, plus a few additional charges. The judge agreed to allow the couple to stagger their sentences, allowing at least one parent to be home with their kids at all times. Although they are technically convicted felons, Joe insists that he and his wife are "not bad people."
"We're not, you know, these criminals or whatever," he said. "I don't know, whatever the h--l they make us out to be."
While Joe is busy acting as a single father and Teresa pushes to get through her sentence as fast as possible, filming for the next season of Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" is rumored to be starting again soon. It was widely believed production would wait for the Giudices, or at least Teresa, to get out of prison to begin Season 6. Now, however, reports are claiming that the show will move forward without them, with Melissa taking Teresa's position as head housewife. Joe further supported these rumors, saying their participation in the show would come at a hefty price.
"The numbers would have to be very big in order to go back, so we'll see," he revealed. "As of right now there's nothing."
It was widely believed that Tiki Barber's wife, Traci Lynn Johnson, would be joining the show's cast. Those rumors have not yet been confirmed. There is no known release date for the sixth season of the popular series.
Joe's interview airs tonight on Extra. Check your local listings for air times and networks.