If you thought you'd seen it all from Teresa Giudice, you clearly haven't seen the Season 8 premiere of Real Housewives of New Jersey. In the episode, Teresa is honest like she's never been before - being completely open with her grief over her mother's death and her anger at her husband Joe for the legal situation he put the family in. (Joe is currently serving a 41-month sentence for multiple offenses including bankruptcy fraud. Teresa finished serving an 11-and-a-half month sentence in 2015.)
Teresa's transparency regarding her questions over her marriage's future definitely shocked some of her fellow Housewives. So what does Teresa have to say about her relationship with Joe, her refusal to hide her family's struggles from the cameras and, of course, her decision to bring Danielle Staub back into the fold? See what she revealed to TV Guide below!
The season premiere starts off with the news of your mom's death, and you were very open with your grief and even let the show film at the funeral. Was it hard to be so vulnerable about such a personal issue on such a public platform?
Yes. The death of my mom was very devastating to me and my family. When they were at the funeral, it's not like I was mic'd or anything. That was something that I didn't even know was going on, but my brother wanted them to film it so we could always look back on it. That was something that was his doing and I was fine with it. But we didn't have microphones on or anything.
Between everything your family has gone through in recent years, including Joe's current prison sentence, it's been a really tough few years for your family. How has it been having to film during all of these difficult times?
Giudice: I never in a million years expected to lose my mom. Like, ever. I remember watching Vicki from [Real Housewives of O.C.] and saying, oh my god, how could she do this with her -- I mean [her mother's death] happened on the show. And I swear, when that happened to her last year and I said that and then this happened to me this year. So I never imagined this happening, but it did. And I have to say the girls on the show, they did help me get through it -- just working, kept my mind busy -- because otherwise I think I would have just crumbled.
Do you hope that allowing the show to chronicle your life during these times will help other people deal with their own grief by seeing how you cope as an inspiration?
Yes. That's what I'm doing. I'm standing strong. I'm hoping that I empower other women and help other women to stay strong also.
In light of everything your family has gone through in recent years, how has your perception of your participation in Real Housewives changed -- is it more of a blessing or a curse at this point?
Giudice: I mean, if you asked me that this year, I would say blessing. Past years, curse. It started off as fun, curse, blessing, I would say.
Why is it a blessing this year?
I'm torn this year because it was a very hard season for me to film because of the loss of my mom. Like I said before, if it wasn't for the girls, for their support in helping me through it and keeping me busy, I would have probably crumbled because my mom was my life. She meant everything to me. After I stopped filming the season, it really hit me even harder because then I did have a lot more time to think and it was a process to start it all over again. It was weighing deeply on me -- which, you know, it still is. But I think if it had happened when it had first happened, if I wasn't working or filming with the other girls, I probably would have crumbled.
The dinner in Boca during the premiere was really the first time on the show that you expressed a lot of anger over your marriage and the situation Joe put your family in. What was going through your head in that moment?
Giudice: What made me become angry was when I lost my mom, that I lost those 11-and-a-half months. When I was away for those 11-and-a-half months I felt like I should have been with my mom because I lost her. The passing of my mom brought all the anger out of me and I became really upset at Joe. Like, why did you do this to us?
The women all seemed pretty shocked by what you said about your marriage at that dinner and Dolores even said she used to think you'd never leave Joe, but now she isn't so sure. What would you say to those people in your life who doubt whether you and Joe will stay together?
Giudice: I am waiting for Joe until he comes home and hopefully, you know, new beginnings. He said things are going to be different and I'm looking forward to that, but I'm not a psychic. I can't predict the future. I will never predict the future again because if you were to ask me when we first started doing the show, "Would you ever think that you would go to prison?" I would have said, "No, no way!" And then look, I did. So I don't know what the future holds. Whatever's meant to be is going to be.
Between the show and your recent memoir [Standing Strong], you have been very public about your anger with Joe. Did you talk to your daughters ahead of time to prepare them for this?
Giudice: Yes. Gia will probably be the only one that reads it. I have talked to them a little bit about it. But like I said, Gia will probably be the only one to read it. If the other girls read it then I'm sure we'll go deeper in that conversation, but I feel like they're a little too young right now.
Based on the season preview, it looks as though the rumors that you have a secret boyfriend or cheated on Joe are going to come up on the show. How did you react when those allegations were being made on TV and by people who are close to you?
Giudice: Well, did you see the preview? That's how I reacted. Stay tuned and then you'll see how it finished.
You were the one who brought Danielle back into the show and into your life. Why did you decide to give Danielle a second chance, and did you have any reservations about resurrecting a relationship with her?
Well, I brought her back because I reached out to her because when I was away I just thought about that her job was taken away from her [when she was fired from the show after Season 2] -- but not by my doing, from the other Housewives not wanting to film with her. And now, being a single mom, I thought that was not right. They should have never done that. I felt bad for her. She was a single mom trying to raise two daughters and her job was taken away from her. And I just reached out to her wanting her to know that because now I'm a single mom, and I just wanted her to know that there were never any ulterior feelings towards her and I just wanted her to know that I was not a part of that. I always wanted her to come back. And you know, I never really got to know her because there were people in her ear, there were people in my ear that kept us apart. But this year you'll see, from watching the season, you'll see how our friendship grows.
Things with Danielle were very calm and drama-free in the premiere. How long can we expect that to last?
Giudice: You need to tune in and watch! Listen, I think people don't just make up drama to make it up. There's something said to a person that triggers that and that's when you see a reaction, so I think that's how life is.
There was some drama in the premiere after you started the cake throwing at Melissa's birthday, which Siggy got extremely upset over. Do you think it really was that big of a deal?
Giudice: Not at all. No. Not at all. That's the thing to do, you throw a little birthday cake in someone's face. Then Melissa, she grabs it and throws it in my hair. She got me pissed off so then I pick it up and then I was getting her back because she threw the cake in my hair... Did you see how she threw it at my head? Did you see that? I was like, "oh my god! You're going to do it that hard?" So then I was trying to get her back.
Even though you and Melissa were joking around there, it definitely felt like there was a little tension between you. And then in the season trailer, we see that you do say Melissa is only a Gorga by marriage. How tense is it going to get between you and Melissa this season?
Well, you're going to have to tune in to see. But no, listen, I just want peace with my family. That's what sisters always do. We nitpick here and there, but it's never go to that dark place ever again. So that's one thing I can say for sure.
In your book, you expressed your hope that Season 8 will be the one season where you can just sit back and enjoy. Did that wish come true?
Giudice: You're going to have to watch and you'll see. I mean, it was a hard season for me and I still feel like I haven't had my "aha moment" on the show. Meaning, I haven't enjoyed it yet. So maybe Season 9 that will happen.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo.