We first heard of Teresa Giudice back in 2009 when she became one of the original Real Housewives of New Jersey. Standing out from the beginning, she became known for infamously flipping a table on a rival housewife, her traditional Italian family with her husband 'juicy' Joe and their four daughters, and for her bestselling cooking and lifestyle books (with six published so far).
But Teresa gained notoriety back in 2014 when she and her husband entered a guilty plea of 41 counts of fraud with federal prosecutors. Teresa served almost a year in Danbury Federal Correctional Institution before being released in December 2015. Joe is now serving his own 41-month prison sentence which began in March 2016.
Teresa told us she is keen to move on from this incredibly difficult time but that her time away did lead her to discover a major new passion in life – yoga.
“I did what I had to do. I did my time. I took my responsibility and now it is time to move on. I want to focus on positive things now," she said.
“I’m a certified yoga instructor now. I got into when I went to prison. Yoga definitely helped me get through my time in prison. I just did yoga every day and it made my body feel amazing and even my mind and then it led me to start meditating – the whole thing was just really incredible.
"Whoever hasn’t tried yoga you really need to because it does the body good and the mind good!”
Since getting out of jail, Teresa has returned to The Real Housewives of New Jersey, published two new books and said she’s also keen to start writing novels.
“I want to start writing novels and fiction. I also want to do a fashion line and keep up with my hair product line, I just keep on going!” she said.
However, its been far from a bed of roses. Not only is Joe now serving time, making Teresa the sole breadwinner of the family, but she tragically lost her mother just this year after a short battle with pneumonia.
“I just lost my mom, it was very, very hard for me and terrible but I have to say that the women on the show did help me as they kept me so busy otherwise I might have crumbled.
“I’m keeping it together for my four daughters, and now I have my dad living with me, my 74-year-old dad, I have to stay strong for my daughters and my dad. Have to keep it together and stay strong,” Teresa said.
And Teresa said she’s turning a new leaf on the new series of Real Housewives of New Jersey. With a new tagline of “If you’re not about the namaste, get the hell out of my way,” there’s going to be less drama and more compassion.
She’s even reached out to her former Real Housewife nemesis, Danielle Staub (who she infamously flipped a table on and called a “prostitution whore”) and the two went to yoga class together. Danielle will even be re-joining the new series as Teresa’s friend.
“You know I had people in my ear, she had people in her ear, so this season you will see our friendship grow. I feel like she never got a fair chance. There were other housewives that decided they didn’t want to work with her then she got the job of being on the show taken away from her.
"Being a single mom that was hard, I would have never done that to her, that’s why I reached out to her, I wanted to know that it wasn’t me, and that I wanted her back on the show. She never got a fair chance to speak her mind or tell me how it really was and now she’s back! You will see our friendship grow,” Teresa said of Danielle’s dramatic return.
She’s also on much better terms with her sister-in-law and fellow Real Housewife, Melissa Gorga, who’s she’s had more than a few disagreements with in past seasons.
“We will always have some disagreements, playfights but it will never go back to that ugly place – I will never allow that for my mom and dad and for my children.”
Teresa concluded that in the past she’d been reluctant to talk about her true feelings and covered up much of her angst regarding her family’s struggles. But in the new series, we’ll be seeing a lot more of the real Teresa.
“I do open up more this season which everyone is going to be shocked about. I do open up about my emotions more. Everyone is like wow I haven’t seen this side to Teresa before!”
Stream The Real Housewives of New Jersey Season 8 Thursdays on Hayu, reality on demand.
Season 8 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey will return to Lifetime BT channel 329/384 HD.