On Watch What Happens Live, Andy Cohen hosted his favorite New Jersey Housewife, Teresa Giudice, in a one-on-one interview. Home from prison, Teresa is now pedaling her new book, Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again. Teresa finished house arrest last Friday, and is now free to roam New Jersey at will.
The night started with Andy sitting on the set alone, then he introduced Teresa. But the clubhouse wasn’t made for grand entrances. Wearing an orange-red jumpsuit, she walked in from the back of the room, making her way through the tight, small crowd. She wore the jumpsuit for Andy, but in the big house, she didn’t wear orange. “I wore greens. My color was green.”
Andy revealed that two weeks prior to her prison stint, he and Teresa met up for lunch, where she seemed “unprepared” for the months ahead. Teresa admits she was in denial about the whole thing.
“I was exactly like you said, focusing on the moment… I felt like I was dying. In reality, that’s how I felt. I wanted to just…every weekend do something special with them. Especially my little baby. I didn’t want her to forget me. She was five years old at the time.”
Teresa describes her arrival to Danbury.
“When I first got there, I was pretty much numb…they strip search you. You have to bend down, cough…I felt humiliated. I get to my room, I met the other girls in my room. They were really nice.”
But the accommodations were lacking. Teresa claims her mattress was stained with urine and blood. At this point, Andy’s lips were twisted to one side of his mouth. I couldn’t tell if he was sympathetic or holding in a smirk, but I kind of suspected the latter.
He pointed out that Teresa compared Danbury to “a low budget spa.” Teresa said she was simply trying to keep husband, Joe, from worrying. Don’t worry, girl. I think all those bottles of wine and a lack of conscience keep Joe from worrying.
In the book, Teresa talks about all the lady loving that happened in jail. She called her cell the “boom boom room,” but didn’t reveal any details. Maybe tomorrow night on part two. Fingers crossed, am I right?
Not only did Teresa have a ringside seat to the sapphic lovefest, she also watched a hell of a lot of Bravo. And might her former roomies be viewing her now, at this very minute? Teresa sure hopes so! She blows an air kiss into the camera.
Finally, Andy got down to the real nitty gritty. Teresa has acted clueless about the reasons for her imprisonment. (Although seriously, she may not have been acting. Just saying.) Has that changed? Does she finally comprehend why she was charged and convicted?
Well…sort of. Like in a vague, non-comital, Teresaesque way.
“Yes. In the beginning, I didn’t understand just because I’d never been in trouble before. I didn’t understand the legal system. Believe it or not, once you get there, you become so knowledgeable in the legal system… But I know the reason why I was sent there.”
Teresa assures Andy she’s held herself accountable for her actions, but when pressed about them, she opened and closed her mouth like a fish and mumbled incoherently
Andy asked her clearly, “What did you do?”
“I signed papers without reading them. Before I ever do that again, I’m going to make sure whatever I put my John Hancock on, I understand fully before signing any other papers in the future. And I plead guilty to what I did. I got sentenced. I served eleven and a half months. I apologized to the judge…my restitution is paid, thank God.”
See what I mean? She still doesn’t own her part in the scam. All that “I signed papers” business is code for “Joe made me do it—blame him.”
And what about all those naysayers who didn’t think Teresa should be included in this new season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey? In other words, people like me.
“No one is perfect in life. We all fall down…now I’ve picked myself back up…[we should] pick each other up. I hope that’s what the world is going to do to me.”
And that shiny new Lexus SUV, waiting for Teresa on her release. In light of her financial double dealings, how does that look? Teresa, of course, had an answer that didn’t involve taking the blame in any way.
“My lease was up. I needed a car. Joe got me a new lease. He got me a Lexus…Lexus decided to put up that big red bow. They’re smart. They knew tons of paparazzi was going to be at my house, so they got a ton of press for that.”
In a futile attempt to get a sensible answer, Andy spoke slowly, asking if she understood why having a new car—when she declared bankruptcy and couldn’t pay her bills—might appear improper?
It wasn’t her idea. And Joe, in turn, blamed the nice folks at Lexus for sticking a bow on there in the first place. I give up. Teresa isn’t just tone deaf; she’s steeped in denial. She and Joe have zero self-awareness—nothing new there.
So after her confinement, is Teresa more or less scared for Joe’s imprisonment?
“I’m more worried about Joe… I think women are stronger and different…they’ll just walk away from situations…”
I can only assume she’s talking about walking away from confrontation, and Andy must have thought the same thing because he asked if Teresa engaged in any fights during her time on the inside. “I didn’t, but I did see fights that would happen.”
Did anyone “goad” her, after seeing her fiery personality on TV? Teresa seemed confused by the word. “Like come after me?”
Andy clarified, “Pick fights with you.”
“Yeah, they did. I talked about certain situations that happen in my book. I wasn’t going to give anybody anything to ruin my good time. So there was no way…”
“No, not that kind of good time. Good time meaning stayng there longer…you take off good time.”
Ah! Time off for good behavior. Is “good time” a prison saying or a Teresa-ism? Anyone? Because I seriously want to know.
Teresa and her new friends watched Teresa Checks In every week. Andy showed a few clips as Teresa wiped the corner of her eye.
During her stay in Danbury, Teresa thought about her brother. She claims she’s no longer angry at Joe Gorga and wife, Melissa.
“When something like this happens…from now on I want to live every day like it’s my last day. Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
This isn’t a life-changing attitude, it’s bumper sticker philosophy. But I didn’t expect any more from Teresa. I’m not sure she’s capable of digging that deep.
In all those months, she never communicated with Melissa.
“When I left, obviously things weren’t the greatest between Melissa and I. I just…you’ll see on the show…I really didn’t want to spend five hours sitting with Melissa and chatting with her in the visiting room… Listen, to me family means the world to me. I love my brother. I love Melissa. I love my nieces and nephews. I want them in my life.”
In her book, Teresa acknowledged a lot of the other Housewives, but left out Jacqueline Laurita.
“While I was there, I didn’t hear from her. When I left we weren’t speaking…we left on bad…you know…I haven’t really spoken to her in, like, three years.”
Andy played clips of some other Housewives reacting to Teresa‘s conviction. Bethenny Frankel thought it was stupid to go on reality TV with so many skeletons in the closet. Teresa objected. “If I did have skeletons in my closet, I would have never came [sic] on the show.”
Andy called that “debatable.” Ouch.
Did Teresa become resentful of her husband?
“No, I didn’t. You know what, Andy, he took responsi…I know…everyone is ‘don’t you blame Joe or divorce him’? I live with the man. I know he didn’t mean to harm me…he took responsibility. The government saw it a different way…what else can we do?”
The tabloids reported that Joe cheated. Does Teresa believe the rumors?
“I saw them [the tabloids]. The girls would get their magazines. One of them…one of our friends…Joe was down in AC with him…made him take a picture with this blonde, which was a friend of his and then sold the story. He was having money problems.”
So Joe was a victim of circumstances? Again? Andy pressed further, asking whether the claims of cheating had any validity.
“Look, Andy, I think by now you know me. If I didn’t want to be with Joe, I wouldn’t be with Joe.”
Tomorrow night, Teresa will supposedly answer viewer’s questions. But getting anything of substance out of Teresa is an impossible task, so don’t get your hopes up, kittens.
What do you think? Is Teresa really remorseful? And should she still be on RHONJ?
I’m a fiction writer by day and a reality TV addict by night.