Joe Giudice on Wife Teresa's Jail Time: 'I Was to Blame I Was Supposed to Go Away, Not Her'

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star broke his silence on the Today show


While Teresa Giudice completes her prison sentence, her husband Joe Giudice is opening up about the couple pleading guilty in 2014 to multiple counts of fraud.

In a one-on-one interview taped in the Giudice home with the Today show’s Tamron Hall that aired on Wednesday, Joe discussed the Real Housewives of New Jersey family’s legal troubles.

“I was to blame, sure,” Joe, 43, said when Hall asked if Teresa had taken a fall for his actions. “I took full responsibility for everything, but they still put her away.”

As for whether he feels guilty, Joe said, “absolutely.”

“I was supposed to go away, not her,” he said. “That was part of the plea, or I thought anyway. I don’t know what happened in the courtroom that day.”

Teresa, who was sentenced in October 2014, began her jail time Jan. 5. When Teresa is freed around Christmas, Joe will head to prison for his own 41-month sentence for the fraud charges, and a concurrent 12 months for failing to file a tax return in 2004.

“I feel like somebody just snapped my neck,” Joe said of the moment he found out about their sentences. “I felt the pain, the chill going down my spine. I couldn’t believe it.”

The reality stars are parents to four daughters: Gia, 14, Gabriella, 11, Milania, 9, and Audriana, 6.

Joe said he doesn’t often think about his upcoming sentence: “If you do that, you’re just going to drive yourself crazy.”

“I’m not saying I didn’t do anything wrong or illegal, but there were definitely people behind, talking to them and telling them we did this and telling them we did that to bring it to their attention. And you know, being in the public eye didn’t help,” Joe continued, adding that “of course it’s not worth it” but “why it happened” he doesn’t know.

“I was just signing my name. I would never fill out anything,” Joe added. “I wasn’t an accountant, I wasn’t a mortgage person, I wasn’t a banker.”

Of the tabloid rumors that he went on a date with another woman while his wife sat in prison, Joe said, “I don’t date anybody. I don’t go on dates. None of that is true.”

Since Joe is not a U.S. citizen, he faces possible deportation when he finishes his prison term. When Hall touched on the issue, an emotional Joe fell silent and would not answer the question of whether he is afraid of being deported.

Joe’s life at home with the four Giudice daughters was chronicled on a three-part reality special set to premiere Sunday.

On a recent preview of the Bravo spinoff, titled The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Teresa Checks In, the eldest Giudice daughter gets emotional while calling her mom in prison.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Teresa Checks In

premieres Sunday (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.

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