Joe Giudice Smiles After ICE Release in First Photo in Over 3 Years

On Friday, the Real Housewives of New Jersey star was freed from ICE custody and flew to Rome

Joe Giudice‘s daughters are showing their love as their father leaves ICE custody and travels to Italy.

On Friday, PEOPLE confirmed that the Real Housewives of New Jersey star, 47, was freed from ICE custody and flew to Rome, where he will continue to appeal his deportation order. The same day as his release, Joe’s daughters shared sweet photos of their dad on social media.

The father of four’s eldest daughter Gia Giudice, posted a throwback photo of herself giving her father a hug.

“Facetime you soon daddy❤️🙏🏻,” Gia, 18, captioned the adorable post.

Meanwhile, Gia’s sister Milania Giudice, 14, shared a family photo of Joe and his daughters to her Instagram Story, writing, “love you forever ❤️.”

Gia Guidice and family
Gia Giudice/Instagram

On Saturday morning, Gia shared an update, posting a screenshot of a FaceTime conversation with Joe to her Instagram Story.

“One of the happiest moments of my life!” she captioned the image, which is the first new photo of Joe that has been shared in over three years. “Love you so much daddy, so happy your [sic] free! see you so soon ❤️❤️.”

Joe and wife Teresa Giudice also share daughters Gabriella, 15, and Audriana, 10.

Gia and Joe Guidice
Gia Giudice/Instagram

After Joe was released on Friday, his lawyer James J. Leonard Jr. told PEOPLE in a statement that he called Teresa and Gia from the European-bound plane.

“He is en route to Italy right now. He spoke to Teresa and Gia from the plane and he is extremely happy to be released, more than words can describe,” Leonard said.

He added that they will continue to appeal Joe’s deportation order while he is in Italy: “We are still fighting and it is his desire to return home to the United States to be reunited with his family.”

Later in the day on Friday, after speaking with her husband, Teresa, 47, shared a photo of the Statue of Liberty crying with her face in her hands, captioning the post with a string of praying hand emojis.

Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

Until Friday, Joe was being held at at the Clinton County Correctional Center in Pennsylvania, where he was sent after serving a 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud. He was released last March, and an immigration court ruled to deport Joe last October.

Joe originally requested to be released from the correctional center to his home with Teresa and their kids in New Jersey, but that request was denied. He followed up with a petition filed in September to instead be released to Italy, which was granted earlier this month.

His lawyers said in documents previously obtained by PEOPLE that the father of four was hoping to be released from custody so that he could work to make money for his family.

While Joe has been dealing with his deportation drama, life has continued for Teresa and the girls. Teresa recently attended a football game at Rutgers University with Gia, where she is a student, and the family celebrated Gabriella’s 15th birthday last week.

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