'Jersey Shore' 's Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino Is Embracing 'Every Minute' of Life After Prison

The reality star, who pled guilty to one count of tax evasion, completed an eight-month sentence this month

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is more grateful than ever for his freedom.

In his first interview since his release from prison earlier this month, the Jersey Shore star reflected on how his perspective on life has changed since he completed an eight-month sentence after pleading guilty to one count of tax evasion.

“I definitely feel like I’m a changed man,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “Oh my God, to be a free man, to be honest with you, it’s awesome. It’s fantastic. I have my beautiful wife next to me. I’m healthy, I’m sober, back at work with my best friends on the number-one show on MTV and just living the dream.”

"Jersey Shore Family Vacation" Global Premiere - Arrivals
Phillip Faraone/FilmMagic

Sorrentino, 37, and his brother Marc were indicted in September 2014 for tax offenses and conspiring to defraud the United States after allegedly failing to properly pay taxes on $8.9 million in income from 2010 to 2012. In April 2017, both men were indicted on additional charges including tax evasion, structuring and falsifying records.

Sorrentino pled guilty to one count of tax evasion in January 2018, and Marc pled guilty to one count of aiding in the preparation of a false and fraudulent tax return. In October 2018, Sorrentino was sentenced to eight months in prison and two years of supervised release, and Marc was sentenced to two years.

Sorrentino was also ordered to complete 500 hours of community service and was given $123,913 in restitution, which he had already paid, plus a fine of $10,000. He reported to the Otisville Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York on Jan. 15 and was released on Sep. 12.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, he said he missed his wife Lauren the most during his sentence.

“You sort of take your freedom for granted sometimes,” he said. “Once you get out, you are taking advantage [of] every minute. Every second, every meal, every conversation with my beautiful wife, with my friends. I love my job, so I am on such an awesome road and we are very excited to see what the future has to offer.”

Mike and Lauren Sorrentino. Mike "The Situation"Sorrentino/Instagram

And he’s proud of the way he held himself accountable for his actions.

“Our main goal throughout the whole process was to handle it with grace and class,” he said. “Not only for ourselves but to show the young generation out there how to handle adversity and move forward and continue to be the best, even if you make mistakes.”

“It’s a very uncomfortable situation from start to finish [but] it’s not the end of the world,” he continued. “I didn’t feel sorry for myself, but any time something good happened in our lives, I would be in my feels for that. I was very proud of the Jersey Shore: Family Vacation that was airing on TV … I was just proud of myself that, even under extreme stress and adversity, I was still able to do my job and do it well. And still able to earn an income while in prison.”

After his release, Sorrentino and his wife said to PEOPLE in a statement, “We are elated to finally close this chapter of our life. Thank you to our family, friends and fans for the continuous love and support during this time, it brought us so much peace and comfort. We look forward to continuing our life as husband and wife and working on baby situations!”

“We truly believe that the comeback is ALWAYS greater than the setback and we can’t wait to show the world ours,” they added.

Jersey Shore: Family Vacation airs Thursdays (8 p.m. ET) on MTV.

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