Teresa Giudice has spent much of this season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey focused on redemption after her 11-month stay in prison – even repairing strained relationships with former best friend Jacqueline Laurita and sister-in-law Melissa Gorga.
But the 44-year-old Turning Tables author isn’t ready to forgive and forget with just anyone.
On Sunday’s all-new episode, Giudice was at her book-singing at a local Barnes & Noble when she was confronted by her estranged cousins Kathy Wakile and Rosie Pierri. And she didn’t exactly greet them with open arms.
The New Jersey sisters were looking to mend previously broken fences, hoping they could be a part of Giudice’s life again. They also both felt frustrated after being cut out of family gatherings since Giudice’s return from prison and having text messages they sent to Giudice go ignored.
The silence appeared to hit Wakile especially hard, as her 21-year-old daughter Victoria was experiencing health complications after a previously treated brain tumor resurfaced.
“Every day is a gift,” Wakile told Housewife Dolores Catania when discussing her relationship with Giudice before the party. “Today Victoria fainted. Twice. This is not fair. And all this other b——- means nothing.”
She continued: “These are things that can be fixed. And when … you make peace with all the people you’ve had a problem with? That’s what true redemption is all about.”
“We are not here forever,” Pierri added. “She said things, we said things – who cares? Let’s move forward.”
Pierri was especially looking for closure – one way or the other.
“I would like my family to be mended. If we are going to have a family again, I would love it,” she said. “If you don’t want it, just say ‘You know what – you hurt me too much – I have no use for you – get the f— out of my life.’ ”
But even Catania thought it would be hard to end their longstanding feud. “When Italian people fight, it’s like a war that’s going on 100 years,” she said. “You don’t even remember why the war started, but you’re still not talking. It’s not getting fixed, it’s done.”
Jacqueline Laurita agreed. “I guess Teresa feels like she didn’t do anything wrong,” she said. “Maybe there’s more than I’m aware of, but I don’t think Teresa wants to talk about it.”
When the family members finally came face-to-face, each tried to play nice at first. Giudice greeted them with a smile, while Wakile and Pierri both congratulated the mother-of-four on her book and asked for her to sign their copies.
But while Giudice was willing to do that, she wasn’t so quick to meet them for lunch.
“My time is very precious now with Joe leaving soon,” Giudice said back. “For me, I’m putting my husband and my kids as priority.”
She was more frank with viewers, confessing to them, “My cousins never reached out to me while I was away. They said nasty things about me. Sorry if I’m not dying to go out to family members that stab me in the back.”
When the question of whether Giudice had received Wakile’s text messages surfaced, Giudice couldn’t say for sure.
“You know what, I got a new phone and then I ended up returning it. So I don’t know … ” she said. “I always like to answer my texes (sic). I don’t like to leave anybody hanging. ‘Cause then nobody has anything to say, you know?”
Pierri didn’t necessarily believe it, but she also didn’t care much. “I think she got the text. The excuse is b——-,” she told viewers. “But whatever – I’m there because I’m trying to show her that we do care for her and we want her to succeed.”
She was equally sincere with Joe Giudice, telling him how much she missed him and apologizing for harsh words she said about him on New Year’s Eve when she realized she wasn’t invited to his house.
Joe appeared open to forgiveness, telling her “It’s alright – sometimes you say stupid things” and embracing her as she told him she loved him and cared about him.
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But the 44-year-old quickly ran off to his wife and told her a different story, saying “Your cousin just came up and said something stupid and I said, ‘You know what – I could care less about this’ and I just left.”
“People got to get a life,” Teresa said, before rushing out without appearing to say goodbye to them.
The night didn’t seem to make Pierri feel any better. “I f—— admit I’m wrong and said I’m sorry and that’s all I can do,” she declared. “If you want to leave on a fucked up note, it’s b——-.”
“You guys are my cousins,” she told Teresa’s brother Joe Gorga. “Why are we distance apart? It breaks my heart. I cried four times this week.”
But it appeared, by episode’s end, she had come to some conclusion on how to move forward. “I’m not going to talk anymore,” she said. “I’m not going to cause any problems. I want all good things for my cousin Teresa.”
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.