RHONJ's Teresa Giudice and Joe Giudice Finalize Divorce After 20 Years of Marriage
"Joe and Teresa are in an amazing place and are very supportive of one another," a source says
The Real Housewives of New Jersey stars have finalized their divorce, PEOPLE can confirm.
"Joe and Teresa are in an amazing place and are very supportive of one another," a source says. "They still have love for each other, they just aren't in love with each other."
The source adds that neither Joe nor Teresa is actively dating. Teresa also listed her listed the family's mansion in Towaco, New Jersey, for sale on Thursday.
Childhood sweethearts, Teresa, 48, and Joe, 50, wed in 1999 and were married for 20 years before announcing their separation in December 2019. The pair share four children: Gia, 19, Gabriella, 16, Milania, 14, and Audriana, almost 11.
Vikki Ziegler, a top New Jersey divorce attorney and mediator, and former Bravo television personality known for Untying The Knot, has effectively assisted the Guidices in mediating their entire marital matter to conclusion. Vikki calls it "Mindful Mediation."
“I am so proud of Joe and Teresa for working together and resolving all of their matrimonial issues through the mediation process," Ziegler said in a statement. "Despite the pandemic and difficulty of Joe residing in Italy full time, with the use of technology, the couple was able to work together for the best interests of their children to come to terms on all open topics relative to their marriage. Mediation saved them time and additional money fighting a battle in Court that could have taken years to resolve."
PEOPLE broke the news that they were splitting in December. At the time, a source close to the pair said that the two weren’t exploring divorce proceedings yet and were instead focusing their kids.
But on the third part of the RHONJ season 10 reunion that aired in March, Teresa’s brother Joe Gorga and costars encouraged her to hurry things up, over fears that Joe would seek spousal support if she waited too long.
The former couple had a prenup, Teresa has said, with a no-cheat clause that would void it should either of them stray. (Rumors have long spread that Teresa and Joe had been unfaithful during their time together, but both have denied those).
“I’ve been talking to her and pushing her, like, ‘When are you getting a divorce?’ ” Gorga said. “Send him the papers, sign!”
Though Teresa insisted her ex was “not that type” and “[wouldn’t] come after anything,” she said she was “working on” the divorce papers but that “it seems like [Joe’s] procrastinating.”
Joe and Teresa’s divorce marks the end of turbulent few years for the reality stars.
The Giudice’s legal problems began in July 2013, when they were both indicted on federal fraud charges. Each were accused of exaggerating their income while applying for loans before RHONJ debuted, then hiding their improved fortunes in a bankruptcy filing. Joe was also accused of failing to file tax returns between 2004 and 2008.
They pled guilty to mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud in October 2014. In addition to probation and fines, Teresa was sentenced to 15 months in prison, while Joe was sentenced to 41 months.
Teresa’s term began first, on Jan. 5, 2015. She was released from federal prison in December 2015 after serving 11 months.
He then began his sentence for the same crimes in March 2016 and was released three years later. But months before that, a court ordered Joe’s deportation, as he was born in Italy and never obtained American citizenship despite living in the United States since he was a child.
While appealing the decision, Joe moved into the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Clinton County Correctional Center in Pennsylvania. He remained there until October 2019, when he moved to Italy in an effort to make money for his family.
Two appeals against the ruling have been denied, while a third final appeal is still pending.
The likelihood of that passing is slim, Giudice family lawyer James J. Leonard, Jr. said in a December episode of RHONJ. “He’s in trouble,” Leonard said. “I think the odds are against Joe at this stage … Immigration is the hottest topic on the planet and I think Joe is caught in the crossfire of that.”
Over the years, Teresa and Joe stood strong through their legal troubles, each declaring that their marriage would remain in tack.
But Teresa would eventually admit she changed her tune during Joe’s years away. She first opened up about those feelings in her 2017 novel Standing Strong, and later on RHONJ — saying that she blamed him for their run-in with the law and for taking away precious time she could have spent with her mother Antonia Gorga, who died in March 2017 after a battle with pneumonia at age 66.
It also didn’t help that Joe was often bitter towards Teresa, especially in the months he spent living in an ICE facility. Fans got to see that behavior during season 10, where Joe made a number of shocking comments towards Teresa, including the fact that he didn’t want to even get married to her before they said their “I dos” all those years ago, and the fact that he now “felt nothing” towards her.
“There’s a lot of resentment that I’m going through,” Teresa said on the RHONJ season 10 finale, filmed in November when she and Joe reunited in Italy and agreed to separate. “He was supposed to be my protector, but he let me down.”
“I haven’t been happy with Joe for a long time,” she admitted. “I remember when I first got married to him everything was great. And I truly do not want to hurt him but sometimes you just can’t get over what happens and you just need to move on.”
Since then, the pair have showed plenty of support for one another in loving comments on social media.
And despite the fact that they didn’t have a happy ending, Teresa has stressed that the two had a loving marriage throughout the 20 years they were together — no matter what those tense moments caught on camera might look like.
“I was not unhappy,” she said at the RHONJ season 10 reunion. “I’m telling you the only way he spoke to me like that was on the show. He would like, try to act like this macho guy. I don’t know what it was, but behind the scenes, he was good to me. He didn’t treat me bad ’cause then I would have never stayed.”
“We had a great, great marriage,” Teresa added.
According to the source, Joe is appearing telephonically and via Facetime from Italy on season 11 of RHONJ, which is currently in production. Their lives together and apart willp lay out on this season.
“This is a family that has endured a tremendous amount of pain and sadness over the last several years, much of which has played out publicly, both on television and in the media," Leonard says. "Today’s news, while bittersweet, is full of optimism and promise for both of their futures. They will remain in each other’s lives and are completely amicable and focused on their four amazing daughters and being supportive of one another as they embark on their separate journeys toward happiness.”
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