"He'll eat those words," Teresa Giudice's friend Dolores Catania assured her, on Wednesday's Real Housewives of New Jersey
Teresa Giudice got vulnerable on Wednesday’s Real Housewives of New Jersey, as she considered the prospect of finding love after Joe Giudice.
In a candid conversation with costars Melissa Gorga, Dolores Catania, Margaret Josephs, Jackie Goldschneider and Jennifer Aydin, the Turning the Tables author recalled some emotional things Joe had told her in the past.
“He says the craziest things to me,” Teresa, 47, said. “Like, ‘Imagine we get divorced. Who would want you? You’ve got a lot of baggage.’ Like, I have four kids.”
His words resonated with Teresa, who admitted she felt that Joe was “kind of right.”
“I kind of do believe it,” she said.
Teresa’s fellow New Jersey Housewives were not having that, quickly rallying around her and offering her support.
“No, he’s not [right]. Don’t ever believe it. He’s saying it because he’s insecure,” said Melissa, who is married to Teresa’s brother, Joe Gorga. “He’s nuts. You’re a hot piece of ass!”
“He’ll eat those words,” added Catania. “Joe talks out of his ass, too. I know he doesn’t mean what he’s saying. I know he doesn’t mean that.”
Their kind words cheered Teresa up. “I was about to cry, but you guys are making me laugh,” she said. “I don’t want to cry anymore.”
Moments before, Joe had called Teresa, joking with Catania — while on speakerphone — about the possibility of her setting Teresa up with someone else.
“My wife is always complaining about me,” Joe said. “So I was like, ‘You know what, Dolores found a doctor.’ I go, ‘Why don’t you ask Dolores’ boyfriend to find my wife maybe a doctor and then me and her can have a relationship like you and [your ex-husband]?’ I think that’ll work out good!”
“I’m just trying to make you happy,” he told Teresa.
That didn’t sit well with her. “Oh you’re trying to make me happy!” she said, sarcastically. “So even if I marry a doctor you’re still gonna take care of me?”
“Maybe you can take care of me then?” he said.
Later, after the call, Teresa admitted that if she and Joe didn’t have children together, she wouldn’t be waiting for him.
She wasn’t ready to say goodbye to him just yet. “It just goes back and forth,” she said. “I have no idea, I don’t know. Listen, he always says, no matter what, I’m going to take care of you. But I haven’t been with him in so long, so I don’t know. … [And] I’ve never relied on a man for money. Before I met Joe, I was a buyer at Macy’s. I made a lot of money. And I signed a prenup totally fine. Like, I don’t want your s—!”
At the time Wednesday’s RHONJ scene went down, Joe was living in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement while he fought to appeal a judge’s deportation order.
The Giuidce patriarch has been living apart from Teresa and their children — daughters Gia, 19, Gabriella, 16, Milania, 15, and Audriana, 11 — since he reported to prison for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud in March 2016.
He had hoped to go home but was deported, having never obtained American citizenship after moving to the U.S. as a young child. Two deportation appeals have been denied so far. A third is still pending.
Teresa has said that living in ICE has been challenging for Joe, the tough conditions often impacting his mood.
“Am I okay? I’m going on 38 months in this crap!” Joe himself said, during a tense phone call to Teresa that aired in a November RHONJ episode. “They want to separate us now, we’re married 20 years. We got four kids, alright? They want to destroy four kids. I’m here now and I’m getting deported and that’s all there is to it. It’s over.”
“I don’t see anybody in here walking out. They’re all getting deported,” Joe added. “I’m over it. I’d rather be out and see you while I can than be sitting in this friggin’ junk hole. At this point, I don’t care where the hell I go. … I’m going to fight it out a little while later, and then I’m done. That’s it.”
Since then, Joe has been granted a request to live out his final appeal decision in his native Italy.
He moved there in October, and was visited by his girls and Teresa in November. The girls went back to see their dad over Christmas.
Teresa skipped out on the holiday visit, with PEOPLE announcing exclusively in December that the two had agreed to separate after 20 years of marriage.
“They discussed their future when Teresa and the girls went to Italy in early November and they agreed that each had to move on. They are doing so amicably and very slowly,” an insider said. “Joe has been out on a few dates, Teresa has not. She has been too busy with the girls, with work obligations and taking care of her father. She is happy for Joe. They have been very friendly with one another and are very supportive of each other’s happiness. They still love one another, but as Teresa told Andy Cohen on the WWHL special, they are separated by the Atlantic Ocean. Neither is interested in a long distance relationship.”
A source told PEOPLE the pair aren’t divorcing just yet, and are instead remaining focused on their children during their time apart.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.