Joe Giudice is fighting his deportation order from his home country of Italy

By Natalie Stone Michele Corriston
October 23, 2019 02:28 PM

Teresa and Joe Giudice are hitting a major milestone in their marriage — an ocean away from each other.

Wednesday marks the Real Housewives of New Jersey stars’ 20th wedding anniversary; they got married on Oct. 23, 1999. But Joe, 49, remains in Italy, where he was sent after being released from ICE custody on Oct. 11.

As of the afternoon, Teresa, 47, had not marked the occasion on social media. She did post Instagram Stories of herself working out on a treadmill and grabbing lunch with friends.

Her lawyer, James J. Leonard Jr., declined to comment when reached by PEOPLE. But the couple will be jointly interviewed by Andy Cohen for the first time since Joe’s release from prison in a special airing Sunday.

There’s no doubt it’s been a roller-coaster 20 years for the couple, who share daughters Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 13, and Audriana, 10.

For the majority of the past four years, the pair has lived apart as they served out their respective prison sentences.

RELATED: Joe Giudice Speaks Out for First Time Since His Flight to Italy: ‘I’ve Learned a Valuable Lesson’

As fans recall, Teresa served a little over 11 months in prison for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud and was released on Dec. 23, 2015. Months later, Joe began his 41-month sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud in March 2016.

Following more than three years behind bars, Joe, who was born in Italy, was released in March after an immigration court ruled to deport him last October. (Though he has lived in the United States since he was a child, he never obtained American citizenship, and immigrants can be deported if they are convicted of “a crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony,” according to U.S. law.)

A petition to be released back to his home wasn’t granted, but a request to go to Italy was.

Earlier this month, he was freed from ICE custody and flew to his native Italy, where he has been spending time with family and FaceTiming his children. He is also continuing to appeal his deportation order abroad.

“We are still fighting and it is his desire to return home to the United States to be reunited with his family,” his attorney said in a statement to PEOPLE.

Joe Giudice with his daughters
Gia Giudice/Instagram

In documents obtained by PEOPLE, lawyers for Joe said the father of four was hoping to get out so he could work to make money for his family.

They also stated that Joe is still hopeful his appeal will be granted, allowing him to come back to the United States. In the event that he does prevail in his case after he has been sent to Italy, Joe requests that ICE facilitate his return home.

A final ruling is expected in November.

RELATED: Teresa Giudice Doesn’t Know if She’s Still in Love with Husband Joe

In addition to fighting for Joe to stay in the United States, the couple has also battled ongoing trials in their marriage.

While Teresa has publicly stood by her husband thus far, she has also been realistic about the fate of their marriage should he be deported, admitting on the RHONJ season 9 reunion that she’s “not doing a long-distance relationship.”

And last week, Bravo released the first few minutes of the RHONJ season 10 premiere to their Bravo Insiders fan club. In it, the mother of four is at a crossroads in her relationship.

Teresa and Joe Giudice
Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Mount Airy Casino Resort

Asked by costar Jennifer Aydin if she’s still in love with Joe, Teresa said frankly, “I don’t know.”

I haven’t been happy in so long,” she then told sister-in-law Melissa Gorga. “And I just want to be happy again.”

Despite the strains in their relationship, Joe is focused on keeping his family together and is doing his best to prioritize them from afar.

For the first time since he was released from ICE custody and flew to Rome on Oct. 11, Joe spoke out in a video on Monday for Bravo’s The Daily Dish.

“I’ve learned a valuable lesson from all this and I know my family is the most important thing to me, but it’s better that I’m out here than in there,” said Joe, who concluded with a message to his family: “I just want to let you know that I love you and I’m always here for you. You know that.”

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