Teresa Giudice's lawyer calls speculation of trouble between the Real Housewives of New Jersey star and her husband, Joe, "all sizzle and no steak"

By Natalie Stone and Lanford Beard
June 14, 2017 11:34 AM
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Even though Teresa Giudice is separated physically from her husband, Joe, as he serves out a 41-month prison sentence, the reality star insists she has remained faithful.

Despite recent reports claiming the Real Housewives of New Jersey has stepped out on Joe as he serves time for bankruptcy fraud at the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey, Teresa’s lawyer James J. Leonard tells PEOPLE that speculation about any estrangement or infidelity between the spouses, both 45, is “the embodiment of fake news.”

Leonard says “manufactured” stories about the parents of four “all sizzle and no steak. Sadly, Teresa is used to this. She and her family have been a target of these types of attacks for years.”

A source close to the show also tells PEOPLE “There’s no truth in [any suggestion of] an affair.”

Leonard adds that the couple “speak every day” and that “Teresa saw Joe two weeks ago and will be seeing him this weekend for Father’s Day. “

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The Giudices were both convicted of bankruptcy fraud in October 2014 and allowed to serve time separately. Joe’s prison stint came just months after Teresa was released on Dec. 23, 2015 after a nearly 11-month sentence.

In October of last year, rumors of Joe’s infidelity continued to spread on an episode of RHONJ when boutique owner Kim D. resurfaced the allegations — suggesting Joe had been unfaithful to Teresa during her 11-month prison stay with a mysterious “blonde” and a number of “brunettes.”

But speaking exclusively with PEOPLE in February 2016, both Teresa and Joe denied the allegations, and the RHONJ star vowed that her husband had an implicit trust that when he went to prison, she would be faithful to him.

“I have single friends so if I’m going to be out and if there’s people around us and if there’s men around us, I’m not going to be like, ‘Oh my God, stay away from us, I’m afraid somebody is going to take a picture of us.’ I’m just going to live my life,” Teresa said at the time. “Joe trusts me, he knows I’m faithful, I know he’s faithful and that’s all that matters.”

“We’ve been married 16 years. Listen, we’re both devoted to each other, and I don’t have a collar around his neck,” she added. “If we didn’t want to be around each other we would both go our separate ways.”

Teresa has been married to Joe since 1999 and shares daughters Gia, 16, Gabriella, 12, Milania, 11, and Audriana, 7, with the businessman.

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In the time since the couple was sentenced to each serving time in prison, they both have functioned as single parents while caring for their girls.

This past September, Teresa told PEOPLE that while it’s emotionally difficult to be apart from Joe — who is not a citizen of the United States and could be sent back to his native Italy at the end of his prison sentence — her children are managing to carry on.

“They’re doing good,” she said of her daughters. “I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but a little easier because they went through it with me so they know what to expect. But they miss him tremendously, they always say we miss dad. They miss him. You can feel his absence, our family’s definitely incomplete without him.”

“What keeps me busy is my girls. I swear, that’s what makes the days go by. If I didn’t have them, I’d probably go crazy,” she admitted. “Then I would really think about him 24/7 and it wouldn’t be easy. That’s what he said, too: ‘That’s what got me through the day was the girls. They kept me busy.’ And that’s how I am, I’m going through the motions of each day. I just can’t wait for each day to pass by for him to come home.”

The Real Housewives of New Jersey returns to Bravo this summer, and Teresa’s second memoir, Standing Strong, will be available this summer.