An immigration court’s ruling on Wednesday to deport Joe Giudice to his native Italy after his prison sentence took wife Teresa Giudice by surprise.
A source close to the Real Housewives of New Jersey star tells PEOPLE that Teresa, 46, “never imaged Joe would really get deported.”
“This is going to break her,” the insider says. “She always knew that this was a possibility, but she put it out of her head. That’s the only way she could go on living day to day.”
PEOPLE confirmed Joe’s deportation on Wednesday through a spokesperson at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. They say Joe will have 30 days to appeal the decision.
Joe is currently serving out a 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud that began in March 2016. He is set to be released in 2019. Teresa served a little over 11 months in prison herself for the same crimes and was released on Dec. 23, 2015.
Teresa was not in immigration court with Joe on Wednesday, though he appeared there from prison through Skype, according to RadarOnline.
Her decision not to go to court isn’t surprising to the source, who points again to Teresa’s decision to focus on the positive. “That’s why she hates going to see him in prison, too. It’s just like, ‘Keep busy and don’t think about the bad stuff.’ [It’s] a very Italian way to be,” the source explains.
“Joe encourages Teresa to be this way,” the source adds. “He feels a lot of guilt over what happened and would rather she just remained focused on their girls and things at home than have to worry about another one of his problems. It’s sad but this one will be too hard to ignore.”
“Teresa is incredibly strong, and whether she admits it or not, I think she had secretly prepared for this,” the source says. “Since Joe’s been gone, Teresa’s grown into her independence. She’s taken control of her life, and she’s raised those girls well.”
“It’s sad, but she’s going to handle this just as well as she’s handled everything else,” the source continues. “She’ll push her own feelings aside to make sure her daughters are being taken care of. Teresa’s a big girl. She’ll put on a brave face throughout it all.”
RELATED VIDEO: Teresa Giudice on the Impact of Her Husband’s Prison Sentence on Her Daughters
Meanwhile, it remains unclear whether Joe will appeal the court’s decision.
When reached by PEOPLE, his immigration attorneys did not yet have comment. James J. Leonard Jr., the Giudice family attorney, also declined to comment on Wednesday’s news, as did Bravo.
In May, a source told PEOPLE the two couldn’t wait to “be a family again.”
“These last few years have been tough on everybody,” the insider said, adding that Teresa and Joe “can’t wait to be reunited.”
The new season of RHONJ is set to premiere Nov. 7 on Bravo.