There was a lot of speculation last season on The Real Housewives of New Jersey that Teresa Giudice may leave her husband of almost 20 years, Joe Giudice, who’s currently serving a prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud. But she has always denied this gossip, and their relationship is as strong as ever — mainly because Teresa puts visiting him ‘third’ on her list of priorities.
On Thursday, PEOPLE caught up with Teresa at an event for FabFitFunTV‘s new cooking segment, “Cooking with the Housewives,” in New York City, where she explained that Joe is doing “really good” in prison.
She says she visits Joe “all the time” but makes sure to put herself and her four daughters, Gia, 17, Gabriella, 13, Milania, 11, and Audriana, 8, first.
“This is how it goes. Work comes first — I’m by myself — so it’s work, then all the kids’ activities come second. Then he comes third,” she explains. “He’s totally fine with that. When I’m free, then I go see him, and he’s totally fine with that.”
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Whenever she does have free time to make the trip to his new prison location — near Penn State University — she makes the most of it.
“I love the ride,” she says. “It’s so meditative. I love Route 80. The mountains! The mountains are so beautiful!”
She says she prefers this drive much more than visiting him at his previous prison near Fort Dix. “I hate the turnpike — I used to dread going to see him when he was in Fort Dix because I hate the turnpike. Where he is now, it’s beautiful.”
WATCH: Jersey Jargon! RHONJ Stars Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga Translate Their Slang For the Rest of us
During the first part of the RHONJ season 8 reunion last season, Teresa told Andy Cohen that she never thought of leaving Joe but clarified that she wasn’t a pushover in the relationship either.
“You guys see me flip a table. You’ve seen me push [Andy],” she said about some past moments on the show. “You can tell, I don’t take s—. So if my husband didn’t treat me the right way, trust me, I would not take it.”
“I always put my husband in his place,” she added. “For real.”