As Teresa Giudice comes to terms with her husband’s looming deportation, she fears the unknown.
“Teresa is trying her best to stay strong and put on a brave face for her kids, but there’s been a shakiness in Teresa’s voice she doesn’t usually have. She’s scared,” a source close to the mother of four tells PEOPLE.
On Wednesday, a judge ruled that her husband, Joe, will be deported to his native Italy at the end of his prison sentence. (Even though Giudice has lived in America since he was a child, he never obtained American citizenship, and immigrants can be deported from the United States if they are convicted of “a crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony,” according to U.S. law.)
Joe is currently serving out a 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud that began in March 2016 and is set to be released in 2019.
“Family has always been the most important thing to Teresa. It kills her that her family has been broken up by this for so long, and she’s angry that something like this would happen again,” the source says. “She always kept her feelings close to the cuff, but even she can’t pretend anymore this isn’t happening.”
Since Teresa, who served a little over 11 months herself for the same crimes as her husband, was released from prison on Dec. 23, 2015, she’s become the breadwinner for her family and has dedicated herself to the couple’s four children: daughters Gia, 17, Gabriella, 14, Milania, 12, and Audriana, 9.
“Teresa’s a mother first, so she’s going to attach herself to those kids. They are all incredibly close. The kids are at the age now where they know what’s going on. It’s not like when Teresa went away and they tried to pretend she was just working,” the source says, adding that Gia is “just as much a leader in the family as Teresa.”
Not only has Joe’s time away from home has also taken a toll on her daughters.
“The girls all love their dad very much, especially Milania, who has always been a daddy’s girl. I think the girls have just as many questions as Teresa has right now, but there aren’t any answers,” the source says. “Luckily, they live busy lives with school and activities, so there’s a lot to help them keep their mind off of it.”
But not all hope is lost for the famous family. Despite the judge’s order in immigration court, Joe, 48, has 30 days to appeal the decision.
“No decisions about the appeal have been made, as far as I know. But I’m sure they’ll appeal. They did everything to fight their previous legal problems so why wouldn’t they try to fight this?” the source says.
Since the ruling on Joe’s case was announced, Teresa, 46, has remained silent on the matter. And while she misses her husband, visiting the prison isn’t an easy task.
“She says she sees him about once a month but she hates going to the prison, too,” the source says. “It brings back bad memories for her. And it’s far.”