The RHONJ star finalized her divorce in September after 20 years of marriage

By Jodi Guglielmi and Aurelie Corinthios
November 27, 2020 11:10 AM
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Teresa Giudice has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star spent the annual holiday on Thursday with her four daughters: Gia, 19, Milania, 14, Gabriella, 16, and Audriana, 11.

She shared a photo from the celebration on Instagram, showing the proud mom smiling alongside her children.

"Thankful for my daughters strength to stand tall in this world," she captioned the post, adding the hashtags #legacy, #standingstrong, #lovelovelove and #happythanksgiving.

Her ex-husband Joe Giudice commented, "Miss you girls ❤️❤️❤️🌹."

This year marks the first Thanksgiving since Teresa, 48, finalized her divorce from Joe, 49, in September after 20 years of marriage.

PEOPLE exclusively confirmed in December 2019 that the couple had come to a mutual decision to separate. They had been living apart since March 2016, when Joe began his 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud. Teresa served a little over 11 months in prison for the same crimes and was released in December 2015.

Though Joe was released in March 2019, he was transferred into custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Pennsylvania as he fought to appeal a judge's order to deport him to Italy. (He had lived in the United States since he was a child but never obtained American citizenship.) Two appeals have been denied. Joe eventually requested to go to Italy to await a final appeal, and has been living there for the past year.

He documented his own Thanksgiving celebration in Italy on Instagram, sharing videos of an extravagant bacon-wrapped turkey.

"Mom Filomena bringing Thanksgiving Day to 🇮🇹  I hope today is full of fun, food, family, and most importantly full of ♥️ for all," he wrote. "Salute 🍷everyone enjoy today."

Earlier this month, Gia and Milania reunited with their father in Italy, and the three documented the trip on their respective social media pages.

"happy to be back," Milania captioned a photo with her dad in Rome.

"We were in Rome for a couple of days," Joe said during a recent appearance on PeopleTV's Reality Check. "We ate, we hung out, we visited a lot of places and just had a great time. They had to do their homework in the mornings. We did what we could, we had a good time."

"At night we just hung out, we watched Netflix and just snuggled. Just a little family time," he added. "It was good."

As for whether his daughters would ever consider moving to Italy full-time to be with him? "They would love to come live here, but at the end of the day, does it really make sense? No," he said. "I wouldn't even want them to come and live here because they go to school [in New Jersey], they go to college there."

"You've got to deal with whatever comes your way, you deal with the hand that you're dealt with. There's nothing you can do about it. Who knows, maybe things will change one day. I mean, I would love to just be able to come back and visit my kids whenever I can," he continued. "It's kind of like a burden for them to be flying out all the time."

Credit: Joe Giudice/Instagram

In October, Joe told E! News that he and Teresa, who were childhood sweethearts, were doing their best to co-parent the girls.

"What am I going to do, have the kids move here to a country that they don't even know the language? That would be a disaster," he said. "So the only thing we can do is try to make things the best we can. It's a shame what they had to go through, those kids. Thank God they're tough kids but it's still a damn shame. At the end of the day, you know, we're doing our best."

Teresa has since moved on romantically. Earlier this month, PEOPLE confirmed that the Bravo star is dating businessman Luis "Louie" Ruelas. "She is very happy, but taking things very slow," a source said.