"It was a tough day, but being there was the best thing for her," a source tells PEOPLE
The Real Housewives of New Jersey star, 46, stepped out in New York City to attend the release party for her brother Joe Gorga’s new book, The Gorga Guide to Success: Business, Marriage, and Life Lessons from a Real Estate Mogul..
She was photographed entering the event, held at French restaurant Bistrot Leo, wearing a fitted black suit with the message “Beauty is perfect in its imperfections” pinstriped down the sides. She accessorized the look with a white tank and snake-skin heels.
In addition to Teresa’s brother Joe, her sister-in-law Melissa Gorga was at the event, as were their RHONJ costars Margaret Josephs and Dolores Catania (with husband Joe Benigno and ex-husband Frank Catania, respectively). Teresa and Joe’s father, Giacinto Gorga, plus Joe and Melissa’s three kids — Antonia, Gino and Joey — were also on hand.
Andy Cohen even made an appearance at the party, which was being filmed for RHONJ‘s next season.
A source close to Teresa tells PEOPLE that the night out was helpful for her. “It was a tough day, but being there was the best thing for her,” says the insider. “She was smiling, laughing and having fun with the people who loved her the most. It really helped take her mind off things.”
“Everybody in Teresa’s circle wants her to be happy,” the source continues. “She’s been through a lot and keeps fighting for her family, and we’re all standing by her in that battle.”
Both Teresa and Joe were both sentenced to prison for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud. Teresa spent a little over 11 months away before her release on Dec. 23, 2015. Joe, 46, began his 41-month sentence in March 2016.
As Joe’s release neared, his legal troubles worsened. In October, an immigration court ruled to deport him to his native Italy upon the completion of his sentence. (Even though Joe has lived in the United States since he was a child, he never obtained American citizenship, and immigrants can be deported if they are convicted of “a crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony,” according to U.S. law.)
Joe’s lawyers filed an appeal against the order in November. A decision from the court is forthcoming.
While Joe awaits his deportation ruling, he’ll remain at the immigration center indefinitely, a source told PEOPLE.
He was released from Allenwood Low Federal Correctional Institution in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, on Thursday morning.
“Mr. Giudice has finished serving his federal prison sentence and was transferred early this morning from the Bureau of Prisons to a facility in western Pennsylvania which houses immigration detainees,” his attorney James Leonard Jr. told PEOPLE. “His lawyers and his family are hopeful that justice will prevail and Mr. Guidice will return home to his wife and four daughters who love him and miss him.”
Teresa and Joe, who have been married since 1999, have remained by one another’s side through their legal problems. However, earlier this month on the RHONJ season 9 reunion, Teresa revealed that she and Joe would go their separate ways if he is deported.
“I’m not doing a long distance relationship. I’m not doing it,” Teresa told reunion host Cohen. “I want somebody with me every day. I know exactly what happens — I’m sure he’ll be with other women. It happens. You do the long-distance thing, it’s not going to work. I’d be like, ‘Bye-bye.’ “
Teresa also has said that moving to Italy with the four daughters she shares with Joe — Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 13, and Audriana, 10 — just isn’t in the cards.
“Unless my kids say, ‘Mommy, we want to move to Italy,’ [we] are not going,” Teresa revealed during the RHONJ reunion. “Gia’s going to college next year; I haven’t spoken to Milania or Audriana about it, we haven’t gotten there yet; and Gabriella already voiced her opinion to me. She was like, ‘That would be so hard for me, Mommy.’ She doesn’t speak the language. She’s like, ‘That would kill me even more.’”
“It’s like starting a whole new life,” Teresa added. “And they’ve been through so much already.”