Teresa Giudice is denying reports that she has moved on from her husband Joe Giudice

By Emily Strohm and Jodi Guglielmi
February 20, 2019 10:39 AM
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Teresa Giudice wants to set the record straight: She is not stepping out on her marriage.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star is denying reports that she has moved on from her husband Joe Giudice after photos of her holding hands with a younger man surfaced Wednesday morning.

An attorney for Teresa tells PEOPLE that the man in the pictures published by Us is just a friend.

“Teresa was in Miami for a charity event with a large group of friends, both men and women,” says Giudice’s attorney, James Leonard Jr. “The photos show one of those friends helping Teresa out of the venue and to her car. She had some wine and she was wearing heels.”

Leonard insists the interaction was brief and completely amicable.

“That’s the real story. There is no cheating, no divorce,” he says. “End of story.”

Teresa and Joe Giudice
Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Mount Airy Casino Resort

Teresa has stuck by Joe as he completes his 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud, which began in March 2016. Teresa served a little over 11 months in prison for the same crimes and was released on Dec. 23, 2015.

In October, an immigration court ruled to deport Joe to his native Italy after his prison sentence. (Even though he 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.)

Though Joe appealed the ruling in November, he still faces deportation. An insider close to the couple said that they remain hopeful about the appeal. “They are obviously optimistic that he is coming home,” the insider said. “Teresa’s hope is that they can remain together as a family.”

Teresa Giudice with her daughters
Teresa Giudice/Instagram

However, during the taping of RHONJ’s season 9 reunion (which has not yet aired), Teresa admitted that she and Joe would go their separate ways if he were to be deported.

Teresa allegedly told host Andy Cohen that she had discussed the possibility with their four daughters — Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 13, and Audriana, 10 — and said that they would stay in the United States without him.

“Teresa told Andy that if Joe gets deported, she’s not going,” a source on the scene told PEOPLE. “She said that she and Joe had talked about it over the phone, and that he understood.”

According to a second source, Cohen then pressed Teresa about what would happen to their marriage, and she confirmed they’d split. “She didn’t really express any sadness about that,” the second source said. “She just focused instead on the girls. It was very matter of fact.”