The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo
“It’s extremely sad that there are actually people out there and semi-reputable media outlets who seem to take pleasure in perpetuating horrible rumors and fake news stories about this family,” attorney James J. Leonard Jr. says. “Haven’t they been through enough? Haven’t the children suffered enough? People need to let this family live their lives. Enough is enough. No one is cheating, no one is getting divorced. The truth is they can’t wait to be together again.”
Joe, 45, began serving a 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud in March 2016.
Teresa, 45, spent 11 months in prison for the same crimes and is now raising their four daughters ( Gia, 17, Gabriella, 13, Milania, 11, and Audriana, 8) on her own, taking the girls to Mexico over New Year’s to distract them from missing their dad, and the family celebrated Gia’s birthday at home Sunday.
Leonard tells PEOPLE that Teresa and Joe are stronger than ever despite their tribulations.
“These last few years have been very challenging and very difficult,” he says. “Both Joe and Teresa have each lost a parent, have both experienced incarceration and have both been without one another for long periods of time. I can tell you from having deeply personal conversations with both of them, what they want more than anything is to be together with one another and their children and move forward to brighter days as a family.”
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.