The Rise and Fall of Real Housewife Teresa Giudice

Teresa Giudice

Born May 18, 1972 in Patterson, New Jersey, Real Housewife of New Jersey Teresa Giudice has been a Jersey girl her entire life. She was born Teresa Gorga, daughter of Italian immigrants. She has one younger brother, Joe Gorga, who also appears alongside his sister and his wife, Melissa Gorga, on the Bravo series The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Giudice was raised a devout Catholic, attending mass regularly. She was raised in a tight-knit family, though they’ve faced some recent troubles in just about every aspect of the word. She’s the second-highest paid member of the entire Real Housewives franchise, and she’s the mother of four little girls. Her rise to fame has also been her downfall.

Teresa and Joe’s Relationship

Teresa and her family lived in New Jersey her entire life. She grew up with a boy by the name of Joe Giudice. Their families were close, and the duo began a relationship. They wed more than 14 years ago in 2000, and their life hasn’t been easy since. Before she was a real housewife, the New Jersey native graduated from Berkeley College with a degree in fashion. She went on to become an associate buyer for Macy’s and worked there until she was married and became a mother.

When she married Joe Giudice, the future looked promising for Teresa. Her new husband worked as a successful builder and restaurant owner, and life was good. The couple welcomed their first daughter, Gia, in 2001 and her birth marked the beginning of a lovely family. In 2003, daughter Gabriella was born, followed by Milania in 2005 and Audriana in 2009. The couple, so far, has said nothing about wanting more children, despite the fact that Joe has said on numerous occasions he would love to have a son.

Over the years that the housewife has been featured on the hit Bravo series, she and her husband have faced many rumors surrounding the state of their marriage. It was said that Joe cheated on Teresa on multiple occasions and that they would divorce on several occasions. Additionally, it’s also believed by the press that the reality star will file for divorce from her husband in the coming months. However, she has denied these claims and has announced that she will stick by her husband no matter what the future holds for their lives, their marriage and their financial status.

Teresa the Real Housewife

On May 12, 2009, Teresa Giudice made her television debut. She was one of the original cast members of the soon-to-be hit show, The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Alongside friends Dina Manzo, Caroline Manzo, Jacqueline Laurita and Danielle Staub, she quickly became a household name. It wasn’t long before she became one of the most famous and most popular housewives of the franchise after she flipped a table and making a scene as she fought with one of her former housewives costars.

She’s the only original cast member of the Jersey franchise still on the show. During the beginning of the third season, fans got to see an entirely new side of Giudice when her brother and sister-in-law decided to join the show, along with her cousin, Kathy Wakile and her family. The show focused more on the dynamics of the family’s very dysfunctional relationship, which seems to stem from the fact that Teresa is not a fan of her sister-in-law. The season was not kind to Giudice, who was portrayed in a light that painted her as the villain. Over the course of the past three seasons, however, she and her family have put their differences aside and mended broken fences.

Teresa the Entrepreneur  

Becoming a real housewife launched Teresa into mega-stardom. Her fans love her crazy antics, her mispronounced words and her inability to stay too far away from drama. The show helped her become an entrepreneur, writing three successful cookbooks and even placing her on the New York Times Best-Selling authors list.

Giudice’s first book, Skinny Italian, was published in May 2010 and quickly became a best-seller. Her second cookbook was named Fabulicious and was published only a year later. Fabulicious! Fast & Fit was published a year after that. It was during 2012 that the real housewife also made the decision to join the cast of Celebrity Apprentice, where she was able to raise more than $70,000 for the charity of her choice. She placed fifth, after she was fired in the twelfth episode that season. She did far better on the show than anyone imagined she would, putting her into a new light with her fans and her critics. She showed the world – and Donald Trump – that she is a business-savvy woman who isn’t just big hair and designer shoes.

Following her appearance on Celebrity Apprentice, Giudice ventured into other businesses as well. She launched a line of cocktails by the name of Fabellini and also launched a hair care line in conjunction with Jerel Sabella, which she named after her third daughter, Milania (Milania Hair Care).

It was at this point that life was really looking good for the real housewife, despite the fact that she’d been experiencing legal problems in her life for several years at this point. She had no idea that things were about to get far, far worse for herself and her family.

Teresa’s Downfall

She didn’t know it at the time, but the star’s downfall began in 2009 when she and her husband filed for bankruptcy. Information began leaking that the couple’s ample and expensive furniture from their McMansion in Towaco was scheduled to be auctioned to pay off their debts. The couple managed to avoid that type of embarrassment for their family by withdrawing their filing for bankruptcy. The reason behind their decision to file in the first place was the downfall of the economy. As a builder, Joe Giudice was experiencing the same lack of business and lack of income as much of the country’s construction workers, and their financial situation quickly spiraled out of control.

For a few years, the housewife dodged rumors and tabloid stories that said she was flat broke, living above her means and in the midst of a divorce. She’s been listening to stories for five years now that her husband is cheating on her, that they are divorcing and that she’s losing everything. Some of it is true, and some of it is information the couple has shot down from the start.

The year 2013 was not a good one for Joe and Teresa Giudice. It all began when she and her husband were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and for making inaccurate statements on loan applications, as well as bankruptcy fraud. They were charged with a total of 39 counts of fraud on July 29, 2013. Two weeks later, the couple pleads not guilty to each of the charges.

In November 2013, Teresa’s husband faced a judge for fraudulently obtaining a driver license in his brother’s name after his license was suspended after being charged with a DUI in January 2010. He was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 20 days community service as well as 12 additional months of h license being suspended.

Life quickly began to spiral out of control again when the couple headed to court to plead guilty to 41 counts of fraud in March 2014. The couple was scheduled to be sentenced for their crimes in July, but the untimely and unexpected death of Joe Giudice’s father caused the judge to postpone the couple’s sentencing to September 23, 2014.

With their sentencing looming, the couple is likely facing serious issues in their family. Teresa could spend anywhere from 21 to 27 months in prison for her role in the fraud crimes she and her husband committed, and Joe is looking at spending anywhere from 37 to 46 months behind bars in federal prison, as well as deportation back to Italy, where he is a citizen.

Attorneys for the couple hope to get Teresa off with just a probation sentence, and it looks likely to happen considering that the couple has four young children. What will happen to the children if they are both sent to prison remains a mystery. The couple has several siblings between the two of them, but now that Joe’s mother is a widow and Teresa’s parents face several health problems, it looks unlikely that the grandparents will have the ability to care for the grandchildren.

At the moment, it is estimated that the reality couple faces very dire financial issues. Their net worth is currently estimated at more than -$11 million, and they are set to lose their home and other belongings if they do go to prison. Their indictment information states that the couple falsified statements claiming nearly $5 million in income they did not receive so that they could obtain mortgages and lines of credit that they could not afford so that they could continue to fund their lavish lifestyle. Among the other counts of fraud that the couple was charged with, they were originally believed to spend as many as 50 years in prison. However, pleading guilty to each count gave them the opportunity to spend less time in jail, which was an option the couple had to choose for the sake of their children.

Photo by Mike McGregor/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald

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