Few Real Housewives cast members have been the centerpiece of tabloid drama quite like Teresa Giudice, who was indicted alongside husband Joe Giudice on 39 counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, falsifying loan applications, bankruptcy fraud, and failure to file tax returns in 2013. I still remember where I was when I flipped through the photos of their bankruptcy auction that precipitated the federal government’s indictment: bored in a grocery store while my mom chatted away with someone whose name I still can’t remember.
In the years since, they’ve dominated international headlines and had their marriage dissected on and off the hit show that made them famous, both fighting desperately to keep Joe in the States and out of ICE custody. Their efforts were unsuccessful—for now—and Joe has moved back to Italy while he awaits a decision on his deportation appeal. Since Andy Cohen is a criminal mastermind, second only to Kris Jenner, he secured the couple’s first interview in the aftermath, either through wizardry or the extensive contract Teresa has with Bravo. Too bad it couldn’t reveal more than what a colossal pair of Trump-supporting fools the Giudices are.
The precarious state of the Giudice marriage was a focal point for Andy, who spent most of the interview grilling them on what would happen if Joe was permanently deported. Teresa, for the most part, seems to have made her decision: If Joe doesn’t return from Italy, she will leave him. Joe seemed less convinced throughout. He agrees that he is fully to blame for their legal predicament—no matter what Teresa’s many, many, many enemies have claimed on the show—and at one point, he encourages Teresa to date someone rich. (“She has expensive taste,” Joe says.) This makes her laugh, but moments later, she admits she couldn’t date him from across the ocean because he’d be unfaithful. Viewers are also treated to a grim reminder of what their marriage looked like on camera, with Teresa dutifully agreeing to Joe’s many demands while he called her cunt and a bitch on the phone to his mistress.
While it’s absolutely horrific for any child to have their parents ripped away from them by a domestic terrorist organization like ICE, it’s hard to muster sympathy for a couple so outspokenly in support of Donald Trump. For much of the past year, the government has ramped up mass raids on innocent civilians under his command, forcing them to endure inhumane conditions that have left countless dead, scarred, and permanently separated from families. Joe, early in his interview, admits that he wouldn’t wish the ICE facility he was imprisoned in on anyone. His fate in that facility also dominated gossip headlines after he was released from prison into ICE custody earlier this year. (Sources claimed differing stories: Some believed he’d be permanently deported back to Italy, while others said he would win his appeal and reunite with his family.)
Joe also admitted to supporting Trump, regardless, when Andy asked if he’d appeal his deportation to the president. Teresa, when asked the same question, says, “With the whole immigration thing that’s going on, that he’s fighting for, I would never do that to him.” In that moment, my sympathy stopped, and Andy’s face dropped considerably. Despite having witnessed firsthand the cruelty of the American immigration system, Joe (and Teresa, by association) comes off as a someone who sees himself above the other immigrants with whom he was imprisoned. Andy, perhaps scared to rock the boat with his cash cow, doesn’t interrogate their support of the president further.
Speaking of tabloid sensations who’ve made Bravo endless amounts of money, Joe accused Andy of profiting off their misery, telling the host, “Us doing this Housewives thing is the best thing that ever happened to you, Andy.” The Patriarch of the Housewives bristles at the comment, but the experience of watching this play out was better than any scene from The Truman Show. I also couldn’t help but laugh at Teresa’s complete inability to grasp story arcs and basic narrative principals when shown a prediction arch-nemesis Caroline Manzo made about her family. In a 2011 episode, Caroline “predicted” that someday, Joe would have to “go somewhere” and Teresa would step up to support her family. When asked about the moment, Teresa immediately accuses Caroline of ratting her out to the feds, demanding that Andy tell her “how she could have known that.” It’s a priceless interaction and a sentiment shared by most Americans who questioned how a man with seemingly no job and no business could live in a castle the Queen of Versailles would be envious of.
All things considered, I am quite excited to watch their marriage unravel in the coming months on television. Despite her many incompetencies, Teresa Giudice makes an endlessly compelling TV villain. (And the new season of RHONJ, from what sources have told me, is set to be the best in years.) Good luck on your appeal, Joe! But if I were you, don’t expect too much from Trump in the way of pardons—you will be one of many in that stack of papers as he death spirals in the coming months.