On Saturday, the Real Housewives of New Jersey star appeared at BravoCon alongside her costars Jackie Goldschneider, Margaret Josephs, Melissa Gorga, Dolores Catania, and Jennifer Aydin — where she admitted watching her four daughters “suffering” shifted the way she approached motherhood.
“It breaks my heart,” she said. “It’s hard. I try to compensate. Whatever they say. I jump over hoops for them, for whatever they’re going through. Whatever they say to me, I try to do for them, just for the situation. They’re amazing kids.”
Teresa and Joe, who have been married for 20 years, share daughters Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 13, and Audriana, 10.
“It’s difficult,” Teresa went on to explain. “Joe and I were really strict with Gia growing up but then when the whole legal thing happened, I got a little soft ’cause I was all by myself. Not that I spoil them, but whatever they want, I get for them. I try to make up for the pain of Joe not being there.”
“My girls had to grow up quick because of everything we’ve been through,” she said. “As a mom, you never know if you’ve done a good job or not. But watching my girls, they’re pretty amazing. They grew up quick.”
Of all her girls, Teresa said Milania’s had “the hardest time” but that “she’s turned it around.”
“She saw a therapist last year and she’s doing better in school,” Teresa said. “She lost over 40 lbs. She put it in her head, and she did it.”
“I hope they all keep going on the right track,” Teresa said. “As a mom, that’s what you do it for.”
Teresa and her girls recently went to see Joe in Italy, where he’s currently awaiting the final decision in his deportation battle.
In October, a ruling was made that Joe would have to leave the country after he completed his jail sentence for mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud.
As Teresa previously explained in the RHONJ premiere, Joe was born in Italy and lived there for a year before his parents relocated to America. He never obtained American citizenship and per U.S. law, immigrants can be deported if they are convicted of “a crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony.”
Joe was released from prison in March but was transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — moving overnight from the low-security prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, he had been living in during his time in incarceration to the high-security Clinton County Correctional Center in Pennsylvania.
He remained there until October, when he moved to Salerno, Italy.
Asked how the kids were doing after the visit, which was filmed for a Bravo special, Teresa admitted at BravoCon, “they’re still really missing Joe.”
“You guys will see that play out but I’m happy for him, I’m happy that he’s free,” Teresa said. “It’s a very emotional trip. I cried a lot. It takes a lot for me to cry, but I cried a lot. It’s so emotional.”
“I thank you for all your love and support,” she told the fans. “It really means a lot.”
Mostly, she said she’s happy that Joe continued to fight.
“He keeps saying, I should never have sat there in ICE for 7 months,” Teresa recalled. “He keeps saying, ‘I could have saw [my kids] sooner.’ But I keep saying, ‘If you didn’t, they wouldn’t have known you were fighting. Now his daughters know he did fight. They were like, done with it. They were like, ‘Daddy, it’s enough. You have to get out of there.’ “
BravoCon is running through Sunday across three venues in the Big Apple: The Manhattan Center (311 W 34th St), Skylight Modern (537 W 27th St) and Union West (535 W 28th St).
A total of 88 Bravolebrities are said to be in attendance total. More than 50 live events are on the docket, including performances, insider panels, podcasts, dining experiences, photo opportunities and a Bravo bazaar marketplace. (A full breakdown of events is available at BravoCon2019.com.)
For those wanting a trip down memory lane, there will be a Real Housewives museum with more than a decade’s worth of behind-the-scenes photos, reunion dresses and show memorabilia.
The weekend will close out with a live performance of Luann de Lesseps‘ hit Countess and Friends cabaret show on Sunday.