“I really want her to be happy because I truly believe she hasn’t been happy in 10 years, minimum,” the 42-year-old told costar Jackie Goldschneider on the Wednesday, April 21, episode of RHONJ. “I want to see who she is when she has a little bit of that happiness. I am so excited for her to be happy.”
In her confessional, Melissa added, “Teresa held a lot behind those walls. She was always on the defense trying to like, back up what her marriage was, what her life was. So if she has a nice guy next to her holding her hand, making her feel good about herself, she’s gonna chill and she’s gonna feel content and loved and I think [she’s] gonna be such a better Teresa.”
News broke that Teresa, 48, and Joe, also 48, were calling it quits in December 2019. “Teresa and Joe have split, but everyone saw it coming. No one is really surprised,” an insider exclusively told In Touch at the time. “Even their daughters knew it was coming and their recent trip to Italy was all about spending quality time together and discussing the real issue at hand — they were splitting up.”
The TV personalities tied the knot back in 1999 and they went on to welcome four daughters together: Gia, Gabriella, Milania and Audriana. Teresa and Joe even renewed their vows in September 2011, but they got into legal trouble a few years later.
Both of the exes were charged with mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud in 2013. Teresa spent 11 months behind bars before she was released in 2015. In March 2019, Joe completed his 41-month stint and was taken into ICE custody. By October, he was released from ICE custody and sent on a plane to his native Italy to await the verdict of his deportation appeal, which he lost.
The couple’s children have been coping with the split as best they can. “They’re already planning visits back out to Italy,” another insider previously told In Touch. “The girls will be fine. Joe and Teresa too. It’s been a good long run, it’s very bittersweet, but it was inevitable.”
Teresa and Joe finalized their divorce in September 2020. The author has since moved on with new boyfriend Luis “Louie” Ruelas, whom Joe has already met. “They’ve talked over the phone. Luis wanted to go to the Bahamas and meet him, which I thought was the most amazing thing ever,” she revealed on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen in March 2021. “He said he just wanted to talk to him and let him know he’s not trying to take his place or anything.”
However, Joe wasn’t as thrilled to meet up. “It was awkward to see my ex after a lifetime together with someone else,” he told Us Weekly in April 2021.
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