“Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice, freshly released from prison Wednesday, delivered a holiday message to her fans.
“Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. All of you should go be with your families and your loved ones,” Giudice, 43, stated through her attorney, James Leonard Jr., following her arrival home in Montville, New Jersey, at 7:30 a.m.
Her reunion with her family — which followed her 5:01 a.m. release from the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, where she served 11 1⁄2 months for bankruptcy fraud — “was very emotional,” Leonard told reporters. Husband Joe Giudice, 43, and daughters Gia, 14, Gabriella, 11, Milania, 10, and Audriana, 6, shared “a private moment but it was very emotional, very powerful and it was something to see,” he added.
“Gia was up early this morning,” Leonard said, “and then the younger ones started to get up. I think they got a little bit of sleep. I got no sleep. Teresa says that she didn’t sleep at all. Joe slept a little bit. I think everyone is going to sleep well tonight, myself included.”
Andy Cohen, executive producer of the “Real Housewives” reality TV show franchise, tweeted Wednesday, “Welcome home, Teresa Giudice!” and shortly afterward addressed Twitter commentators who felt he was condoning her criminal actions. “She did her time,” he wrote. “Everybody deserves a second chance.”
None of Giudice’s current castmates have tweeted about her release except her sister-in-law, Melissa Gorga, who wrote, “With Christmas comes miracles. Welcome home.”
Castmate Amber Marchese told Us Weekly in a statement, “I am so happy for her. I really am. Mother and her babies united as they should be. It is a true Christmas blessing. I wish the Guidice [sic] family nothing but continued happiness, love, and blessings.”
Joe Giudice, who gave his wife a Lexus wrapped in a red bow upon her return, will begin his own 41-month sentence for fraud in March at the Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution in New Jersey.