New Jersey Housewives' Teresa Giudice: 'Slowly Rebuilding' After Bankruptcy
On the show, Giudice is the extravagant, stylish mom who throws outrageous parties for her four daughters: Gia, 9; Gabriella, 5; Milania, 4; and Audriana, 11months. But Giudice's wave came to a crash when she and her husband of 10 years, Joe, filed for Chapter 7 with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark, N.J. According to court documents, they owe nearly $11 million to creditors.
Teresa chatted with ParentDish to talk about where it all went wrong.
ParentDish: How did you prepare your kids for being on this TV show?
Teresa Giudice: Gia knew what was going on and she likes to be in front of the cameras. To her, this is fun. Every time the camera is on she loves to act. Milania was only 2 years old and Gabriella was 3 years old, so they were really young and not as aware.
PD: Now that season two has wrapped, do you and Joe ever sit down with your children to get a sense of how they feel about being on the series?
TG: Yes, and they tell us they like it. When I asked them, "Would you want mommy to do the show again if there is a third season?" they all said yes.
PD: With all that has been written about you and Joe filing for bankruptcy, what have you told your children?
TG: They don't know what is going on because it is summertime and they are not in school. But school starts in September so we will see what happens.
PD: Have you and Joe sat down to discuss how you will handle the situation, should Gia come to you with questions?
TG: I never gossip about other people and I teach my kids not to do it, either. But we did tell her, "Look, Gia, there are mean people out there and if they say mean things and try to take you down, ignore them. Don't engage them in conversation -- just walk away, go to the principal and remember to always be happy."
PD: What will you share with her about your financial situation?
TG: We are not ashamed of anything. We were in a recession and everyone was impacted. This was not a bad thing. When people lost their jobs, people could not pay their rent and, as a result, we had less money coming in so we couldn't make the mortgage payments. The only reason it got picked up in the media is because we are on TV.
PD: How would you describe your situation right now?
TG: We are restarting our life. I have a book out called "Skinny Italian" and I am working on a second book, which will be out in Spring 2011. It will be a continuation of my first cookbook. As for my husband, he is taking on more work so we are in the process of slowly rebuilding. We will do it again.
PD: Did filing for bankruptcy bring stress to your marriage?
TG: No. In fact, it brought us closer together.
PD: What did you learn from this experience?
TG: I don't have to spend money to be happy. Sometimes you shop because you get bored, but now I only go shopping when I need something. I now have a career, four kids and became an author, so I don't have time to shop anymore (laughs).
PD: Did you explain to the girls they couldn't shop 'til they dropped anymore?
TG: Yes, we did talk to them. We told them that we were cutting back on things and they were fine with that. We give them so much love that the girls don't need materialistic things to make them happy.
PD: What are some examples of things you have said no to?
TG: Gia wants a new laptop because the one she had broke. We told her she has to wait and she can't have it right away.
PD: Speaking of Gia, she has been tapped to M-C "The Rising Stars Talent Competition" on October 17 at the Montclair Museum of Art to benefit Project Ladybug.
TG: Yes, I am going to be in the audience cheering her on.
PD: Have you been practicing her lines with her at home?
TG: She is working with her agent Maria De Santis of Xist Model and Talent on that. But I can tell you Gia is a natural and very comfortable in front of an audience.
PD: So you really don't have a nanny? You juggle four kids all by yourself?
TG: Yes, I just do it. For example, this weekend was all about my kids. We made sandcastles on the beach, we went into the ocean and on all of the rides. I am a full-force mom and I make it all about them. I truly love spending time with them.
PD: So what do you guys do together?
TG: Since it was the summer we went to a friend's house to swim, we even went swimming at the lake -- outdoors kind of fun like that.
PD: How do you divide yourself into fours so you can give each of your daughters some alone time?
TG: When Gia goes to gymnastics I spend time with Gabriella. In the morning, Audriana is the first to get up at 7a.m., so that is my alone time with her. I just find pockets in the day for each of my girls.
PD: How did your children react when you and Joe brought the new baby home?
TG: Oh, my god, they love her. Milania was the baby and yet she never got jealous, she started acting like Audriana's mommy. Gia and Gabriella are great with her, too, but if they are bad I will scold my kids.
PD: So who is more of the disciplinarian -- you or Joe?
TG: I am because I am with them the most.
PD: You had quite an outburst towards Danielle Staub on part one of the reunion show. Would you let your kids watch that episode and see mommy like that?
TG: (Laughs.) They have not seen it. But they think when it comes to the show, I am acting, so that is what I let them believe.
PD: Do you and Joe have any regrets from being on the show?
TG: No. Because of the show's success my book is on the best-seller list, and my marriage is the best it has ever been.
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