"Life, it's always better to look through the windshield and not through the rearview mirror, you know," claimed Joe Giudice in his first video release following his jail sentence in 2018. Convicted for wire fraud, bank fraud, claiming false information on loan applications, and bankruptcy fraud, the Italy-born, New Jersey-based restaurateur has not had it easy by any means in past years. Now that he's living a new life in Italy, the Joe fans once knew has totally morphed.
So, what else has he been up to? Here's a breakdown of the tumultuous last few years of the Real Housewives of New Jersey star's life.
First, what exactly happened during Joe Giudice's conviction?
Joe was released from ICE custody in October 2019. He asked the court to allow him to move back to his family home in New Jersey while the official decision was made — but he was turned down. Having been informed that he may be required to stay in custody for an indefinite period of time, Joe chose to undergo the process of voluntary deportation and flew back to his homeland of Italy instead. At the time of his deportation, he shot a video for his fans.
“You just gotta look forward and never look back," he said before adding, "But at the end of the day, people make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect."
In case you need a quick recap, Joe began a 41-month sentence for bankruptcy fraud in 2016 and was released in 2018. After his release, he was held in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement until his voluntary deportation. His wife Teresa Giudice served an 11-month sentence of her own in 2015.
In November 2019, the reality star was reunited with his wife and daughters in Salerno, where he lived with his mother. "We're back," Gia captioned a photo of the family reunion at the time.
Are Teresa and Joe still together?
In 2020, during their first joint interview in years, the couple made it very clear that they were estranged following Joe's deportation. Teresa also opened up to Andy Cohen about blaming Joe for her prison sentence.
"I just feel like when you live apart. … He says the same thing, when he sees me, he may not want this either. We’ll know when we see each other," Teresa explained. Joe added, "If we stay together, we stay together, if we don’t, we don’t. It’s a conversation, we’ll see. … As long as she’s happy, that’s all that really matters. I’m not going to tell her what to do. If she doesn’t feel like she wants to be with me anymore, then that’s the thing to do."
Unfortunately, things didn't work out for the former couple. They have since each begun new relationships with other individuals. In an interview with E! News in October 2020, Joe hinted at his love life progressing beyond Teresa. Without name-dropping a new girlfriend, he suggested he and another woman were "not really dating, but we’re, like, seeing each other or whatever."
He also added that he and Teresa are still on good terms despite everything they've been through, "I mean, listen, we talk every day but, we kind of moved on already. What are you going to do? It’s been a while. If I was living there, it would be a different story, but I’m not. I’m over here, eight hours away in Italy, full of a bunch of Italian women."
What's Joe up to nowadays? He has new business ventures.
After being deported back to Italy, Joe took up some new business ventures to occupy his time and make him some extra cash. While speaking with E!, he explained that he has recently made a foray into the furniture business.
"I just signed a deal to start importing sofas, chairs, and what have you from an Italian company here," Joe shared. "They’re actually handmade sofas, leather sofas. I just partnered up with this guy there. We’re going to start shipping couches directly to the customer, to their home so you cut out the middle guy."
Aside from sofas, Joe is also heavily invested in his sex toy business, Zalo USA. As he told E!, "I wouldn’t call it my sex shop because it’s not, we don’t sell any of those other things. It’s basically just high-end massagers that are made by an Italian French designer. So they’re made of top quality material and, I mean, it’s a very good product." Joe said he vouches so much for the massager that he even sent one to Teresa and her RHONJ castmates.