Teresa Giudice's daughter Gia is all grown up

The world first met Gia Giudice when she was just 8 years old and appeared on Bravo's hit reality TV show, Real Housewives of New Jersey, alongside her mom and dad, Teresa and Joe Giudice. With everyone watching, Gia Giudice, the oldest of four daughters, was forced to grow up fast, blossoming into a young adult in front of the cameras. Today, she's all grown up and pursuing her own dreams and passions, all while dealing with the realities of both her parents doing time in prison following financial fraud.

Gia Giudice tried to launch a music career

When she was just 13, Gia Giudice tried her hand at singing as part of a girl group called 3KT (3 Karat Diamonds). The trio made its debut in October 2014 with a cover of Britney Spears' "Circus," which was accompanied by a provocative music video. In the clip, the aspiring pop star and two friends, Alexa Maetta and Cristianna Cardinale, sing and dance their way through the song in eyebrow-raising outfits that include a bedazzled bustier and gold hot pants.

Giudice's family fully supported the pet project, perhaps because it came as a welcome distraction in the midst of Teresa and Joe's legal drama. A source even revealed to Us Weekly that the mom of four was immediately on board because "she wants Gia to have an activity to distract her. The group is making both Teresa and Gia very happy because they can focus all their attention on something positive." Two months later, 3KT released its second single, an original holiday track dubbed "Season of Joy," followed by the extremely personal "Just 13," an ode to Teresa in which Gia sings, "Mama said be strong/ So against this storm I stand through it all/ It's just a joke to you/ I'm just another hashtag/ And if a camera crew followed you/ What would they see/ You're just like me."

She watched both of her parents go to prison

In March 2014, Teresa and Joe Giudice, pleaded guilty to financial fraud and "admitted hiding assets from bankruptcy creditors and submitting false loan applications to obtain about $5 million in mortgages and construction loans," according to E! News. Joe also pleaded guilty to "failing to pay taxes," and they were both sentenced to prison time in October 2014. The famed housewife completed her 11-month sentence at the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution in Connecticut (the same institution that inspired the hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black) in December 2015.

Three months after Teresa's return home, Joe checked himself into the Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution in New Jersey for a 41-month sentence. Gia was just 15 when her father left, and she posted an emotional farewell to him on Instagram. Sharing a photo from her dad's farewell party, which was held at the Blu Alehouse, the reality TV couple's oldest daughter simply wrote: "Always and forever." Prior to that, she uploaded multiple snaps of her dad, including a selfie taken at a family dinner that she captioned, "Spent my Sunday right." In May 2017, she made sure to wish him a happy birthday, writing, "Happy birthday daddy. love and miss you so much can't wait for you to make me endlessly laugh everyday xoxo."

Teresa Giudice's daughter has been in a serious relationship

Gia Giudice officially entered the dating world in 2016 and was still going strong with her first boyfriend, Nick (pictured), by the following year. Rather than worrying about her little girl growing up too fast, mama Teresa gave her daughter's beau the stamp of approval, telling Page Six, "My oldest does has a boyfriend, her first boyfriend, and I have to say, thank you, God, I got very lucky." Revealing that the pair went to the same school and that Nick was two years older (he was a senior when they met), the reality star gushed to The Daily Dish (via Bravo), "He's a great kid. He's amazing."

Sadly, it seems these two eventually called it quits, considering Gia later attended her senior prom with Frankie Catania — the son of Teresa's RHONJ co-star Dolores Catania — in May 2019, according to Us Weekly. Of course, this immediately sparked dating rumors among the Real Housewives fan base. However, the Giudices and Catanias have yet to publicly comment on the alleged couple's relationship status, as of this writing.

Gia Giudice celebrated her Sweet 16 in serious style

Gia Giudice's family spared absolutely no expense celebrating her Sweet 16! Organizing a massive bash at the Dream Hotel in New York City, Teresa Giudice opted for a purple and silver theme, decking out the hotel's private reception room with purple and silver balloons, a sequin-covered silver backdrop, and letter balloons spelling out Gia's name, reported by People.

The menu included vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, as well as a birthday cake that was two tiers of purple goodness covered in fake diamonds. Although her dad, Joe Giudice couldn't make the celebration because he was in prison, Gia's mom, sisters, and friends were on hand to ensure the night was a memorable one. "Happy Sweet 16th Birthday Gia. You're my pride and joy," Teresa wrote on Instagram. "Hope you had a great time at your party with your friends..."

Teresa Giudice's daughter got her Confirmation

Gia Giudice completed her initiation into the Christian community by receiving Confirmation in April 2017, a major religious milestone that her traditional Italian family celebrated with a huge shindig in New Jersey. Teresa documented the proud moment on Instagram, posing for a sweet snap with her daughter, which she captioned, "My beautiful daughter ... God Bless & I Love You."

The fam also made sure to shout-out fellow TV personality Buddy Valastro, star of TLC's Cake Boss, for providing a pretty dessert adorned with a cross made of black buttercream roses. The teen posted a photo of her gorgeous gateau with the caption: "Thank you @buddyvalastro for the beautiful cake, I loved it."

She's using social media as a business

Like many young starlets these days, Gia Giudice is monetizing her Instagram presence by advertising various products to her hundreds of thousands of followers. In October 2016, she endorsed a Bombay Hair curling iron, gushing, "My curls last all day and right now you guys can get this wand for only $40!" Come November, she was promoting Diff Eyewear's Black Friday sale and by February, she was onto Pura Vida bracelets, claiming, "My friends and I have become obsessed... So cool that they all have special meanings and are hand-made in Costa Rica! They provide jobs to over 100+ local artisans and have donated over 1M+ dollars to charity. Make your own stack and bring down color to your life."

Gia Giudice got flack for promoting a weight loss product

As one of her many Instagram endorsements, Gia Giudice agreed to promote a meal replacement called 310 Shake — a move that left many criticizing the teen, her mother, and the brand. In the now-deleted post, Giudice wrote (via the International Business Times), "Between school and sports I love having a #310shake! It's so much more than a weight loss shake and 40% off @310nutrition products are seriously delicious! Use "my310shipping" for free shipping #ad #310nutrition."

According to the International Business Times, comments began pouring in with one user asking, "What kind of example are you setting for other girls your age? Body image is such a big issue with young girls and you shouldn't promote it. I understand you want to be healthy and lead a healthy lifestyle but there's so many other different ways of doing it. Weight loss drinks are full of sugar and most of them are genetically engineered... def not healthy." Meanwhile, others defended the then 16-year-old with one fan pointing out, "I don't think she's promoting a weight loss shake. She is into cheerleading and gymnastics I'm pretty sure it's about staying healthy. Gia don't let people make you feel bad you're a strong young lady keep it up."

Gia Giudice is dealing with the unthinkable

While the Giudice family was expecting to be reunited with patriarch Joe Giudice following the completion of his 41-month prison sentence, they were dealt a serious blow in October 2018: Pennsylvania's York Immigration Court ruled that he should be deported back to his native Italy upon release from jail, leaving Gia Giudice and her siblings dealing with the unthinkable. 

In March 2019, Joe was released from prison, only to be transferred to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement center in the Keystone State, People confirmed. However, he began the appeal process: first with the Board of Immigration Appeals, which denied his appeal in April 2019, then with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, but was denied that August. Joe later almost lost his chance to fight back when a court ruled that his paperwork asking for an extension to submit a response to the Court of Appeals was non-compliant. While he was eventually granted the extension until October 2019, he's remained in ICE custody and has reportedly not seen his wife and kids since his release from prison.  

As the probability of Gia losing her pops grows, she's remained strong and hasn't forgotten about him one bit, even taking to Instagram to wish him a happy birthday in May 2019. "Happy birthday to the guy who teaches me everyday to keep going and never stop fighting!" she wrote. "You inspire me everyday. Love you so much. Keep smiling. See you soon."

She's officially a college student

She may be daddy's little girl forever, but Gia Giudice is no longer a little girl by any means! In May 2019, she took to Instagram to make quite the exciting announcement and prove she was all grown up. Wearing a Rutgers University t-shirt and the school's colors, she wrote, "It's official... RU 2023." That's right: your favorite little Giudice is going to college! Fast-forward to that August and mom Teresa Giudice was dropping her eldest daughter off at the university for her very first semester. 

Of course, the RHONJ star documented the momentous day on her Instagram Stories. As noted by People, Teresa started off with footage of Gia packing up her things, then saying a tearful goodbye to her dog, Bella, before eventually arriving at her dorm room in New Brunswick, N.J. — just 45 minutes away from the family home in Montville.  

"She packed too much! She has five suitcases!" Teresa joked in one clip, while in another — which was taken inside Gia's dorm room — the proud mom gushed, "Gia! You have a nice view! Wow, beautiful view!" Gia's uncle, Joe Gorga, her grandfather, Frank, and her younger sister, Milania, were all on-hand for the big day. However, dad Joe unfortunately wasn't able to be there, as he was still in ICE custody. As mom Teresa previously told Bravo TV, Gia plans to pursue a degree in law during her studies. Best of luck to her!

Teresa Giudice's daughter is modelling for a makeup giant

If there's one thing Teresa Giudice loves, it's makeup — after all, she revealed to Glamour in 2018 that her go-to beauty routine costs a whopping $22,077 per year. In August 2019, Gia made her mama extra proud when she landed a modelling contract for none other than Stila Cosmetics, whose Stila Color Balm in Olivia is one of Teresa's all-time favorite lipsticks. 

The Real Housewives starlet broke the news on her Instagram Stories (via Bravo). Sharing a number of behind-the-scenes videos, she reveal, "Gia's doing a photoshoot today for Stila!" Wearing a simple white T-shirt, her hair up in a slightly messy bun, Gia looked stunning in nude tones, including a shimmery pink eye and an extra glossy lip. 

As the media outlet reported, the gig sent Teresa down memory lane, as she told her Instagram followers, "Gia, this reminds me of when I used to take you for auditions when you were little. I'm taking you on your last audition before you go to college." 

She got her mom into hot water with champagne

In August 2019, Teresa Giudice faced backlash from her followers when she reposted a TikTok video created by her niece, Olivia Giudice, which showed her and cousin Gia celebrating their college admission by popping bottles. The reality TV star meant the post to be a celebratory one, writing, "Congratulations to my beautiful daughter and niece on their new chapter in life. I'm so excited for both of you to follow your dreams and take what life has to offer you." However, it soon turned into a magnet for criticism. 

The short clip, which starts off with a throwback photo of the cousins as kids, then cuts to them laughing and opening two unidentified bottles that explode the way champagne would, garnered backlash for appearing to imply that the underage girls were celebrating with alcohol.  

"Great example letting minors pop bottles of alcohol," one critic slammed, quipping, "Parent of the year right there." Another wrote, "WOW really? How about something more appropriate for 2 little girls?" Meanwhile, yet another argued, "I understand the pride and happiness to celebrate but it could have been left out of your post! Young girls seeing this will think it's the cool kid thing to do... just simple common sense!" Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time Teresa faced a round of mom-shaming — and since the Internet is the Internet, we doubt it'll be the last.

Teresa Giudice now depends on her eldest daughter Gia

Not only has Gia had to witness both of her parents spend time behind bars, but the couple's eldest daughter has also been forced to grow up fast and become an anchor for her mother. After the reality star completed her 11-month sentence, it was her husband's turn to serve his time, which, in a cruel twist of fate, didn't end the way they had anticipated. 

Through all of the uncertainty surrounding the patriarch's incarceration and his future, "Teresa has really come to lean on and depend on Gia these past few years with Joe away," a source cited by Hollywood Life claimed in September 2019. Noting just how hard Gia's move to college would be for Teresa and the toll it would take on her, the insider added, "While she still has her other three girls around who she loves with all her heart, there was kind of a special bond Teresa has with Gia because she is the oldest and she has been able to talk with Gia about things she may not have been able to with the other girls." 

The source continued, "It was a difficult transitional period with Joe away, but now that Gia has also moved out, Teresa isn't sure what life will be like for her." Luckily for this Real Housewives mom-daughter duo, the other is only a phone call, text, FaceTime away!