Teresa Giudice: A Look Inside The Bravo Star's Life

Whether you're a diehard fan of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," or simply a pop culture observer, you likely know all about Bravo star, Teresa Giudice. Since joining the first season of the hit Bravo series in 2009, the reality staple has become a household name. In that time, she has given viewers a front-row seat to the trials and tribulations of her life, including her divorce from her husband of 20 years, Joe Giudice, and the death of her beloved parents. Unfortunately, she also gained additional notoriety when she spent 11 months in prison after pleading guilty to tax fraud in 2014.

Teresa can also take credit for helping to boost another Bravo superstar's massive fame — Andy Cohen, himself! During the Season 2 reunion of "RHONJ," the star threw the "Watch What Happens Live" host back into his chair during one of her infamous outbursts against frenemy, Danielle Staub. As Cohen explained in Dave Quinn's book, "Not All Diamonds and Rose," the shove took his fame to the next level. "When it aired, I was in the Hamptons, and when I went back to the city, everybody on the street knew who I was," he explained. "... It was like that push actually kind of ... made me famous. It was incredible. Teresa inadvertently wound up making me famous!"

While her legend certainly precedes her, there's a lot more to know about Teresa Giudice than you may realize. Flip a table and let's dive in. 

Is she now known as Teresa Giudice-Ruelas?

In August 2022, Teresa Giudice enjoyed an epic wedding to Luis "Louie" Ruelas (featuring an equally epic $10,000 hairdo). Still, as of November 2022, the "Real Housewives" star hadn't changed her surname to reflect that of her new husband. Born Teresa Gorga, the star changed her last name in 1999 when she wed her first husband, Joe Giudice, with whom she shares four daughters. Now that she's newly remarried, Teresa made the unconventional move to keep the surname of her ex-husband — apparently at the suggestion of her new hubby, Ruelas.

The reality star revealed the big decision during an interview with the "Slut Pig" podcast. When asked if she'd be changing her last name, she shared, "I wanted to. Luis doesn't want me to." She went on to explain that he reminded her how important her name is, "He's like, 'Babe, you're known as Teresa Giudice ... Your daughters' names are Giudice.'" That sweet reminder earned major points in Teresa's book, who added, "He's just amazing."

While she may not drop Guidice from her official title, the star suggested to Us Weekly that she was thinking about hyphenating her former surname with that of Ruelas'. In a since-deleted Instagram post (via The U.S. Sun) from July 2022, eagle-eyed fans noticed that she was already rocking the engraved letters, "TGR," on the front of her suitcase –- suggesting that she was certainly toying with, if not already adopting, a double-barrel surname.

She's appeared on her favorite show ever ... and it's not RHONJ

Reality stars have their own favorite reality shows, too! Teresa Giudice is a self-proclaimed big fan of another long-running reality staple, telling Us Weekly in 2011,  "My favorite TV show is 'Dancing With the Stars." But unlike other fans of the series, 11 years later she got to be a part of the magic. 

In September 2022, it was revealed that Giudice would be joining the cast of Season 31. Paired with Pasha Pashkov, the reality star sadly didn't last long on the series and she was eliminated during week two. Despite her quick run, Giudice only had nice things to say about the experience, telling Page Six, "Finally, my dream came true. I've always wanted to dance. I did two dances in front of a live audience and it was pretty amazing. It was great."

Giudice originally turned down an opportunity to appear on the reality show in 2016. She had recently been released from prison when ABC offered her a spot on the popular series, with a reported six-figure payday, according to Page Six. A source told the outlet that Giudice had some good reasons for opting out of joining the cast, revealing, "She feels like she needs to spend time with her family and be there for her children right now." 

She can play the saxophone

Everyone has their own hidden talents and Teresa Giudice's might just surprise you — the Bravo star can play the saxophone. She originally shared the unique skillset with US Weekly, revealing the fun fact during one of the outlet's 25 Things You Don't Know About Me segments. During a 2022 episode of "Watch What Happens Live," host, Andy Cohen, revealed that the "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" star started playing the instrument in elementary school. Naturally, she also showed off her skills during a segment in which Giudice played a game called "Truth or Toot," where she could play the saxophone in lieu of giving answers to some shady questions about her co-stars. 

She also apparently utilizes the instrument for romantic reasons, too. Giudice told Bravo Insider that her new husband, Luis Ruelas, gave her a brand new saxophone as a gift for their one-year dating anniversary. In return, she was making her very own romantic gesture by learning some tunes from his absolute favorite musical artist. "I want to learn a song from Sade," Giudice shared. As noted by the outlet, "RHONJ" cast member, Margaret Josephs, had discussed Ruelas' love for the soulful British jazz musician in another episode of "Watch What Happens Live," sharing, "I mean, he quotes Sade when he professes his love for Teresa."

She's joined the Christmas movie club

Did you know Teresa Giudice scored a role in a Christmas movie? Though it sounds like fiction, it's a fact. In October 2022, Giudice took to Instagram to make the surprising announcement that she was to star in the VH1 holiday flick, "Fuhgeddabout Christmas," writing, "Exciting news! I'm in a Christmas movie!! ... I'm honored to be part of this project with so many talented people." She went on to rave about some of her co-stars, including actor Justina Valentine, "Mob Wives" star Renee Graziano, and blogger Perez Hilton. Valentine reciprocated the love, commenting, "Teresa thank you so much for being a part of our movie. You were amazing".

Alongside a carousel of fun photos from the set, Giudice also shared a screenshot of the film's synopsis. Accordingly, "Fuhgeddabout Christmas," follows the tale of Valentine's Italian American superstar as she seeks to add some harmony to her chaotic work-life balance by gifting her family the best Christmas imaginable. Naturally, she recruits her famous friends to help her ... as well as Santa and his elves.

This actually won't be Giudice's first acting role. She previously had a small uncredited role as "Shocked Stripper" in the 1997 crime drama, "Donnie Brasco," and appeared on an episode of NBC's "Mercy" in 2009.

Teresa actually has a background in fashion

Long before she was a housewife, Teresa Giudice was actually carving out a fashion career for herself. She attended Berkeley College, where she studied fashion marketing and management. After graduation, she put her fashion skills to the test and landed a job as a buyer at Macy's in New York City. Fans learned more about this part of her life during her time on "The Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip," when she bonded with "The Real Housewives of New York City" star, Ramona Singer, over their time as Macy's buyers. Impressed, the lifestyle entrepreneur told Giudice, "Now I know you're really smart because to be a buyer for Macy's is major." 

Both women revealed that they shared some uncanny similarities during their time with the iconic department store — they worked in the same building in New York City's Herald Square and they both specialized in handbags. After leaving Macy's, both women also moved on to work for Calvin Klein, albeit in different departments. While Giudice specialized in handbags, Singer was in sportswear. 

With the experience of working for two massive companies under her belt, Giudice eventually launched her own fashion and accessories line, called TG Fabulicious. According to Glamour, the collection for women and young girls included graphic tees boasting phrases like "Happy Wife Happy Life" and "Fabulicious."

Teresa Giudice didn't sign a prenup

Though her first husband, Joe Giudice, got her into a world of financial troubles that resulted in an 11-month prison stint, Teresa Giudice still believes in love. So much so, that she opted to forego a prenuptial agreement for her wedding to Luis Ruelas. The topic was first brought up during an appearance on "Watch What Happens Live" in February 2022. When Andy Cohen asked if she had any plans to get a prenup, Giudice answered plainly, "No." 

The show host seemed confused by the star's reluctance to protect herself financially, and it was surprisingly Giudice's daughter, Gia Giudice, who came to her defense. She revealed that her father, Joe, made Teresa sign a prenup ahead of their 1999 nuptials, noting, "My dad really did make her sign a prenup before the wedding ... I don't know, I think my mom she's so high up that she's not gonna want to take anything from him. And I think he would never want to take from her." While Teresa insisted that this was truly the case, Cohen regardless urged her, "I know, but you put it in writing."

After her wedding, Giudice revealed that she hadn't taken his advice. During an October episode of "Watch What Happens Live" filmed during BravoCon, she confirmed that they didn't sign a prenup ahead of their wedding, summing up her decision by simply stating, "True love." 

Yoga helped Teresa Giudice survive prison

In March 2014, Teresa Giudice and her then-husband, Joe Giudice, pleaded guilty to several counts of fraud including bankruptcy fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and failure to pay taxes. That plea resulted in an eventual 15-month prison sentence for Teresa and 41 months for Joe in October, per Page Six. After their sentencing, the couple appeared on "Watch What Happens Live" (via CBS News) where Teresa told Andy Cohen that she was shocked by her punishment, "You know, it was very unexpected," she shared. "I don't even know what to say. I really don't know what to say." 

Teresa reported for her sentence in January 2015 and was eventually released that December, just two days before Christmas. During those 11 months, she picked up an unexpected habit to help pass the time, telling Women's Health, "Yoga helped me get through it all." Once she left prison, Teresa kept up the yoga practice and even decided to take it a step further, telling the outlet, "I love it so much that I want to get certified in it ... I have, I would say, a few more months to go. I'm just taking my time because I have four daughters. It's a lot, but I'm definitely going to complete it." 

She's a bestselling author

Aside from being a prolific reality star, Teresa Giudice has another big accomplishment under her belt — she's a published author. The star's first release was a cookbook, titled "Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It — Live La Bella Vita and Look Great, Too!" which hit shelves in 2010. Three more cookbooks followed in 2011, 2012, and 2013 — "Fabulicious!: Teresa's Italian Family Cookbook," "Fabulicious!: Fast and Fit: Teresa's Low-Fat, Super-Easy Italian Recipes," and "Fabulicious!: On the Grill: Teresa's Smoking Hot Backyard Recipes." 

After putting out multiple cookery volumes, Giudice released a much-anticipated memoir in February 2016, titled, "Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again." The tell-all book covered her time in prison, and was a no holds barred account of the New Jersey native's life. "I wanted to get my story out there. I know everyone knows me, part of me, from being on 'Real Housewives of New Jersey,' but now they get to the real Teresa Gorga Giudice," she told Bravo Insider.

The book reached the number two spot on the New York Times Bestsellers List, prompting her to release another one the following year. "Standing Strong" picked up where "Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again" left off, covering her time as a single mom while then-husband Joe Giudice served his sentence, and arrived on shelves in October 2017

She's a reality show veteran

Aside from starring on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" since 2009, Teresa Giudice has appeared in a wide range of other reality shows. Her time in prison gave her family a spinoff on Bravo, with the three-part special, "Teresa Checks In," airing in 2015. She also took part in Season 1 of "The Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip" in 2022, where she vacationed with housewives from other franchises while the cameras rolled. 

Giudice has also appeared in non-Bravo shows, too. Most notably, back in 2012, she joined the cast of the reality competition series, "Celebrity Apprentice," where she competed in the fifth installment of the show. Giudice managed to make it to the top five before hearing the dreaded words from former show host, Donald Trump, "You're fired." Speaking to HuffPost, the reality star compared her experience on the show to filming "RHONJ. "It's totally different. We are working 20 hours a day [on 'Celebrity Apprentice.'] Getting up at 4:30 a.m. and sometimes working until 2:00 in the morning," she explained. "But overall I have to say it was an amazing experience and if I had to do it all over again I would. I now feel like I can conquer anything." 

During her time on "Celebrity Apprentice," the reality star raised $60,000 for the charity The NephCure Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving treatment and cures for the kidney disease, Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), and Nephrotic Syndrome.