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Joe Giudice Checks Himself Into Fort Dix Federal Prison to Begin 41-Month Sentence

by Zach Seemayer 9:45 AM PDT, March 23, 2016
Playing Joe Giudice Checks Himself Into Fort Dix Federal Prison to Begin 41-Month Sentence

Joe Giudice checked himself in to the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey Wednesday morning to begin his 41-month prison sentence.

"Joe Giudice surrendered himself to the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix today at 12 pm to begin serving his sentence," Giudice family attorney, James J. Leoanrd Jr told ET. "His brother, his sister and several other members of the Giudice family, as well as myself, were present when he turned himself in to the prison, including Teresa. It was obviously a very emotion day, but this is a very strong family with a tremendous support system and they will get through this, just as they did when Teresa was away."

WATCH: Why Joe Giudice Says Going to Jail is 'the Easy Part'

Prior to turning himself in, the immediate family gathered at the Giudices' house to send him off. "There were a lot of tears and also a lot of laughter," an eyewitness tells ET. Leading his family in a toast, Joe told the group, "Don't worry about me, I'll be OK. Here's to health and happiness for everybody. Salud."

Joe also gave his wife, Teresa, a hug and a kiss outside their home in front of Bravo cameras as the couple got in the backseat of the car taking them to Fort Dix.

Photo: AKM-GSI

Joe begins serving his time three months after Teresawas released from prison following a year-long stint behind bars. In 2014, the couple pled guilty to multiple counts of bankruptcy fraud. The court allowed them to serve their sentences at different times, so one of them could remain at home with their four daughters.

The 43-year-old reality star celebrated his final hours of freedom with his loved ones, throwing a "small, personal party for close family and friends," a source told ET.

Earlier this month, Joe and Teresa sat down with ET, where they addressed the possibility that Joe could be facing deportation after concluding his prison sentence.

"Anything can happen, you know? There is nothing in life that is certain," Joe shared. "We will deal with that when I get out."

WATCH: Joe Giudice Ready for 'Anything' as Threat of Deportation Looms Over Prison Sentence

According to Joe, the anticipation of going to jail is likely worse than actually serving time.

"I think that's the easy part -- going to jail," Joe explained. "I think it's what they put you through before you go. As you know, they try to mentally and physically break you down, you know what I mean? So that's I think the hardest part of everything. I think going to jail is the easy part."

Although his wife might disagree. Teresa, 43, has been very candid about the things she saw and experienced while imprisoned at the Danbury Correctional Facility in Connecticut, comparing the experience to "living in hell."

WATCH: Teresa Giudice Says She's 'Happy to be Home' in First Post-Prison Red Carpet Interview

Teresa said she'll make the hour and a half trip to visit Joe at least once a week, but the couple bemoaned the fact that conjugal visits are not permitted in New Jersey federal prisons.

The couple and their children did not get much time to reconnect in the short three months between Teresa's return and Joe's departure, but Teresa knows from experience exactly what she's going to miss about life at home with her husband.

"I'm going to miss sleeping with him at night and cuddling with him," Teresa said. "I mean, he keeps me warm."

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