ET spoke with the reality show's cast at Patsy's Italian restaurant in New York City on Tuesday, where they offered an update on how Mike is doing since beginning his eight-month sentence for tax evasion in January.
"Mike's doing really well," Jenni "JWoww" Farley said, as Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Ronni Ortiz-Magro agreed.
"He's doing better than me. He literally, like, eats well, he goes to the gym twice a day. He gets a haircut twice a week," Vinny Guadagnino added.
"He looks refreshed. And his mindset never changes," Vinny continued. "Like, we email him and I always think that one day he's going to be like, 'Not having a good day.' He's always making me laugh, he's like, 'Yo, I saw you on TMZ,' because they watch TV and stuff. He's still our biggest supporter."
Mike celebrated his 36th birthday on July 4 at the Otisville Federal Correctional Institution in New York, and while some of his Jersey Shore co-stars have paid him recent visits, they can't wait to give him a proper party when he's released on Sept. 12.
"He's like, 'I can't wait to get home, little sis. I miss everybody.' So positive. I hope we do get to celebrate his birthday when he gets home though," Jenni said. "Even though it's passed, like, we have to have a big party for him."
Mike and his brother, Marc Sorrentino, pleaded guilty to tax evasion in January 2018. They were both initially indicted in September 2014 for tax offenses, with additional charges added in April 2017. Though Mike has been behind bars for nearly seven months, he'll still be a big part of Jersey Shore Family Vacation season three. Cameras were present as he awaited his verdict, and Jenni and Vinny were in the courtroom with their friend.
"I got the chills," Jenni recalled of what it was like filming through Mike's legal troubles.
"We felt like we were going to a funeral. We didn't know what to expect with Mike, and he's like our brother, so it was terrifying for all of us," added Snooki, who was watching the news at a restaurant with Angelina Pivarnick. The two "flipped out" when a reporter announced someone had received an 18-month sentence. They thought it was Mike, but it was actually his brother, Marc.
"We look back, and he's doing OK now. But when he was going to the courtroom that day, we didn't know what his future was going to be like. We were hoping he wouldn't be sent away," Vinny explained. "They could've just said, 'You're getting house arrest,' or whatever it is, but unfortunately he got time."
For Jenni, Mike's sentencing is the hardest moment to live back. "The hard-hitting moments are, like, really hard," she said.
"Like, real-life events," Nicole added.
For Vinny, it was Mike's wedding to his longtime love, Lauren Pesce, just months before he turned himself in, that was "bittersweet." "It was so amazing that we're all doing this together, but we had that, like, impending doom in the back of our heads that he has to go away. So that was sad, because even in the moments that you want to be all happy, you're like, 'Damn, like, he still has to go do this,'" he remembered.
"Remember the day after his wedding we had breakfast with him?" Jenni asked. "It set in that there's no longer, like, a really fun moment to look up to and, like, look forward to, which was his wedding. Now the next moment that we were looking forward to was his actual jail date. Their court date happened, the sentencing, and then, like, his jail, so it kind of was like, 'All right. Now we don't want to speed up time, because he's going to go away."
Vinny still looks back on Mike's wedding with fond memories. "I've never been a best man at a wedding and Mike has been through a lot over the past 10 years, or whatever, and I know, like, his circle became really small. For all of us, we're like each other's family now. That wasn't for the show. That's like -- we truly are all we have," he shared.
"It meant a lot for us, especially with Mike, because obviously everyone's seen me and Mike's roller coaster throughout how many seasons," Ronnie added. "And the fact that over the last year that we've gotten so close, it was actually an honor to be a part of [his wedding], honestly."
Jersey Shore Family Vacation returns Thursday at 8 p.m. on MTV. See more on the cast in the video below.