The 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' star opens up to ET about the impact the deportation order has had on their family.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey star recently sat down with ET's Brooke Anderson in New York City for her first interview since news broke that her husband had been ordered to leave the United States at the end of his 41-month prison sentence, which he started in March 2016.
According to the 46-year-old reality star, the situation has been hard for the couple's four daughters -- Gia, 17, Gabriella, 14, Milania, 12, and Audriana, 9. However, some of her kids aren't letting it keep them down.
"My second daughter, she's just like me, she's very positive," Teresa said of Gabriella. "She's like, 'We're going to fight this right, Ma?' I said, 'Yeah we're going to fight this.' She was like, 'OK!' and that's how she was," Teresa shared.
As for Milania, she was "hysterical" when she heard the news. "She was, like, a mess. Yeah, it was sad," Teresa said. "It's so hard… it is affecting her at school, you know, just everything."
"It's been a lot for kids to take this all in," she added. "It's sad for the children because they're innocent in all of this, and they're probably thinking, 'Why is this happening?'"
The RHONJ star explained that her children understand and appreciate why their father is serving time in jail, but the added punishment of deportation is what truly upsets them.
"They're smart, so they get it. Like, 'OK, you made a mistake. He's doing what he has to do. Then now why isn't my dad coming home?'" she shared.
Teresa revealed that she hasn't yet explained the situation to her youngest daughter, because she doesn't think she would quite understand what was happening or why.
As for her eldest daughter, Gia has been one of the most outspoken supporters of her father and the staunchest critic of the deportation order.
"She's been amazing," Teresa said, reflecting on a recent message Gia posted to Instagram alongside a childhood photo of herself and her father hanging out and smiling for the camera.
"This is one of my favorite pictures of me and my dad," Gia wrote in the caption. "my father is no threat to society he is one of the most warm hearted people I know, he would never harm a soul. He puts everyone else before himself. I know who my father is and I think many of you do too. My father did his time and learned from his mistakes. Isn’t being in there supposed to make you realize your mistakes so you can become a better person? And that’s exactly what my father did."
"We have so many plans to do as a family when he gets out," she continued. "I need my father to be here. My father belongs with us and his entire family. My father came into this country when he was one years old, the United States is the only country he knows."
Teresa said she's proud of her children and how they've handled the situation, but admitted that she feels guilty for not being able to protect them emotionally from the pain they're experiencing.
"Of course I do, and so does Joe," she shared. "I mean, I'm sure on him it's even heavier."
Teresa and Joe pleaded guilty to multiple fraud charges in 2014, and she was subsequently sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. The reality star began her sentence in January 2015, and was released early, exiting prison in December that same year. About three months later, Joe began his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey, where he's now served 31 months of his 41-month sentence.
On Oct. 10, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed to ET that Immigration Judge John Ellington ordered Joe removed from the United States at the end of his prison sentence, and he has less than 30 days to appeal the decision. The family is currently in the process of fighting the order.
Ultimately, Teresa said it has been "heartwrenching" to watch her children struggle with everything that's been going on, and she wishes she "could take it all away."
While she cannot control her husband's fate or looming deportation, Teresa explained that the legal drama her family is now facing won't be featured on RHONJ in future episodes.
"You are not going to see anything about that on the show," Teresa said, explaining that she doesn't "want to discuss it" on camera, "and you're not supposed to discuss anything legal."
During her candid sit-down interview, Teresa also opened up about whether or not she'd ever consider divorcing Joe if they are unable to successfully combat the deportation order. Check out the video below to hear more.
A new season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey returns Nov. 7 on Bravo.
Tune in to Monday's Entertainment Tonight for more with Teresa, including the never-before-heard story of how Joe handled the judge's ruling, and if the family blames The Real Housewives of New Jersey for this setback. Check here for local listings.