Teresa Giudice is putting on a brave face for the sake of her family.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey star and her husband Joe Giudice face a 41-count indictment alleging they engaged in mail and wire fraud, bank fraud and bankruptcy fraud from 2001 to 2011. Court documents also allege that Joe failed to submit tax returns for 2004 through 2008. In total, the Giudices allegedly obtained more than $5 million in bank loans due to fraudulent and falsified paperwork.
"I can't just be upset and crawl up in a ball and just go in a room and—and lock the door. I can't. I'm a mom. I have four daughters," Teresa, 41, told ABC News on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Asked what she knows about the allegations, she said, "I would love to answer all your questions, and one day I will. But, you know, out of respect of the process, I'm going to let, you know, the legal matters play out in court."
The Giudices pleaded not guilty, and at the request of their lawyers, have asked to be tried separately.
If their request for separate trials is granted, Joe will testify to his wife's non-involvement in the alleged criminal activity. "My oldest does know something's going on. But, you know, we say, 'Mommy and daddy, you know, have a legal team that's handling it,'" Teresa said, referring Gia Giudice, 13.
If the Giudices are convicted, the reality stars each face up to 30 years in prison. Joe, who was born in Italy and is not a U.S. citizen, could be deported. "You've got to be strong-minded, number one," the former pizza parlor owner said of his apparent bravado. "If you're weak, you're not going to make it."
It's not just Teresa and Joe making headlines these days. Their eldest daughter came under fire on Monday, Feb. 3, after tweeting a gay slur during a conversation with one of her 97,500+ followers.
A Twitter user wrote a seemingly innocuous message to Gia that read, "I miss texting you everyday." The teen reality star sniped back, "@nickslaaen who's this chick u little f-----t." It's since been deleted.
Joe explained his own use of the word during a Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion special. "Growing up, we always used the word. We call each other f-----t, homo or whatever. Doesn't mean anything," he told host Andy Cohen. "We were friends. We call each other names all the time. It doesn't mean were gay. We just would use that word for whatever reason. That just was in our vocabulary...It was just a word that everybody used."
He said he no longer uses the word "because it's not appropriate and people don't want to hear that."