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Teresa Giudice has had to face a number of blows in the public eye, but she's managed to stay strong through all of the ups and downs this past year.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star opened up to E! News' Catt Sadler about her time behind bars at the Danbury Correctional Facility in Connecticut and how she was able to cope during her prison sentence.

"I wanted them to live their life, I didn't want them to be sad," the author of Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again explained when asked about her routine family visits.

"When they came to see me they always smiled, they told me things that were going on. I was lifting them up and they were lifting me up."

But Teresa admitted that "the first visit was the hardest" and that once her daughters and husband left she felt like she "wanted to die."

"I think we all teared up and my husband [Joe Giudice] broke down every single time he came to see me."

So how did Teresa handle watching her family go through such a difficult time?

"Growing up…My dad didn't want to see tears growing up. I was not allowed to cry," the mother of four revealed.

"So that's why I'm really strong that way, too. I didn't see my parents cry at all…So that's why it takes a lot for me to cry."

For more on our exclusive interview with the Real Housewives of New Jersey star be sure to tune into E! News at 7 & 11 p.m. tonight only on E! Also catch Teresa Giudice on Watch What Happens Live tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET & PT on Bravo.

(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)