Teresa Giudice's Daughters Were the Real Stars of the Real Housewives of New Jersey Season 7 Premiere

Gia Giudice and her sisters broke our hearts as their mother returned home from prison on the Bravo reality show

By Billy Nilles Jul 11, 2016 1:00 AMTags
Real Housewives of New Jersey, RHONJ, Teresa GiudiceBravo

There was a lot to savor in tonight's season seven premiere of The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

After nearly two years (!) off the air, the show had a lot of heavy lifting to do to get us back into the Garden State state of mind. We got caught up with Melissa Gorga and her new entrepreneurial adventure. We welcomed Jacqueline Laurita back into the fold and got a refresher on her dramatic history with her former cast mates. And that's not even mentioning the introduction of the season's two fresh faces, Siggy Flicker and Dolores Catania. (And yes, that's a winking nod at Siggy's absolutely bonkers first scene in the series. Thank you for noticing.)

But, let's be honest: We were all here to witness the return of Teresa Giudice, making her way home to her family after 11 and a half long months behind bars. Who knew, though, that it would be Teresa's daughters who would steal the show and break our hearts in the process?

The Real Housewives of New Jersey Prepares For Teresa Giudice's Homecoming With...Sassy Milania

Throughout their legal struggles, it's been hard to feel too bad for Teresa and her husband Joe. Yes, it's horrible that they would have to be away from their family, but they did, you know, commit crimes. What had gotten lost in the mix, before tonight, however, was the toll it all took on their four children. With the final act of the episode dedicated to Teresa's early morning return, we finally saw—with heartbreaking clarity—just what an ordeal this had been for the young girls.

If you weren't reaching for a tissue as eldest daughter Gia (somehow just only 14 after seemingly being a teenager for all seven seasons of this show) broke down in tears at the sight of her mother back in their home, there might be something wrong with you. It was clear that for the duration of Teresa's time away, Gia was forced to step into a makeshift mother role, caring for her younger sisters Gabriella, Milania, and Audriana—something that no girl just barely in her teens should be forced to take on. And in that moment, as she watched her younger sisters embrace their mother, you could see that feeling of responsibility wash away with her tears. Gia could simply be a girl again. A girl who needed her mother and finally had her back.

Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga Are a United Front in Real Housewives of New Jersey Season 7

Authentic family drama has always been the bread and butter of RHONJ, something that's helped it stand out from the pack. And while this season sure seems packed to the gills with nasty squabbling among the ladies (Jacqueline, in particular, seems to have returned ready to go to war with anyone and everyone willing), it's moments like little Audriana, who certainly doesn't understand the complexities of just why her mom has been gone for nearly a year, announcing with such pure joy, "Mommy, you're home," that keep us invested.

Teresa may be home, but the family now faces the even longer imprisonment of their father Joe. While there's no doubt that it will be difficult to watch at times (that clip in the episode-ending supertease of the usually unflappable Milania in tears is something we're already bracing ourselves for), we'll be there with bated breath. Because at this point, it's like they're our family, too. And like one former RHONJ star once said—we're thick as thieves.

Did Teresa's return home have you in tears too? Let us know in the comments below.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Bravo.

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

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