On the Real Housewives of New Jersey after show that posted Wednesday, Teresa recalled that a week before she and Joe walked down the aisle 20 years ago, she wanted to cancel their “I dos.”
“I wanted to call off my wedding, but then my mom’s like, ‘No, you can’t do that,’ ” Teresa, 47, said. “It was a week before!”
Her motivation? Joe’s request that she sign a prenuptial agreement, something she didn’t want to do.
“His cousin called off a wedding ’cause the guy made her sign a prenup,” Teresa noted. “I just was hurt over it. He wasn’t a prenup kind of guy. Like, [if he had family money], then I could see him making me sign a prenup. … I would have no problem. I’d sign on the dotted line!”
“I was never the type of woman who ever asked a guy for anything. If I wanted something, I bought it myself. I was never that type of girl. You know how girls look for sugar daddies? I was never that person,” Teresa also said. “I made great money. As a matter of fact, we bought a piece of property together, I even put half the money up.”
Teresa had first dropped news of the prenup during a fight with Joe, 49, that aired on an episode of RHONJ earlier this month. She revealed there that she “wasn’t going to go through with” her nuptials, but “being Italian, I have old school parents, and it’s an embarrassing thing to call off a wedding.”
Instead, she agreed to sign the prenup on one condition: that a clause be added voiding the prenup if there was ever infidelity. “I didn’t even read it, I just said, ‘I want you to put one thing in there. If you ever cheat, the prenup is void,’ ” Teresa said.
Joe, for his part, revealed that he was reluctant about walking down the aisle with Teresa, too. “Like I even wanted to get married? No,” he told her.
Teresa and Joe, who were childhood sweethearts, went on to tie the knot in 1999 and parent four children: Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 14, and Audriana, 10.
Just in December, a source close to the family exclusively told PEOPLE the two had come to the decision to separate, but were not yet making any plans for divorce.
“They agreed that each had to move on,” the insider said. “They are doing so amicably and very slowly. Joe has been out on a few dates, Teresa has not. She has been too busy with the girls, with work obligations and taking care of her father. She is happy for Joe. They have been very friendly with one another and are very supportive of each other’s happiness. They still love one another, but … neither is interested in a long distance relationship.”
The Giudices have been living apart since March 2016, when Joe began his 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud (Teresa had served a little over 11 months in prison for the same crimes, and was released on Dec. 23, 2015).
Though Joe was released in March 2019, he chose to move into the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Clinton County Correctional Center in Pennsylvania as he fought to appeal a judge’s deportation order.
He has lived in the United States since he was a child, but never obtained American citizenship. Two appeals have been denied, and one is still pending.
Since then, Joe requested to go to Italy to await that final appeal. He’s living in Salerno, Italy. Teresa took the girls over there in November, for a family visit that will be shown later this season. The girls this year were also back with their dad over Christmas, though Teresa stayed in New Jersey to take care of her ailing father.
Meanwhile, though they’ve gone their separate ways, Joe and Teresa have remained in a good place.
The former couple have not put together any plans for a divorce, a source previously told PEOPLE, with both of them staying focused on their daughters.
Earlier this month, Joe shared a slideshow of throwback photos on Instagram, opening up about his future with his family amid his turbulent year.
His pictures included a range of photos from old images of him and Teresa at the start of their relationship to more recent photos of their recent family reunion in Italy.
“Don’t fall in! Whatever happens in our future, remember we were friends to begin with. We will always stay strong. It’s not distance that breaks a couple, it’s actions!” he wrote in his caption, referring to his marriage.
“I’m growing and learning more from today’s generation. egocentrism was thing in baby boomer and gen x era. Now, Millennials believe in joint effort not separating roles. Not, that I didn’t love my era I see the ego thing got in my way like a trap. one bedroom is good,” he added. “Today, simplicity, girls and family first, and actions speak louder than a car or big things.💪🇮🇹👏.”
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.