The Real Housewives of New Jersey star was released from federal prison in 2015 after serving 11 months of a 15-month sentence for fraud. Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli are currently facing charges that could result in up to 45 years in prison. They have pleaded not guilty.
“I’m sure she’ll make it through,” Teresa, 47, told Entertainment Tonight. “I feel women are strong. We have babies, we do it all.”
“I’m sure whatever outcome it is, I’m sure she’ll be fine with it,” she added.
Though her prison sentence is behind her, Teresa’s own legal drama isn’t over. Her husband Joe Giudice, 49, began his 41-month sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud in March 2016, all while the possibility that he’d be deported to Italy after doing time loomed. (Though he has lived in the United States since he was a child, he never obtained American citizenship.) A judge ruled to deport Joe in October 2018, but he’s been appealing that decision ever since; first from prison, and then from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center after his release in March.
Due to the poor conditions inside the ICE facility, though, Joe requested to go to Italy to await his third and final deportation appeal. He flew to Europe last month.
Teresa and Joe share daughters Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 14, and Audriana, 10. The close-knit family has been apart for almost four years as the reality stars served back-to-back prison sentences, and remain apart with Joe currently living in Italy.
“As a mom, you don’t want to see your kids suffer,” Teresa recently told PEOPLE. “And this whole thing — me and Joe can make it through anything. We’re adults. But it affects the kids. And that’s what breaks my heart. That’s why I was kind of really resentful towards Joe and I’m like, ‘Why’d you make this happen to our kids too?'”
As for how Loughlin should handle the stressful time with her own children — daughters Olivia Jade, 20, and Isabella Rose, 21 — Teresa advised being upfront and dealing with the situation as a family.
“Her daughters are older … You know, she did it for her daughters and, I mean, her daughters are grateful for what she did,” Teresa told ET. “She was just looking out for her daughters and trying to get them into a good school. But I guess that’s it, just be open with them, and whatever the outcome is, it is. You have to deal with it and move forward.”
In March, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts indicted Loughlin and her husband in the shocking nationwide admissions scam along with nearly 50 other parents, coaches, exam proctors and admissions counselors.
Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, were charged with money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud for allegedly paying $500,000 to admissions consultant William Singer to falsely designate their daughters as recruits to the USC crew team, though neither actually participated in the sport.
The couple is awaiting trial after pleading not guilty.
Last month, the two were hit with an additional federal charge, each with one count of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery. It is unclear when they will enter a plea to the latest charge.
A source recently told PEOPLE that Loughlin is “about to break” under the pressure of the court case. “She just wanted what was best for her daughters,” the source said. “And it has turned into an ongoing nightmare.”