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Weeks after her release from prison, Teresa Giudice sat down with ABC News' Amy Robach from her home in New Jersey to discuss her 11-and-a-half months served at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut. Good Morning America aired part of her first TV interview since her release Tuesday morning, and in it, she revealed what her time in prison was really like.
Prison was of course very different from the glamorous life Teresa is used to, but living without having her makeup and hair done and wearing fancy clothes didn't break Teresa but showed her true self. "It was Teresa Giudice, the person that I am. Everything that you just said, I don't need any of it. I was fine just being just who I am," Teresa told Amy.
Though the low-security prison in Danbury has been described as something of a "country club," Teresa, who was known as Inmate No.65703-050, said it was quite the opposite. "It was no country club, trust me, at all. There was mold in the bathrooms, there was not running water, constantly. The showers were freezing cold," she said. "It was hell. It was definitely living in hell."
Teresa revealed that she kept herself busy with her job in the kitchen. "I wiped tables three days a week. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, that was my job," she said. "I got paid 12 cents an hour. I spent it at the commissary. My first paycheck was $1.60. The only thing they give you is toilet paper and maxi pads, so I just bought my essentials."
However, the worst part of prison was not what Teresa experienced there, but what she left behind at home. "Just being away from my daughters and Joe, that was the worst part," Teresa told Amy.
Teresa actually found a lot of support in prison, which is something that surprised her. "I have to say the girls were amazing there. Anytime anybody new comes, we all help each other," she explained. "You'd think that people are terrible that are in prison, which I totally don't feel that way now."
That doesn't mean some of Teresa's fellow inmates weren't difficult to get along with. However, the days of Teresa flipping tables when faced with a confrontation seem to be long gone. "I wasn't scared. It's not like I was terrfiied, but I know I could hold my own. But I mean, there was fights that went on," she explained. "Believe me, they were trying to start drama with me, but I just walked away."
And being on The Real Housewives of New Jersey for six going on seven seasons didn't really prepare Teresa for all of the drama she would face in prison. "It was nothing like being on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, let me tell you," Teresa said. "And I thought Real Housewives of New Jersey was drama. When you go to prison, there's a lot of drama."
Teresa also addressed her husband Joe Giudice beginning his 41-month prison sentence in March and the possibility of his subsequent deportation. "We're just taking one day at a time. I'm just happy to be home," she said. "We're just enjoying every moment, like living in the moment. We really are."
Later in the GMA broadcast, Teresa spoke with Amy for her first live TV interview since her release. She took fans behind-the-scenes on Twitter before they sat down together on GMA.
Though Teresa has been out of prison for more than a month, her appearance on GMA was one of the first times she was really out and about since her home confinement ended last Friday. "It feels great to be home with my daughters, with my husband. Even though I was on house arrest, I was able to do things, but I just had to let the probation officer know what I was doing," Teresa explained on GMA. "There's no schedule. I can take my kids to all their activities, because that was my biggest thing, like I just wanted to drive them to all their activities. Like last night, I didn't get home 'til past 8 driving them all over. Call me 'Miss Taxi.'"
Teresa also gave us an update on the status of the more than $400,000 of restitution she had to pay off and the onetime foreclosure of her Montville Township, New Jersey home. "Restitution's paid off," she said. "My house is not in foreclosure anymore, thank God, and everything's good."
Luckily, Teresa has learned an important lesson throughout all of this, which she plans on teaching her four daughters. "Before you sign something, make sure you completely understand it and read everything," she said.
Teresa also explained that she doesn't blame Joe for putting her in this situation, even though he has blamed himself in the past. "There was legal people around us also when I signed those papers," Teresa told Amy. "It's something that happened, and I'm not gonna look back. I'm just gonna move forward and look at the future."
In fact, Teresa said her and her husband's legal woes and prison sentences have actually strengthened their marriage. "If anything, it's made it stronger. It really has," she said. "And we've been married 16 years, and it's going strong."
Though she lived a luxurious life before prison, the only luxury Teresa couldn't live without while serving time was her family. "Just my daughters and Joe," Teresa said was the only thing she couldn't live without while in prison. "I didn't care about the food. I didn't care about anything. I didn't care. I didn't care about clothes. That was fine. Not wearing makeup every day. I just missed my daughters. They're my life. I mean, I live for them. It's amazing after you give birth, you can't live without them."
To keep her mind off of missing her family, Teresa passed the time by staying active. "I worked out three times a day. I did yoga. Yoga changed my life. I'm gonna get certified in yoga. I just went to my first class," she said. "I did a lot of Pilates, did a lot of running, so we had a great track, thank God for that. We were able to go outside."
In addition to opening up about her life through her new tell-all memoir Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again, which is out now, Teresa teased that she has nothing to hide when she returns to RHONJ later this year. "I'm an open book. I'm gonna share my whole life," she revealed. "And when you read my book, everyone's gonna get to know me from my upbringing to my 20s to when I got married to when I gave birth and how it was when I was away and being on The Real Housewives of New Jersey."
The rest of Teresa's sit-down interview with Amy will air on Nightline Tuesday night on ABC. While we wait to hear more about Teresa's life then and now, take a look through these pics of her through the years, below.
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