Real Housewives of New Jersey’s table-flipping star Teresa Giudice and her spouse “Juicy Joe,” as he’s known to fans, were in federal court in Newark, N.J. on Oct. 2, where they were sentenced to time in federal prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of fraud, including mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud. Whether one believes the sentence was too harsh, too lenient, or just what the couple deserved, it is easy to forget some of the good things Giudice herself has done. So, here is a reminder that human beings are complex creatures and a recollection, in light of the recent fraudulent activity and sentencing, of some of Teresa’s finer moments.
Hard-working – When Teresa Giudice was one of the contestants on Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice, it seems no one could deny her one trait–she worked hard. Lisa Lampanelli, comedian and fellow contestant, said of Giudice that she “worked her ass off” and harder than many others on the show, whom she declined to name. Similarly, Aubrey O’Day, singer and another fellow contestant, pointed out that while filming the show, Teresa was going back and forth between Manhattan and her home in New Jersey, while caring for her four daughters and still showing up each morning ready to work.
Charitable – Hard work aside, her appearance on Celebrity Apprentice is among the good things she has done because, of course, she was playing not for herself, but for a charity that she described as being close to her heart. The Real Housewives of New Jersey star chose to compete for The NephCure Foundation after meeting a little boy who suffers from the rare kidney disease, Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and Nephrotic Syndrome. As Teresa has pointed out, there is no cure and very little funding and awareness. Over the years, the foundation has tweeted its appreciation for Giudice lending her time to various events and fundraisers on behalf of the organization.
Good Mom – It has been pointed out over and over again on social media and elsewhere that if Teresa Giudice were a good mother, she would have thought of her children before committing the crimes for which she is now going to prison. However, other viewers of the show, including fellow cast mates, have come to her defense, arguing that it is obvious how much she loves her children and is indeed a good mother. Dina Manzo wrote in her blog on the Bravo site earlier this year that Teresa should be proud of her parenting and Teresa’s eldest daughter, Gia, is an example of that good parenting. And, as one Twitter user stated, “I only started watching cause (sic) I fell in love [with] how much of a good mom she is.”
Psychologist Steven Pinker has said: “Human nature is complex. Even if we do have inclinations toward violence, we also have inclination to empathy, to cooperation, to self-control.” Simply put, no one person is all good or bad, including some table-flipping, sometimes foul-mouthed reality television stars who have done some very bad things but also some good things, too. Some characters are just complex. It is that simple, really.
Opinion By Jennifer Fernicola Ronay