Teresa Giudice wants to set the record straight: She did not cheat on her husband Joe.
On Wednesday, a clip for the upcoming season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey appeared to show Teresa, 47, admitting she “hooked up” with someone. Now, her lawyer is explaining the backstory behind the controversial comment — and says her eldest daughter Gia called him upset about the supertease.
“She and her sisters have watched both of her parents go to prison, they are right now dealing with the deportation of her father, and then the headline yesterday is that her mother admitted to kissing another man. The problem is, and it always is, nobody ever tells you the full story or the real story,” attorney James Leonard Jr. tells PEOPLE. “The real story is that Teresa did kiss the man in the supertease. His name is Tony. She kissed him more than 30 years ago when they were in high school together. But nobody calls to ask, they just write a headline to get clicks.”
Leonard says he is furious by how Bravo edited the video and the media’s coverage of it.
“They have been writing about cheating and divorce rumors for the last 10 years, but guess what? Nobody is cheating, nobody is getting divorced,” he adds. “The truth? Teresa and the girls are going to see Joe the first week of November. They talk and FaceTime everyday. Everyone is happy. No one is fighting. There is an amazing story of love and perseverance, but I guess that doesn’t sell magazines or get clicks on websites. Even if you don’t like Joe and Teresa, think about their four daughters and please stop trying to destroy this family. They have been through enough.”
In the clip, Teresa showed her fellow Jersey Housewives a photo of a shirtless guy while out at dinner and said, “He’s the one I hooked up with.”
Later, her brother Joe Gorga met up with Teresa and the man who appeared to be the same one from the photo.
“Were you guys messing around?” he asked.
“We might have kissed,” the man said.
But while she might not have cheated, Teresa admitted she wasn’t happy in her marriage, telling costar Jennifer Aydin she “doesn’t know” if she’s still in love with Joe.
“I haven’t been happy in so long,” she then told sister-in-law Melissa Gorga. “And I just want to be happy again.”
“I feel like I’m living the worst nightmare ever,” she told Danielle Staub, adding that she feels like “drinking a bottle of tequila every night.”
All of this comes at a time where Joe’s future in the United States remains in question. The 49-year-old reality star is currently in Italy awaiting his final appeal in his ongoing deportation battle.
He has been away from the home he shares with Teresa and their four daughters — Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 14, and Audriana, 10 — since he began a 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud in March 2016. And the spouses haven’t lived under the same roof since she began her prison sentence for the same crimes in January 2015.
Though Joe has lived in the United States since he was a child, he never obtained American citizenship, and immigrants can be deported if they are convicted of “a crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony,” according to U.S. law.
That ruling came Joe’s way last October. He’s appealed twice so far, and has been denied both times. A final ruling is expected in November.
A petition to be released back to his home wasn’t granted, but a request to go to Italy was. Last Friday, he was released from ICE custody and flew to Rome, where he has been spending time with family and FaceTiming his children.
While Teresa has publicly stood by her husband thus far, she has also been realistic about the fate of their marriage should he be deported, admitting on the RHONJ season 9 reunion that she’s “not doing a long-distance relationship.”