Back in 2014, Joe and Teresa Giudice were found guilty of bankruptcy fraud after a judge found the Real Housewives of New Jersey stars had intentionally misled the court and their creditors in order to escape mounting debt.
Such cases ore sometimes resolved with financial restitution, but a judge threw the book at the Giudices, sentencing Joe to 41 months in prison and Teresa to 15 months behind bars.
On last night's episode of RHONJ, viewers finally saw Joe say a sad goodbye to his family as he prepared for the most difficult challenge of his life:
Fortunately for the Giudices, the court took pity on their children and allowed for Teresa and Joe to serve their sentences back-to-back instead of concurrently, so that one parent would always be at home in order to care for the couple's four daughters.
“It sucks for the kids we have to do it again,” Joe tells Teresa at one point.
“I just wanna go in and get it over with. Whatever mistakes we made - you paid your debt and I’m going to pay my debt.”
It seems the difficulties of the past two years have grounded Joe a bit, and the formerly brash, combative 44-year-old seemed to put his family's needs above his own as sentence drew near:
In the scene above, Joe and Teresa enjoy a moment together as husband and wife as they attempt to come to terms with the fact that this is probably the last time they'll be sitting together enjoying a glass of wine until 2019.
“It’s really happening,” Joe said in a voiceover during last night's episode. “I’m really going in.”
Teresa has expressed her hope that prison will help her husband change some of his bad habits.
While she served her sentence last year, there were rumors that Joe cheated on her and drank heavily most nights, often neglecting the couple's children.
Whether or not those rumors are true, if there's any silver lining to the Giudices' situation, it's that Joe and Teresa are likely to have a greater appreciation for one another in the years to come.
Watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey online to see the couple in happier (or at least less turbulent) times.