Teresa Giudice and husband Joe found themselves at their breaking point with each other and themselves as Joe awaited a ruling on his deportation appeal in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ahead of his return to Italy. In Wednesday's episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, which came just a day after news broke that the two had separated after 20 years of marriage, showed a shocking conversation between the two about his immigration status.
"He blamed me yesterday," Giudice said of Joe, who was born in Italy but moved to the U.S. with his parents as a child. "He said, 'Why didn't you make me an American citizen?'"
Showing the tense conversation, Joe had told his wife, "Listen, all you had to do was pick up a phone and call a lawyer," to which she responded, "Right, so then why didn't you do it? Why is it on me now?"
Giudice and Joe's oldest daughter, 18-year-old Gia, reassured her mom that the change in her dad's attitude was simply due to the poor conditions in the ICE holding facility, which he had previously complained about.
"He's just speaking out of his a —, ma," Gia said of her dad. "He's going crazy. That place is a s—hole. My dad is stuck in a two-by-two with five people. I don't know what the hell to do."
She added, "He called me five times right now and every single one of his hopes are getting denied and he can't live with it."
Joe shared more of the difficulties he was having in custody when calling his family later for Easter, telling them that while he was "hanging in there," every once and a while, "I have a little mental breakdown."
Giudice was on the verge of losing it as well, not just for herself, but for the couple's four daughters — Gia, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 13, and Audriana, 10.
"It's like, it's so sad. I'm trying everything," Giudice said. "I'm hanging in there. I cry at night when I'm by myself."
"What's so painful of me, the past five years, our family has been ripped apart," she continued. "We haven't been together on holidays. Joe has missed the girls growing up, and that's something that we can't get back."
Tuesday, a source close to Joe and Teresa told PEOPLE that Joe and Teresa had decided to separate after 20 years of marriage, but have "no plans for divorce" at this time.
"They are doing so amicably and very slowly," the source said. "Joe has been out on a few dates, Giudice has not. She has been too busy with the girls, with work obligations and taking care of her father. She is happy for Joe. They have been very friendly with one another and are very supportive of each other's happiness. They still love one another, but as Teresa told Andy Cohen on the WWHL special, they are separated by the Atlantic Ocean. Neither is interested in a long distance relationship."
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