EXCLUSIVE: ‘Real Housewives’ Star Teresa Giudice Says Prison Was Like ‘Living in Hell’

Teresa Giudice says prison was like “living in hell.”

ByABC News
February 9, 2016, 7:37 AM

— -- In her first television interview since being released from federal prison, “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice said she experienced horrible living conditions while incarcerated and described it like “living in hell.”

“I mean there was mold in the bathrooms. There was not running water constantly. The showers were freezing cold ... I mean, the living conditions were really horrible. Like, horrible,” she said in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Amy Robach that aired Tuesday on “Good Morning America.” “There were some nights that we didn't even have heat ... It was -- it was hell.”

Speaking from her New Jersey home, the 43-year-old Giudice talked to Robach about her finances, her future and her time in prison –- including working for 12 cents an hour in the kitchen.

The reality TV star was released from the Federal Correctional Institution-Danbury, a minimum-security prison in Danbury, Connecticut, in December. She had served 11 and a half months of a 15-month sentence there after pleading guilty to multiple offenses that included conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bankruptcy fraud.

She was released early for good behavior, according to her attorney.

Giudice remained under house arrest until Friday. She was also required to pay $414,000 in restitution.

‘No Intent’ to Commit a Crime

Giudice’s husband, Joe, also pleaded guilty to federal crimes including hiding assets, submitting fake loan applications and failing to pay taxes. He's set to begin his own 41-month prison sentence in March.

Despite her guilty plea, when Robach asked whether she believed she was breaking the law, Giudice replied, "No."

“There was no intent to commit a crime. I didn't know I was committing a crime ...," Giudice told Robach. "I got sentenced. I got served time. I did what I had to do and now I'm moving past it."

When she reported to prison, the mother of four girls went from a life of luxury and celebrity to life with the bare minimum as inmate number 65703-050.

“It, you know, broke my heart because, you know, I was always growing up the good girl, always did everything right, crossed every ‘t’, dotted every ‘i.’ And, you know, so it was ... I was sad for my daughters. And I was upset,” she said.

The Danbury facility where she was incarcerated has a reputation for being a so-called “country club” prison – that is, the kind of prison that houses white collar criminals in relative comfort when compared with other prisons.

The ‘Boom-Boom Room’

Giudice says Danbury was no country club. In addition to the living conditions she described as being “horrible,” she said she had no privacy. In fact, she nicknamed her shared room “the boom-boom room” because so many fellow inmates had sex there.

“When I first got there I bought headphones the next day ... So thank God for commissary,” she said, laughing. “But I just went underneath the blanket. And we had a fan in our room. Like, this huge fan. And they would put that on every single night, so you can't hear anything.”

Her life in prison fell into an ordered routine.

“I had a job in the kitchen. I wiped tables after breakfast. Three days a week, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. That was my job. I loved my job,” she said, adding that she earned 12 cents an hour.

She spent her earnings at the prison commissary. Because she said the prison only gave inmates essentials – toilet paper and maxi pads -- she had to buy whatever else she needed.