Reality TV didn't prepare her for this.
Its been almost two months since "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice was released from federal prison. After serving 11 and a half months of a 15-month sentence for pleading guilty to multiple offenses, conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud, Giudice is ready to open up about her experience behind bars.
In her first post-prison television interview, Giudice sits down with ABC News’ Amy Robach to discuss how much she knew about husband Joe's financial schemes, her relationship with the other inmates and the silver lining to her time in prison.
“I didn't know I was committing a crime. The government saw it differently," Giudice told Robach in the exclusive interview. "I got sentenced. I got served time. I did what I had to do and now I'm moving past it."
Giudice called the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, home for almost a year. FCI Danbury, the prison that served as the template for Netflix's "Orange is the New Black," has housed other famous types like Lauryn Hill, but Giudice made sure to emphasize that it was no country club.
"I mean, there was mold in the bathrooms. There was not running water constantly. The showers were freezing cold. It was hell. It was definitely living in hell," she explained.
Although some inmates tried to start drama with the reality TV star, an easy target in lockup -- “It was nothing like being on ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey'" -- Giudice had mostly positive things to say about her fellow inmates.
"The girls were amazing there," the 43-year-old mother of four revealed. "Anytime anyone new comes, we all help each other. You think people are terrible that are in prison ... I totally don't feel that way now."
In her new book Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again released on Tuesday, Giudice details the emotional trauma of the past year and explains how she's grown during her time away from her family.
“Maybe I needed that time for myself to reflect and just and everything and life and just to become, you know, a better person and grow and just to be a better mother, better wife, better daughter, better human being through all this,” she said.
Teresa's family reunion will be short-lived, however, as Joe Giudice, who also appears on "Housewives," is set to start his own 41-month prison sentence next month.
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