The Latest Real Housewife to Go Real Broke

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Teresa Giudice of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. She's broke.

The latest issue of InTouch Weekly features Teresa Giudice on the cover with the headline “I’m Terrified Of Being Poor” and teasers promising “The truth about her shocking debt,” “Bullied by ‘friends’ for being broke,” and “Her marriage crisis: ‘I hope my girls never have to rely on a man.'”

Giudice’s reasons for having that wish for her daughters are easy to understand: A cast member of Bravo’s hit show The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Giudice’s free-spending life came crashing down when she and her husband filed for bankruptcy last year with $11 million in debt. Then just for fun the pair were accused of bankruptcy fraud — and her husband has also been arrested for everything from drunk driving to fraudulently obtaining a driver’s license.

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Here’s what I don’t understand, so perhaps someone who enjoys this show will be able to explain it to me: When you are broke and your income from being a celebrity is basically your impoverished family’s sole source of support, how can you possibly still qualify as a housewife? If Giudice belongs on a show about real housewives, then so do I — and so, for that matter, do President Obama and Carly Fiorina.

Giudice has been doing everything she possibly can to profit from her infamy. She’s done commercials for tanning salons and is coming out with her own lines of cocktails and cosmetics. Her greatest success so far has been her first cookbook, Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It — Live La Bella Vita and Look Great, Too!, which sold more than 80,000 copies since its debut in May 2010, according to Bookscan. Bad news though: This year’s follow-up to that book, Fabulicious!: Teresa’s Italian Family Cookbook, has sold fewer than 20,000 copies.

My real beef with Giudice, however, is that she’s bad for America. She espouses the most depraved, materialistic values — and her plan to lift herself out of poverty is to continue to market herself as the face of crass vulgarity and consumerism. She told InTouch that she’s “trying to build an empire.”

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In one scene from the show that has became known as “Cookie-gate,” Teresa recounted the time that her sister-in-law Melissa brought sprinkle cookies to Teresa’s home for Christmas – and Teresa responded by throwing them away. “Don’t ever bring those cookies again. Where did you get them, A&P?” she screamed at Melissa. “The next time you come, bring pignoli cookies.” Stay classy, Teresa.

Here’s the thing viewers should know: Giudice’s financial woes are actually sort of typical for Real Housewives. It turns out that not working and spending a ton of money is actually not a sign of great financial intelligence, and the list of broke housewives is a long one. Instead of buying Giudice’s next cookbook, fans of the show would do well to order Thomas J. Stanley’s Stop Acting Rich: …And Start Living Like A Real Millionaire.