Congratulations are in order. Real Housewives of New Jersey star Gia Giudice graduated from college on Sunday, May 14, and her father, Joe Giudice, could not be prouder

“Congratulations Gia love you so much,” Joe, 50, shared via Instagram alongside a selfie of his eldest daughter. “So proud of you sky is the limit [sic].”

Gia, 22 – who graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in criminal justice – was seemingly embarrassed by her father’s choice in photos as she took to the comments section to share a crying laughing emoji. 

Joe Giudice Shares Touching Tribute to Gia Amid Her College Graduation
Courtesy of Joe Giudice/Instagram

“OMG DAD!!! this photo was suppose to stay between me and you [sic],” she wrote. “I love you.”

The former reality star was unable to attend his daughter’s big day as he currently lives in the Bahamas after being deported in 2019. However, Gia has previously opened up about her decision to major in criminal justice and her desire to attend law school with the hopes of bringing her father back to the United States

“Gia feels like her father served his time and is deeply regretful of what happened,” her rep Dominique Enchinton, owner of Dominton Talent House, told In Touch in February, just days after Gia announced she had accepted a position with Martinez Immigration firm. “He knows it was wrong and has instilled that in all his girls. She feels he deserves a second chance to prove himself as he has grown a lot from this experience.”

Joe and ex-wife Teresa Giudice filed for bankruptcy in October 2009, claiming that they owed more than $10 million to creditors. Four years later, in July 2013, the former couple were indicted on 39 counts of fraud and tax charges. The Giudices were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and making false statements on loan applications. Joe was also charged with failure to file his tax returns from 2004 to 2008.

The former couple – who also share daughters Gabriella, Milania and Audriana – pleaded guilty in March 2014 and Joe was sentenced to 41 months in prison, while Teresa received a 15-month sentence. The couple were allowed to stagger their sentences so that one parent could be home raising their daughters. 

Joe began serving his sentence at Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution in New Jersey in March 2016. Two years into his 41-month term, a judge ordered the former reality star to be deported to his native country of Italy upon his release. Despite filing an appeal, Joe was transferred to an immigration center upon his release in March 2018. After more than a year in Italy, Joe relocated to the Bahamas, where he currently resides, in order to be closer to his children.