Teresa Giudice: My Husband Didn’t Tell Me About Financial Troubles

08/02/2010 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice made an appearance on The View Monday to talk about her messy financial situation – and admitted that for a long time, her husband Joe kept her in the dark about their massive debt.

"Joe didn't want to worry me," she said. "He didn't tell me at first because he thought things were going to get better.”

Giudice explained that her husband’s failed real estate investments and a lawsuit with a former partner were what forced them to eventually file for bankruptcy last fall. “When it wasn’t getting better he did tell me," she said, but admitted she still doesn't actually know the total amount of debt she and her husband have. (Bankruptcy documents indicate that the couple have $10.98 million in liabilities.)

"I wasn’t upset with him," she added. "If anything, it brought us closer." Although she appeared to spend lavishly on her home, clothes for her kids and even plastic surgery on Real Housewives, Giudice says she was only spending money she thought she had.

“I always live within my means. Always,” she insisted. “The money was coming in from the apartment buildings so we were able to live the lifestyle that we did."

Giudice added that she no longer uses credit cards and watches her money, even though she has been able to spend the profits from her best selling book, Skinny Italian, since it was earned after the filing. “I am not jet-setting. I don’t have gold toilets,” she says. “I watch my money.”

And what about that yellow diamond ring Joe gave her for their anniversary on a recent episode of their show?

"It's not real," she says. "I love costume jewelry." --Charlotte Triggs

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