Teresa Giudice on Hitting a ‘Wow Factor’ in 2022, from Her Fairy Tale Wedding to Finding Acceptance

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Teresa Giudice and Louie Ruelas

Teresa Giudice and Louie Ruelas

Jenna Russo, Silent Capture Photography & Videography, @silentcapturephoto Teresa Giudice

Teresa Giudice is ready for 2023.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star, 50, is preparing to usher in the new year with a new husband, a larger blended family and a busy career — and she couldn’t be more excited.

“I just want peace, love, happiness and health, and I’m leaving toxicity [behind],” Teresa tells PEOPLE beside her husband, Luis “Louie” Ruelas, as they exclusively share their family’s New Year’s photo shoot.

“Life is short, it’s very valuable, so you have to value the time that you have on this Earth and surround yourself with good people, good vibes, people that are happy for you. It’s really important, and especially for my children, I want them to see that also,” she continues. “I just want to have a great time.”

Teresa Giudice and Louie RuelasTeresa Giudice and Louie Ruelas

Teresa Giudice and Louie Ruelas

Jenna Russo, Silent Capture Photography & Videography, @silentcapturephoto Teresa Giudice and Louie Ruelas

RELATED: Teresa Giudice Shouts Out ‘Chosen Family’ in Speech at Her Wedding That Joe and Melissa Gorga Skipped

Teresa knows a thing or two about memorable moments, as 2022 saw her and Louie throw their fairy tale wedding on Aug. 6 in front of 220 guests at the Park Chateau Estate & Gardens in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Bravo cameras filmed the wedding event, which will be featured on a special expected to air after the conclusion of RHONJ‘s upcoming 13th season, premiering Feb. 7.

“Everyone’s going to see how much fun I had at my wedding. It was the best time that I ever had on TV,” Teresa says. “I can’t wait to relive it ’cause I know I missed some things because we were taking pictures.”

“This time around, our wedding, everything we did was for us. Usually [you have to] think about other people, or your families get involved, and try to get in, meddle … but I didn’t think about everybody else,” she adds.

That strategy also applied to Teresa’s wedding hairstyle, which became a moment of its own this past year, from fans and costars going wild on social media to stars like Kelly Ripa recreating the ‘do for Halloween.

“I thought Kelly Ripa looked amazing. Oh my god, she looked so beautiful,” says Teresa. “But I never thought that was going to happen. … I love dramatic. That’s my whole thing. I like to be different, and unique, and something to stand out in anything I do. I like a wow factor.”

Teresa Giudice and Louie RuelasTeresa Giudice and Louie Ruelas

Teresa Giudice and Louie Ruelas

Jenna Russo, Silent Capture Photography & Videography, @silentcapturephoto Teresa Giudice

RELATED: Teresa Giudice Reveals Favorite Memory from New Jersey Wedding to Luis Ruelas: ‘It Was Surreal’

On the home front this year, Teresa and Louie have been thrilled with the way their families have come together since they started dating in 2020.

Prior to meeting, Teresa had four daughters — Gia, 21, Gabriella, 18; Milania, 16, and Audriana, 13 — with ex-husband Joe Giudice, and Louie had two sons — Louie Jr., 19, and Nicholas, 21 (who was sick and unable to attend the family photo shoot) — from a previous relationship.

“We all came into our lives with our own stories … so it was like, ‘How are we going to be in these roles?'” says Louie. “[Teresa and I] started looking at each other like, ‘Look, we got this right, so let’s get this right. Let’s give these kids the best days and mornings that they could have.'”

Adds Teresa, “Everything was perfect. I love his family so much…. What I have with him is what I have always wanted and more. … I love the way he is with my daughters, the man he is, the father he is to his sons. Just everything.”

“The girls embrace Louie, and it’s beautiful,” she notes. “Little Louie hangs out with the girls all the time. They go out together … and of course, Nicholas, too. When I see my girls, how they are with Nicholas, they embrace him so much.”

Teresa Giudice and Louie RuelasTeresa Giudice and Louie Ruelas

Teresa Giudice and Louie Ruelas

Jenna Russo, Silent Capture Photography & Videography, @silentcapturephoto Teresa Giudice, Louie Ruelas and their kids

RELATED: Luis Ruelas Calls Teresa Giudice’s Brother Joe Gorga ‘a Good Human,’ Says They Got ‘Vulnerable’ Before Feud

When it comes to Louie, Teresa is beyond thankful for the impact he’s made in her life, especially following some tumultuous moments in her life.

“He keeps me very grounded … it’s crazy, I found my soul mate at 48,” she says. “When I started the show, I didn’t know people come after you ’cause they want to make a name for themselves or they want to try to trigger you. Unfortunately I always took the bait, and as years went by, I’m learning.”

“He came into my life at a perfect time, it was really meant to be, and he’s helping me with that, keeps me grounded, keeps me zen, keeps me very calm,” she continues. “I love this feeling, it’s a such a good thing.”

“Sometimes you don’t know why things happen in life. And even with Louie, it’s like, now I’m accepting. At first, I was so upset that I went to jail because it is something people judge you [for] … I know in my heart I’m not a criminal, but people think you’re a criminal because you went to jail,” she adds. “So now I’m accepting that and I’m like, ‘You know what? Now I get it.’ I had to go through all that in order to meet the love of my life…. So it was all worth it.”

Teresa Giudice and Louie RuelasTeresa Giudice and Louie Ruelas

Teresa Giudice and Louie Ruelas

Jenna Russo, Silent Capture Photography & Videography, @silentcapturephoto Teresa Giudice and Louie Ruelas

Continuing to lean into that positive perspective, Teresa has her sights set on the future.

“I want to do more movies. Now that I’ve got my feet wet with Fuhgeddabout Christmas… and I want to do more commercials. Because I had so much fun doing that commercial with Dak Prescott,” she says. “[I have my PodcastOne] podcast, Namaste, B$tches with my co-host Melissa Pfeister — I would love to take that to the next level.”

“Rihanna would be my dream guest. I love Rihanna, I love Alicia Keys … and Cher. Oh my God. My idol,” she adds. “I love powerful women. I’m all about lifting everyone up. And I feel like when you put good out there, you get good back. I’m all about that … so I can’t wait to see what 2023 brings.”

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Season 13 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey premieres Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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