It hasn’t been an easy couple of years for Gia Giudice.
In December of 2015, her mother, Teresa Giudice, turned herself in to begin serving a 15 month sentence for bankruptcy fraud charges.
Back in March, her father, Joe Giudice, began serving a 41-month sentence for allegedly serving as the mastermind of the scam that landed his wife behind bars.
As the eldest of the couple’s four daughters, Gia has not only had to cope with losing her parents one at a time in the midst of her most formative years, she’s also been suddenly burdened with the unusual responsibility of helping both of her parents deal with the challenges of single parenthood.
In fact, after a year of helping the oft-absent Joe with the task of keeping his daughters fed, clothed and cared for, Gia might now have more single mom experience than her newly-sprung mother.
Needless to say, the girl has grown up awfully fast over the past couple years.
Perhaps that’s why that’s why the adults in her life are so accepting of her considerably older new boyfriend:
According to Radar Online, Gia is dating a graduate of the high school where she’s currently a sophomore.
He’s rumored to be 20, which means he’s only five years older than 15-year-old Gia – but five years is a lot at that age.
In fact, since Gia is still a year shy of the age of consent in the Garden State, any sexual activity between her and the anonymous dude is technically unlawful.
(Side note: Why are we not surprised the age of consent in Jersey is only 16?)
But the grownups in Gia’s life don’t seem concerned that with a dad behind bars and love in her teenage heart, she’s basically living out the lyrics to a Springsteen song.
Joe Gorga recently spoke out on his niece’s relationship, and rather than slip into stereotype mode and do the “overprotective Jersey Italian guy” thing, he congratulated her on finding a nice, upstanding dude:
“I just had to meet her boyfriend for the first time and that was tough for me,” Gorga told Radar.
“I like the guy. She chose a really nice guy so I’m okay with it.”
“He’s a very respectful kid. Comes from a good family and that’s what I like about him.”
After some reflection, he later added:
“Of course, if he gets out of line, I’m gonna have to make culatello out of his pepperocinis! Does that even make any sense?! Fuggeddaboutit!”
Okay, we may have made that last part up.
Watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey online to relive Gia’s turbulent childhood.