Karen Gravano was 19 when her father, famed mafioso Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, was first arrested in New York. And even though the former underboss of the Gambino crime family cooperated with the government when he testified against John Gotti (the family's boss), the entire family (including Karen) subsequently "got into some trouble" for selling drugs (after relocating to Arizona) years later.
Sammy served nearly 18 years behind bars -- and during tonight's series premiere of MTV's Families of the Mafia, Karen and Karen's daughter Karina (who are now in Staten Island) traveled to the Grand Canyon State to spend some time with Sammy.
After some hugs, the trio had a heart-to-heart about the past -- and Sammy directly addressed Karina.
"I apologize for not being around you when you were an infant and when you had graduations," he told his grandchild. "I wish I was there -- to guide you, to be there when there were problems. That's what this life did. That's what I lost."
But if Sammy had to do it all over again, would he make the same decisions?
"When you take that oath, you put [La] Cosa Nostra above everything," Sammy said, after a deep breath. "I probably would make the same decision. I believed in it with all my heart and soul. I would be a liar if I said no."
He concluded: "Whatever I did, I do for my family. Right now, I'm comfortable with who I am and what I do."
And speaking of his family, Sammy has missed milestones and happy occasions featuring his loved ones. So can he make up for what he lost and start anew? Be sure to keep watching the Gravanos (as well as the O’Tooles, the LaRoccas and the Augustines) every Thursday on Families of the Mafia at 9/8c.