Felicity Huffman Speaks Out on College Admissions Scandal

'It felt like I would be a bad mother if I didn't do it'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2023 12:29 PM CST
Felicity Huffman Speaks Out on College Admissions Scandal
In this Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, file photo, Felicity Huffman leaves federal court in Boston.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

Felicity Huffman has spoken out about the college admissions scandal that sent her to federal prison for 11 days—and she says she didn't go into it looking for a way to "cheat the system and making proverbial criminal deals in back alleys." The Desperate Housewives star tells ABC7 that she worked with "highly recommended college counselor" Rick Singer before he said her daughter wasn't going to get into any of the colleges she wanted to attend and suggested inflating her SAT scores. "When he slowly started to present the criminal scheme, it seemed like—and I know this seems crazy at the time—that that was my only option to give my daughter a future," she says.

"I know hindsight is 20/20 but it felt like I would be a bad mother if I didn't do it," Huffman says. "So, I did it." She says her daughter knew nothing of the plan and as she drove her to the test, she "kept thinking, 'Turn around, just turn around.' To my undying shame, I didn't." Months later, Huffman was one of 33 wealthy parents arrested in connection with the scheme. Huffman, whose husband, actor William H. Macy, wasn't charged, says she initially thought it was a hoax when FBI agents entered her home and handcuffed her. In addition to the prison sentence, which she served in October 2019, she was fined $30,000 and sentenced to 250 hours of community service and a year of supervised release.

The community service was the silver lining, Huffman tells ABC7. She volunteered with the nonprofit A New Way of Life, which helps formerly incarcerated women restart their lives, and didn't stop when the 250 hours were up. She is now on the organization's board of directors. Founder Susan Burton says she thought Huffman would do desk work, but "she said, no. I want to do real work. And she just organized all of our closets and donations. She went jogging down Central Avenue in South LA and created exercise classes for the women."

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"Felicity Huffman is one of the most beautiful people I've met in my lifetime," Burton says. "And I know she has had a hiccup. But it's not the hiccup—it's how you come through the hiccup." As for Huffman's daughter Sophia, she took her SATs again and was accepted into Carnegie Mellon University's theater program, People reports. (More Felicity Huffman stories.)

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