Though she's no longer living and dying by each update, the news reports still haunt Felicity Huffman.
It's been a minute since every piece of new evidence, every press conference about the so-called Varsity Blues scandal that's rocked the world of college admissions for the past year represented a different reality for her future. And yet, an insider tells E! News for Huffman, "It's hard to continue hearing about the case in the news."
So, she'll switch off the TV, steer clear of certain corners of the Internet, try not to keep tabs on Rick Singer, the scam ringleader she paid $15,000 to boost her eldest daughter's SAT score. "She tries to avoid it," says the insider. "She wants to move on and not have to keep living it."
Mostly, though, in those moments, she thanks her lucky stars. Or, rather, the skilled attorneys and keen intuition that led her to accept a plea deal for her role in the whole extravaganza.
"Hearing and seeing what people are still going through makes her feel all the more relieved that she is moving on," notes the insider. Because having pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud and completed the two-week jail sentence that followed (a punishment that was reduced to just 11 days, thanks to the prison's policy of not releasing inmates on the weekend), the Emmy and Golden Globe recipient no longer has to deal with the anxiety, the interminable wait that fellow actress Lori Loughlin and others are enduring.
"She is incredibly relieved that she has served her jail time and is moving ahead with her life," a source says of the 57-year-old. Meaning she and daughters Sophia Macy, 19, and Georgia Macy, 17, can celebrate William H. Macy's 70th birthday today free from the worry of what comes next. Adds the source of Huffman, "She is looking forward and not backward."
Her brief stay at Federal Correction Institution Dublin in Northern California now firmly in the rearview, she's working to tackle the more time-consuming but decidedly more enjoyable part of her sentence. Tasked with finishing 250 community service hours, she's publicly committed to far more, splitting her time between Enter: A New Way of Life, an L.A. group dedicated to helping once-incarcerated women return home with jobs and work, and The Teen Project.
Having already proven invaluable at the former ("She's been very helpful and supportive to the women here," founder Susan Burton, a former inmate and recovering addict, told People. "She has connected with them in a real way and you can feel it,") she's recently been devoting herself to the latter.
"It has been very rewarding for her," the source says of the spot, she toured back in September, ahead of her prison stay. "She's been spending time with homeless teens and working with them to better their lives. It has given her a lot of perspective and has been an eye opening experience."
Months in, "She has made some new friends there that have had a positive impact on her life," the source says, "and she hopes they can say the same about her."
And back at her Hollywood Hills spread (the place she's mostly likely to be found when not at the center or doing yoga), she has her squad of day ones. "She spends a lot of time with her husband and daughters," the source tells E! News. "They are back to doing what they have always done as a family: Having dinner together, working out, spending time outdoors and supporting each other in their various passions."
For Sophia, that's meant exploring her family's chosen line of work. A graduate of Los Angeles High School of the Arts, "I know she's going to make a go of it in the business, which I support," Macy told Parade just months before news of the scandal broke. "I've seen her; she's good, she's really good."
With her dreams of attending the acting program that—as Macy put in a letter he wrote to Huffman's judge ahead of sentencing, "ironically doesn't require SAT scores," dashed—she's nonetheless recovering from the desolation she felt roughly a year ago. Describing how his eldest initially called them from the airport "in hysterics" after hearing the news, Macy wrote, "From the devastation of that day, Sophia is slowly regaining her equilibrium and getting on with her life."
Same for Georgia. Enjoying a different college admissions experience than her sibling, thanks to her parents' decision not to employ the same SAT-altering tactics, she quietly applied and was accepted to Vassar College, a prestigious liberal arts school roughly two hours north of New York City. "She's interested in politics, political science and pursuing that," Macy told Parade of the high schooler. "She's in a very academic school and killing it."
As for the Oscar-nominated actress, she hopes to return to her regularly scheduled programming of crushing it soon. Before her entire world unraveled, she was confidently telling Haute Living back in 2017, "I would say I'm in the best place in my career that I've ever been."
Coming off a three-season stint on American Crime that saw her earn three consecutive Emmy nods and two Golden Globe nominations, she wasn't wrong. And with her singular talent, it's hard to imagine she won't be hearing her name called in the future. "She is looking forward to getting back to work and acting again," says the insider. "That is her true love and passion."
Having watched her contemporaries work their way back from much larger missteps, she's hopeful that an opportunity will come her way soon. "Hollywood is a small town and nobody has anything bad to say about her," another source tells E! News. "She feels like she is paying her dues and has shown remorse for her actions. She hopes that she will be accepted again."
(Originally published March 5, 2020 at 9 a.m. PT)