Felicity Huffman is speaking out.
Four years after briefly serving time in prison for her role in the infamous 2019 college admissions scandal, the Desperate Housewives alum explained for the first time why she decided to get involved in the scheme.
"It felt like I had to give my daughter a chance at a future," Huffman told ABC-7 Eye Witness News in an interview shared Nov. 30. "And so it was sort of like my daughter's future, which meant I had to break the law."
Specifically, the actress paid $15,000 to have the SAT results of her now-23-year-old daughter Sophia—who she shares with husband William H. Macy—falsified, per court documents viewed by E! News at the time. Actions which earned her charges of mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
And Huffman admitted to being uneasy about the plan, second-guessing the decision until the moment she drove her daughter to the test.
"She was going, 'Can we get ice cream afterwards?'" the 60-year-old remembered. "I'm scared about the test. What can we do that's fun?' And I kept thinking, turn around, just turn around. And to my undying shame, I didn't."
Singer, who was convicted of racketeering conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy for his role as a college counselor in the scandal, was ultimately sentenced to 3 and a half years in prison in January and ordered to forfeit $10 million.
"After a year, he started to say your daughter is not going to get into any of the colleges that she wants to," she noted. "And I believed him. And so when he slowly started to present the criminal scheme, it seems like—and I know this seems crazy—at the time that was my only option to give my daughter a future. And I know hindsight is 20/20 but it felt like I would be a bad mother if I didn't do it. So, I did it."
E! News has reached out to Singer's attorneys for comment but has not yet heard back.
The Academy Award nominee—who also shares daughter Georgia, 21, with Macy—also detailed the surreal evening she was arrested by the FBI in March 2019.
"They came into my home," she remembered. "They woke my daughters up at gunpoint. Then they put my hands behind my back and handcuffed me and I asked if I could get dressed. I thought it was a hoax. I literally turned to one of the FBI people, in a flak jacket and a gun, and I went, is this a joke?"
At the time, Huffman pleaded guilty to the charges, ultimately serving 11 days in prison—she had been sentenced to 14 days—and paying a $30,000 fine. Macy was never charged in relation to the scandal.
As for why the American Crime star decided to finally open up about the scandal? To highlight the organization, A New Way of Life, where she served her court-ordered community service. The nonprofit helps formerly incarcerated women by providing housing, clothing, job training and safety.
"When I saw what A New Way of Life was doing," Huffman, who is now on the organization's board of directors, explained, "which is they heal one woman at a time—and if you heal one woman, you heal her children, you heal her grandchildren and you heal the community."
And in addition to giving back, Huffman is taking accountability for her actions.
"I think the people I owe a debt and apology to is the academic community," she added. "And to the students and the families that sacrifice and work really hard to get to where they are going legitimately."
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