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Felicity Huffman breaks silence on college admissions scandal 4 years later: ‘I had to break the law’

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Felicity Huffman has finally spoken out about the 2019 college admissions scandal.

The “Desperate Housewives” star sat down for an interview with ABC7 Eyewitness News that aired Thursday and admitted she knew it was “crazy” at the time.

“People assume that I went into this looking for a way to cheat the system and making proverbial criminal deals in back alleys, but that was not the case,” she said.

Huffman, 60, explained that she had been working with purported college counselor William “Rick” Singer –– who was eventually convicted for being the mastermind behind the scheme –– and “trusted him implicitly.”

“He recommended programs and tutors, and he was the expert. And after a year, he started to say, ‘Your daughter is not going to get into any of the colleges that she wants to, and so I believed him,” she recalled.

Felicity Huffman broke her silence on the “crazy” college admissions scandal four years later.
The “Desperate Housewives” star recalled thinking her “only option to give [her] daughter a future” was to “break the law.” WireImage
“It felt like I would be a bad mother if I didn’t do it. So, I did it,” she said. MediaNews Group via Getty Images

The actress pleaded guilty in May 2019 to paying $15,000 to falsify her daughter’s SAT scores.

“When he slowly started to present the criminal scheme, it seemed like … 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,” she said.

“It felt like I had to give my daughter a chance at a future … which meant I had to break the law.”

In 2019, Huffman was arrested for falsifying her daughter’s SAT scores. AFP via Getty Images

Huffman admitted to having second thoughts as she remembered driving her daughter Sophia Grace Macy to take the SAT exam in December 2017.

“She was going, ‘Can we get ice cream afterwards? I’m scared about the test. What can we do that’s fun?’ And I kept thinking, ‘Turn around, just turn around.’ To my undying shame, I didn’t,” she said.

The “Transamerica” star was arrested in March 2019 along with dozens of other prominent parents and celebrities, including Lori Loughlin, following an investigation known as Operation Varsity Blues.

The “Transamerica” star reflected on the FBI showing up at her house. Getty Images
She pleaded guilty and served just 11 days in prison. MediaNews Group via Getty Images

“[The FBI] came into my home. They woke my daughters up at gunpoint,” she recounted, adding she “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?’”


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While looking back on her role in the scandal, Huffman apologized to the “academic community” and the students who “sacrifice and work really hard to get to where they are going legitimately.”

The Emmy winner was sentenced in September 2019 to 14 days in prison, a $30,000 fine and 250 hours of community service. She served just 11 days behind bars and volunteered at an organization dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated women rebuild their lives, A New Way of Life.

Huffman and husband William H. Macy have two daughters. Getty Images

“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,” she said of the nonprofit’s work.

Huffman’s daughter Sophia, now 23, was ultimately admitted to Carnegie Mellon University’s theatre program in April 2020 after retaking the SAT and getting in on her own.

The Oscar nominee and her husband of 26 years, “Shameless” star William H. Macy, who was not charged in connection to the scheme, also share 21-year-old daughter Georgia.




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