AceShowbiz - Felicity Huffman has rebutted suggestion that her infamous 2019 college admissions scandal was driven by her desire to "cheat the system." The shamed "Desperate Housewives" actress, 60, entered a guilty plea in May 2019 to paying $15,000 to falsify her daughter's SAT scores, and has finally broken her silence on the case in a sit-down interview with ABC7 Eyewitness News that aired Thursday, November 30.
"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 about how she knew her actions were part of a "crazy" time.
Felicity explained that she had been working with purported college counsellor William "Rick" Singer, who was eventually convicted for being the mastermind behind the scheme, and admitted she "trusted him implicitly."
She added, "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."
"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. It felt like I had to give my daughter a chance at a future… which meant I had to break the law."
Felicity also said she had second thoughts about the scheme as she remembered driving her daughter Sophia Grace Macy to take the SAT exam in December 2017.
She added, "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."
"Transamerica" star Felicity was arrested in March 2019 along with dozens of other high-profile parents and celebrities, including Lori Loughlin, 59, in the wake of an investigation known as Operation Varsity Blues.
Felicity said, "(The FBI) came into my home. They woke my daughters up at gunpoint… (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?' "
The Emmy winner was sentenced in September 2019 to 14 days in prison and hit with a $30,000 fine and 250 hours of community service. She served only 11 days behind bars and volunteered at a group dedicated to helping formerly jailed women rebuild their lives.
Felicity's daughter Sophia, 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, William H. Macy, 73, who was not charged in connection to the scheme, also have 21-year-old daughter Georgia.