Why Felicity Huffman feels like her 'old life died' and she 'with it' after college admissions scandal


The 'Desperate Housewives' actress served 11 days in jail, paid a $30,000 fine and completed 250 hours of community service after paying to falsify her daughter's SAT scores

Felicity Huffman at the 2018 Showtime Emmy Nominee Party.
Felicity Huffman at the 2018 Showtime Emmy Nominee Party.SHUTTERSTOCK

Felicity Huffman feels she and her old life "died" after the college admissions scandal.

The former Desperate Housewives actress served 11 days in jail, paid a $30,000 fine and completed 250 hours community service after she pleaded guilty in May 2019 to paying $15,000 to falsify her daughter's SAT scores to help her get a college place, and admitted she is still "processing" the impact the scandal has had on her life.

Referring to the scandal by its FBI code name when asked how she feels about it now, she told The Guardian: "You mean Varsity Blues? How I am is kind of a loaded question. As long as my kids are well and my husband is well, I feel like I'm well. I'm grateful to be here. But how am I? I guess I'm still processing.

"I did a pilot for ABC recently that didn't get picked up. It's been hard. Sort of like your old life died and you died with it. I'm lucky enough to have a family and love and means, so I had a place to land."

The 61-year-old actress — who has Sophia, 23, and Georgia, 21, with husband William H. Macy — has encountered a wide range of responses from the public to the scandal.

She said: "I'm not in any way whitewashing what I did but some people have been kind and compassionate. Others have not."

Playwright and filmmaker David Mamet previously came to Felicity's defence, writing an open letter that suggested she should have received the "Texas Verdict", which he explained meant "Not Guilty, but Don't do it Again".

Asked about his viewpoint, she said: "I thought it was kind and brave of him to say something, regardless of what it was."

The Transamerica actress previously insisted she didn't deliberately set out to "cheat the system".

Opening up about how she knew her actions were part of a "crazy" time, she told ABC7 Eyewitness News: "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."

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's daughter Sophia, 23, was ultimately admitted to Carnegie Mellon University's theater program in April 2020 after retaking the SAT and getting in on her own merit.