Felicity Huffman is still working out how she feels about life after her 2019 criminal conviction. The former Desperate Housewives star told The Guardian this week that things have “been hard” following her return to work after the college admissions scandal that dominated headlines five years ago.
“How I am is kind of a loaded question,” she said. “I guess I’m still processing.”
In 2019, Huffman pled guilty to paying $15,000 for an SAT score to aid her eldest daughter’s college admission. Her conviction was one of several at the heart of an admissions scandal nicknamed Operation Varsity Blues by the FBI. She later served 11 days in prison, paid a $30,000 fine and completed 250 hours of community service.
Huffman spoke to The Guardian from the set of Hir, a Taylor Mac play currently running at London’s Park Theatre. Huffman portrays the show’s protagonist, marking her most public return to performing since the conviction.
“I did a pilot for ABC recently that didn’t get picked up,” she said. “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.”
Still, she’s aware the conviction continues to follow her. “I walk into the room with it,” she said. “I did it. It’s black and white.”
Huffman shared that reactions to her crime have varied. “I’m not in any way whitewashing what I did, but some people have been kind and compassionate. Others have not,” she said.
“As long as my kids are well, and my husband is well, I feel like I’m well,” she continued. “I’m grateful to be here.”
Huffman broke her silence about the college admissions scandal last December during an interview with Los Angeles-based ABC7 Eyewitness News. She apologized to “the academic community … students and the families that sacrifice and work really hard to get where they are going legitimately.”
She also recalled the day of her arrest when FBI agents arrived at her door. “They came into my home,” she said. “They woke my daughters up at gunpoint … nothing new to the Black and brown community. Then, they put my hands behind my back and handcuffed me, and I asked if I could get dressed.”
Huffman went on to recount the way college prep expert William “Rick” Singer slowly convinced her that her daughter would not get into college without a fraudulent SAT result.
“I believed him,” she said. “And so when he slowly started to present the criminal scheme, it seems like — and I know this seems crazy at the time — but 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.”