Actress Felicity Huffman broke her silence on the college admissions scandal that gripped the nation four years ago, discussing serving 11 days in jail for paying to help get her daughter into college.
In an exclusive interview with Los Angeles ABC station KABC, Huffman said she owes an apology to the academic community and students and families that sacrifice and work hard to get into college.
"It was sort of like my daughter's future, which meant I had to break the law," Huffman told KABC. "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."
Huffman explained -- for the first time publicly -- why she paid a $15,000 bribe for a proctor to correct wrong answers and falsify the results on her daughter’s SAT test, which ultimately landed her in prison.
Huffman described the guilt she remembered feeling while driving her unknowing daughter to take that test.
"I kept thinking, turn around. Just turn around. And to my undying shame, I didn't," Huffman said of her actions back in 2017.
The following year, the FBI was at her home and Huffman said that the agents woke her daughters up at gunpoint before taking her into custody.
"I literally turned to one of the FBI people in a black jacket and a gun and I went, 'Is this a joke?'" she recalled.
Just a few years earlier, Huffman played Lynette Scavo on the longtime hit show “Desperate Housewives.”
Huffman was one of the 33 parents, including actress Lori Louglin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, who faced federal charges in the so-called "Varsity Blues" scandal that made headlines in 2019 and both pleaded guilty to their involvement in 2020.
Huffman, whose husband William H. Macy was not charged, pleaded guilty to federal charges and paid a $30,000 fine and served 11 days in prison.
As part of her mandated community service, Huffman worked with New Way of Life, an organization that assists formerly incarcerated women.
Susan Burton, founder of New Way of Life, embraced the opportunity to help Huffman.
"I know that she's had a hiccup, but it's not the hiccup, it's how you come through the hiccup," Burton told KABC.
Huffman said that helping these women and their families in the organization has given her own life new meaning and she has joined its board of directors.
"They heal one woman at a time and if you heal one woman, you heal her children and you heal her grandchildren and you heal the community," Huffman said.
Huffman's daughter, Sophia Grace Macy, who was initially turned down by every school she applied to at the time of the scandal, has since retaken the SAT and now studies drama at Carnegie Mellon University.