Felicity Huffman, the “Desperate Housewives” actor who served 11 days in prison for her participation in a college admissions scandal, says she felt like she would have been a “bad mother” if she hadn’t paid a fixer $15,000 to falsify her daughter’s SAT score.
“It felt like I had to give my daughter a chance at a future,” Huffman told Los Angeles television station KABC in her first public remarks about her involvement in the scheme. “And so it was sort of like my daughter’s future, which meant I had to break the law.”
An FBI investigation dubbed Operation Varsity Blues delved into a widespread criminal scheme to get students into elite colleges using fraud and bribery, and Huffman was among the most well known of the dozens of defendants.
In her interview, Huffman recalled driving her daughter to take the SAT and how her daughter had been scared.
“She was going, ‘Can we get ice cream afterwards? … What can we do that’s fun?’” Huffman said. “And I kept thinking, ‘Turn around, just turn around.’ And to my undying shame, I didn’t.”
Huffman recounted her 2019 arrest in detail, saying that the FBI entered her home, woke her daughters up at gunpoint, and handcuffed her.
“I thought it was a hoax,” she said. “I literally turned to one of the FBI people in a flak jacket and a gun, and I went: ‘Is this a joke?’”
“After a year, he started to say, ‘Your daughter is not going to get into any of the colleges that she wants to.’ And I believed him,” Huffman told KABC.
“And so when he slowly started to present the criminal scheme, it seemed like — and I know this seems crazy at the time — that that was my only option to give my daughter a future,” she added. “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.”
Clarissa-Jan Lim is a breaking/trending news blogger for MSNBC Digital. She was previously a senior reporter and editor at BuzzFeed News.