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Felicity Huffman on admissions scandal: ‘I felt like a bad mother If I didn’t do it’

By Jake Beardslee · December 1, 2023

In brief…

  • Felicity Huffman speaks openly for first time about role in Operation Varsity Blues scandal
  • Admits paying $15,000 to falsify daughter's SAT scores out of pressure to help her chances
  • Recalls being stunned when FBI arrived to charge her in case masterminded by Rick Singer
  • Now wants to support nonprofit A New Way of Life which aids formerly incarcerated women
  • Nonprofit's director Susan Burton praises Huffman's support and involvement
Felicity Huffman gives her first interview about her involvement in the college admissions scandal Operation Varsity Blues, admits wrongdoing, and explains how she now supports a nonprofit helping formerly incarcerated women.  The Heart Truth/Wikimedia

Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Huffman is speaking openly for the first time about her involvement in the college admissions scandal known as Operation Varsity Blues. In an interview with ABC News, Huffman admits to paying a $15,000 bribe to falsify her daughter’s SAT exam results in 2017, an action that “felt like I had to give my daughter a chance at a future.” She recalls feeling immense anxiety while driving her daughter to the fraudulent SAT, thinking “turn around, just turn around.” But she says, “It felt like I would be a bad mother if I didn’t do it. So I did it.”

When the FBI showed up months later, Huffman recounts being stunned: “I literally turned to one of the FBI people, in a flak jacket and a gun, and I went, is this a joke?” In 2019, she pleaded guilty to charges connected to the scandal orchestrated by college counselor Rick Singer, who was recently sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. Huffman served 11 days in prison herself. Now, she wants to use her experience “to shine a light on Susan Burton’s organization called A New Way of Life,” a nonprofit helping formerly incarcerated women restart their lives. Burton, who runs A New Way of Life, says of Huffman, “Felicity Huffman is one of the most beautiful people I’ve met in my lifetime.” Huffman’s daughter ultimately retook the SAT herself and got accepted into college without Singer’s help.