Kevin Mazur/WireImage
February 24, 2015 08:50 AM

There was a time when Felicity Huffman was so petrified of marriage that almost anything seemed preferable. Luckily for her husband, William H. Macy, she eventually became more scared of not getting married.

“I was so scared of marriage that I thought I would’ve preferred to step in front of a bus,” the actress, 52, tells the Tribune News Service.

“I thought I’d disappear. Men’s stock when they get married goes up. Women’s stock goes down. Another thing, 60 percent of first marriages fail, 80 percent of second marriages fail.”

Huffman, who plays the ex-wife of Timothy Hutton on ABC’s new drama American Crime, dated Macy for 15 years before they finally wed, in 1997. And Macy was trying to bring her around for much of that time.

“Bill Macy asked me to marry him several times over several years. And I was finally smart enough to go: ‘I’m going to marry this guy or really lose him for good,’ ” she says. “And it was after we broke up for four or five years when he asked me again, I knew I couldn’t say no.”

Not that it was easy. But it was worth it.

“It was the work I had to do in order to bring myself to the marriage, and then the work that I did to be able to trust another person and see what comes out of that comfort and that safety,” Huffman says. “I was able to blossom out of that.”

She also reveals that love helped save her from a crippling period of despair and depression when she was single.

“I went through a very, very dark three years It was that kind of depression where I just wished I was dead, that kind of relentless – I just wished I was dead,” she says. “It was kind of the crucible, from 28 to 31. That dark time changed me, I think, for the better.”

She recovered through “the love of my family, through therapy. I came out of it.” And while she still has fears, they’re more manageable now.

“I wake up afraid. I’m afraid of everything,” she says. “Everything is triage to me, I have to get the kids’ breakfast. I have to get everything done. I guess I would string it together to say I feel like I’m a lazy girl. I feel bad about being a lazy girl. I want to be a perfect girl, so I drive myself to do it.”

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