William H. Macy Says Felicity Huffman's Relationship with Daughters 'Exploded' After Scandal
The 69-year-old actor submitted a letter of support to Judge Indira Talwani ahead of Huffman’s sentencing on Sept. 13, saying the actress’s relationship “with her daughters exploded on March 12th.”
“Rebuilding that relationship will be a long process,” he wrote. “But I also want you to know Felicity has raised two amazing young women.”
Describing Huffman’s upbringing with her own mother as “sometimes violent,” Macy wrote the actress “was largely raised by either her sisters or, being the youngest, left to her own devices.”
“As an example, she moved to Los Angeles for a year when she was 15 years old to pursue acting,” he wrote. “She lived with a 22-year-old friend of the family and put herself in high school and found her way to auditions and classes all on her own. I think the result of her unstructured upbringing was a determination that her children would always have a mother there backing them up.”
He continued, “As crazy as her life was in Woody Creek, Felicity’s family is very close. She talks to at least one of her siblings almost daily and one of the joys of my life was being accepted into the Huffman clan. Felicity’s family is her world.”
The couple had their oldest daughter, Sophia, 19, in 2000. Their youngest daughter, Georgia, 17, followed in 2002.
Huffman pleaded guilty on May 13 to her role in the college admissions scandal, in which she paid $15,000 to facilitate cheating on daughter Sofia’s SAT test by having a proctor correct the teen’s answers.
“From the day we learned that Sophia Grace Macy was on her way, Felicity threw herself into parenting,” Macy wrote. “She read mountains of books and sought out of the best and the brightest on the subject. She sought out parents whose children impressed her and picked their brains on child-rearing.”
The Shameless actor said his wife “worried about raising our girls in Hollywood with working actors as parents, so we decided to keep them as far away from our business as possible.”
That included avoiding taking them to Hollywood events and preventing their daughters from being photographed by paparazzi, he explained.
“Watching Felicity being a mother is a wonderful thing to see,” Macy wrote. “But motherhood has, from the very beginning, frightened Felicity and she has not carried being a mom easily. She’s struggled to find the balance between what the experts say and her common sense.”
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Macy also wrote Sophia “paid the dearest price” after he mother’s arrest, having auditioned for a college that “ironically, doesn’t require SAT scores” only to have the school withdraw its invitation to audition.
“She called us from the airport in hysterics, begging us to ‘do something, please, please do something,'” Macy said. “From the devastation of that day, Sophia is slowly regaining her equilibrium and getting on with her life. She still doesn’t like to sleep alone and has nightmares from the FBI agents waking her that morning with guns drawn.”
Macy wrote he, his wife and their two daughters have been in family therapy since the actress’s arrest.
“There is much to be done, and some of the hurt and anger will take years to work through, but we are making progress,” he wrote. “Thank you, Your Honor. If I may I’d like to tell you one more thing: every good thing in my life is because of Felicity Huffman.”
Huffman wrote her own letter to the judge, writing her “desperation to be a good mother” was one reason for why she participated in a plan to fix Sophia’s SAT exams and facilitate her entries into colleges.
“In my desperation to be a good mother I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot,” she wrote. “I see the irony in that statement now because what I have done is the opposite of fair. I have broken the law, deceived the educational community, betrayed my daughter, and failed my family.”
In a recommendation to the judge, prosecutors called for the actress to face one month in prison, followed by 12 months of supervised release as well as a $20,000 fine, PEOPLE confirmed.
Through her attorney, Huffman asked the judge for one year of probation and community service. The actress also had 27 people write letters of support on her behalf to the judge, including her husband and actress Eva Longoria.
Huffman’s husband Macy was not charged in the scandal. The two married in 1997. A source told PEOPLE in April that Huffman and Macy have remained united during the difficult time.
The actress will be sentenced on Friday.