Abby Lee Miller sat down with The View co-host Jedidiah Bila for one last televised interview

By Natalie Stone
July 25, 2017 11:21 PM
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Abby Lee Miller is doing what she can to make sure her prison fears do not become a reality.

Two weeks ago, Miller, 50, reported to the Victorville Federal Correctional Institution in California, where she is serving a 366-day sentence. Ahead of her prison term, she sat down with The View co-host Jedidiah Bila for one last televised interview, which aired Tuesday evening on Lifetime.

“I made lots of mistakes,” said the former Dance Moms star. “The number one mistake being trusting other people with my money.”

In October 2015, Miller was charged with attempting to hide $775,000 of income from the Lifetime series, its spin-off Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition and multiple other projects during Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Miller, who allegedly hid the money in secret bank accounts between 2012–13, pled guilty to bankruptcy fraud in June 2016. She was also accused of divvying $120,000 and having her friends carry the money in plastic bags in their luggage in August 2014, which she promised to forfeit in January.

In May, she received a sentence of one year and one day in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release. She was additionally fined $40,000 and ordered to pay the $120,000 judgment, as well as give a DNA sample relating to her felony charge.

Although Miller attempted to explain her reasoning to Bila for opening up several other financial accounts, she admitted, “I was stupid, uneducated, didn’t do the research myself. I was in the wrong. What I did was wrong.”

Looking to the next year that she’ll be spending in prison, Miller shared that she was unable to prepare for what’s to come, but her faith is helping her cope.

Miller, a Catholic, revealed that prayer helps with “guidance” and “doing the right thing.”

Still, she’s afraid of what prison will be like.

“I’ve been told not to talk about it because once they know, when they see this and they know, that’s what they’ll go after,” Miller said of what she’s fearful might happen to her in prison. “I’m petrified.”

Of the fears that she could be physically abused, Miller admitted, “It’s not something that I think about — I kind of blocked it out — but it’s definitely something that I’m terrified of, yes.”

“I hope it won’t be as bad as I imagine,” she said, but admitted, “if a whole gang of people wants to kill you, they’re going to do it.”

“If a whole bunch of people want to make your life a living hell, they’re going to do it,” she continued. “If it’s that bad, I probably won’t survive.”

Miller, who lost close to 30 pounds ahead of her sentence and revealed that she’s “trying to be vegan,” admitted that she is “thankful that my mom and dad are not here to see this.”

Credit: Dance Moms/Twitter

Ahead of entering prison, the former dance instructor met with a female federal prison consultant — who was previously incarcerated for 17 months — and discussed the reality of life behind bars, including being strip-searched and wearing a khaki uniform.

“It’s going to sound stupid. So what if I go in and … they hand you clothes. What if they don’t fit?” Miller asked about her fear. “That’s the least of your concerns,” the consultant told her.

In an attempt to calm her fears, the consultant told Miller that there are “some really wonderful women that you’re going to meet in prison,” but also advised that there are the “rough and tough” types as well.

Miller, who previously opened up about her fears of being beaten or raped in prison, was also advised by the consultant about sexual relations behind bars. “If you don’t want to have sex with somebody and you don’t want a girlfriend for companionship or other, you’ll be fine. So nobody’s going to approach you unless you want one,” she said. “So it’s sort of like if you want a girlfriend and companionship, that’s fine, but you’re not going to get raped in a federal prison camp.”

“You’re not going to get raped by a guard in federal prison camp. As long as you’re respectful, then you’re probably not going to get into any fights with any women,” the consultant, who also advised her not to do business from prison, said. “Just blend in, follow the rules. Keep your volatility at a low level.”

Asked what mental place she was in prior to beginning her sentence, Miller said, “It feels like I’m being dropped into some dungeon and it’s going to be grey, it’s going to be cement, and it’s going to smell, and it’s going to be disgusting, and it’s going to be cold. And I’m going to get cramps in my feet and my legs every night because I’m going to be standing on cement.”

“My biggest fear: the people that I employ will stab me in the back and will teach for other people,” Miller told the consultant, who encouraged her to “trust.”

Miller still has hopes for the future beyond her prison sentence, revealing that she has “tons of opportunities.”

“I want to teach,” she said. “I don’t want to run the studio. I have put my time in making other people’s children famous. I have done it well. I don’t want to do it anymore.”

RELATED VIDEO: Abby Lee Miller Reports to Prison Where She Will Serve a 366-Day Sentence for Bankruptcy Fraud

Friends from Pittsburgh rented out a villa in Los Angeles on Miller’s last night of freedom. Putting on a brave face, she told them she was feeling a mix of emotions.

“I don’t know if I’m frightened anymore or just exhausted,” she said. “People keep saying it’s going to be like Paris Hilton… and I go, ‘I don’t think so.'”

While Miller is fearful of her year-long prison sentence, she is also scared of what her future looks like after her release.

“Will I come out and have nothing?” she asked. “That’s more scary than going in.”