Eva Longoria Recalls Felicity Huffman's 'Kindness' on Desperate Housewives in Emotional Letter of Support
Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty on May 13 to her role in the college admissions scandal
Eva Longoria has submitted a letter of support to the judge in her Desperate Housewives costar Felicity Huffman’s trial amid the college admissions scandal.
Longoria, 44, is among 27 people who wrote words favorable of Huffman and addressed to the judge. The letters were submitted on Friday in response to prosecutors recommending Huffman, 56, be sentenced to one month in jail, followed by 12 months of supervised release and a fine of $20,000.
In her two-page letter, obtained by PEOPLE, Longoria recalls “numerous wonderful memories” she shared with Huffman, including their time on the set of the ABC drama they costarred in from 2004-12.
“I worked with Felicity for nearly a decade of my life on a television show. Seeing her every day of every week for nearly 15 hours a day. When I began the TV show, I was very new to the business and industry as a whole. Felicity was the first one to take me under her wing,” Longoria writes.
The mother of one reflects on the cast’s first table read, during which she sat alone, “scared and unsure,” but it was Huffman’s “gentle character and kind heart” that reassured Longoria. “She sat down beside me and never left my side since that day,” Longoria notes, adding that she was “bullied at work by a co-worker” but the “anxiety” of the incident “stopped” when Huffman intervened.
In another example, Longoria recalls being the only leading actress not to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 2005. Though she did not name their costars, she alluded to Huffman, Teri Hatcher and Marcia Cross. (Nicollette Sheridan was also nominated for supporting actress that year.)
“I was the only one who was left out of the nominations. I wasn’t devastated but the press made it a bigger deal than it was between the four of us actors and that did affect me a bit,” Longoria writes. “Felicity came to my trailer and said, ‘It’s just a piece of metal, that and $1.50 will get you a bus ticket.’ She then proceeded to tell me how talented I was and how I never needed an award to know that. Her humor always made things better, but it was her heart and intentions to make sure I was always OK that I remember most. I don’t know why she always felt like she had to protect me. Maybe because I was the youngest on the cast or naive about the industry; whatever it was, I am forever grateful.”
Longoria adds, “I know I would not have survived those years if it wasn’t for the friendship of Felicity.”
The actress further states: “I also know these things may sound like first class problems or small insignificant moments. But to a young, naive, Mexican girl who felt like I didn’t belong, those gestures meant the world to me. She mattered. And everything she did to help along the way, mattered.”
Longoria touted Huffman as a person whose nature was “to be kind and supportive” before characterizing her as “strong” and “bold” during contract negotiations on Desperate Housewives.
Describing “one of the most significant examples of Felicity’s kindness,” Longoria says it was her costar’s idea to negotiate together so all the leading actresses would make the same amount of money. “Felicity stood up for me, saying it was fair because the success of the show depended on all of us, not one of us,” Longoria recalls.
“This fight lasted weeks, but Felicity held strong and convinced everyone this was the right thing to do. … It wasn’t about the money for me, it was the fact that I was seen as an equal, which is how Felicity had always seen me,” Longoria writes of Huffman’s “bold act.”
Lastly, Longoria names a philanthropic memory in which Huffman would be the only Desperate Housewives costar to support “numerous charities” that Longoria supported.
“The most special part about this is that my charities were always for children of the Latino community. I did the work because I am Latino, but Felicity didn’t have to, she wanted to,” Longoria recalls. “There were so many times Felicity was the only white woman in the room helping me improve the lives of these brown faces and families. I will never forget that.”
To end her letter of support, Longoria says: “She always leads with her heart and has always put others first. This is why I still call her my friend today and always.”
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.
PEOPLE confirmed on Friday that prosecutors recommended the 56-year-old actress face one month in prison, followed by 12 months of supervised release as well as a $20,000 fine.
Through her attorneys, Huffman asked the judge on the case for one year of probation and community service.
In Huffman’s sentencing memorandum, which was reviewed by PEOPLE, prosecutors described her conduct as “deliberate and manifestly criminal.”
“It was wrong, she knew it was wrong, and she actively participated in manipulating her daughter’s guidance counselor, the testing services and the schools to which her daughter applied,” the document reads. “Her efforts weren’t driven by need or desperation, but by a sense of entitlement, or at least moral cluelessness, facilitated by wealth and insularity.”
The mother of two, who shares daughters Sofia, 18, and Georgia, 17, with husband William H. Macy, will be sentenced on Sept. 13.