Felicity Huffman repeatedly went to bat for “Desperate Housewives” costar Eva Longoria when they worked on the hit show, helping the younger actress get a raise and warning a bully on the set to quit tormenting her, Longoria wrote in her heartfelt letter to Huffman’s sentencing judge.
Longoria’s letter was one of several filed on Huffman’s behalf in US District Court in Boston, where Huffman, known for her critically acclaimed work in the film “Transamerica,” faces sentencing Friday for rigging her daughter’s SAT score in the college admissions scandal.
Longoria described Huffman as a creative collaborator with a “gentle character and kind heart” who “immediately opened up to me” when Longoria started working on the critically acclaimed ABC TV series, which aired from 2004 to 2012.
Longoria signed her letter with her full name, Eva Longoria Baston, and wrote that Huffman told her during an early table read of the script, “Don’t be scared, we will get through this together.”
She said Huffman once stood up to an on-set bully who had put Longoria through “pure torture,” telling the perpetrator “Enough” in such a way that the misconduct stopped. The “bully” is unnamed in the letter.
Huffman even encouraged Longoria when she was passed over for an Emmy nomination in a year when three other “Desperate Housewives” stars were up for shiny trophies.
Longoria said Huffman “came to my trailer and said, ‘It’s just a piece of metal, that and $1.50 will get you a bus ticket.’ ”
Longoria continued, “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. I know I would not have survived those 10 years if it wasn’t for the friendship of Felicity.”
Huffman, Longoria wrote, even helped her get a salary bump when it was time to re-negotiate their show contracts.
“I was the lowest paid actor on the show by far,” Longoria wrote, without specifying how much bank she made compared to others. “But I mean, by far! ... Felicity brought up the idea that we should negotiate together, something we call favored nations that means we all make the same.”
The other cast members initially weren’t feeling so altruistic, apparently.
“Well, needless to say, that did not go over too well with the others,” Longoria wrote. “But Felicity stood up for me, saying it was fair because the success of the show depended on all of us, not one of us. This fight lasted weeks, but Felicity held strong and convinced everyone this was the right thing to do. And thanks to her, I was bumped up to favored nations.”
Longoria stressed that she wasn’t looking for a bigger payday, as much as validation of her acting talent.
“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 wrote. “Now, thanks to her bold act, everyone saw what she saw, not only on our show but within the industry.”
Longoria also praised Huffman’s charity work.
“I wanted to use the spotlight that the TV show gave us to bring awareness to numerous charities that I support,” Longoria wrote. “I knew I couldn’t do it alone, so I asked the other women to join me. They were all usually too busy to help, except Felicity. ... 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. 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.”