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Desperate Housewives became an international hit almost immediately after it debuted in October 2004. The dramedy (which starred Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Nicollette Sheridan) gave viewers a very different, and certainly soapy, look at life in the suburbs, and viewers ate it up.
While Desperate Housewives either revitalized the careers of the actresses at its center or simply took them to a whole different level and made them stars for the first time, it now appears that the behind the scenes lives of at least one of those women was quite difficult for a time. Eva Longoria, who played vain former model Gabrielle Solis, has revealed that she actually suffered through bullying while working on the series.
Longoria's revelation comes via the letter of support she wrote to a judge on behalf of her former co-star, Felicity Huffman, who will be sentenced soon for her part in the college admission scandal. A few months ago, Huffman pleaded guilty to committing honest services fraud and mail fraud after paying $15,000 to have someone take the SAT in the place of her oldest daughter. Here's part of what Longoria had to say:
There was a time I was being bullied at work by a co-worker. I dreaded the days I had to work with that person because it was pure torture. Until one day, Felicity told the bully ‘enough’ and it all stopped. Felicity could feel that I was riddled with anxiety even though I never complained or mentioned the abuse to anyone.
Well, it's certainly obvious why Eva Longoria would still be solid friends with Felicity Huffman, and why she would put in the time to write a character reference letter on Huffman's behalf before she gets sentenced. The bigger question, though, is just who bullied Longoria on the Desperate Housewives set?
While most people who read Eva Longoria's letter, which was obtained by NBC News (via TVLine), will likely jump to the conclusion that the person who bullied her was another actor, Longoria only referred to the person as "a co-worker." Technically, this could be anyone who worked on the set but didn't interact with Longoria on a regular basis.
Eva Longoria noted elsewhere in the letter that, when she booked the role on Desperate Housewives, not only was she the youngest person in the main cast, but she was also still relatively new to the business, so, logically, she would have made a prime target for a bully who was looking to intimidate someone in an effort to make themselves feel better. But, whether this was another actor or not, we will probably never know for sure, because Longoria didn't name the person.
How many people, who have just gotten a big part on a major network show, would be willing to complain about the behavior of a co-worker when it might mean that their big break could go poof almost as soon as it began? Those who find themselves bullied or otherwise harassed, whether it be at work or elsewhere, now have a lot more agency when it comes to exposing the negative behaviors of others, but back when Desperate Housewives started, it was a much harder task.
Apparently, Huffman became a friend to Eva Longoria on the set from the start, and helped her with everything from their first table read (where the whole cast and many of the creatives get together to read the script for the first time), to early award show appearances, Longoria's charity work and even later contract negotiations.
Because Longoria was the least experienced of the main cast, she was also the lowest paid. She says that when it was time to renegotiate, Huffman suggested they all negotiate together so they would each make the same amount per episode of Desperate Housewives, noting "that did not go over too well with the others," but Huffman said "it was fair because the success of the show depended on all of us, not one of us."
Honestly, if you're willing to stand up for someone when it comes to financial issues, it makes a lot of sense that you would be willing to go to bat for them when it comes to them being bullied or pretty much anything else. So, if nothing else, you can absolutely say that Eva Longoria has a dedicated friend in Felicity Huffman, and vice versa.
Felicity Huffman is scheduled for sentencing in just a few days, and prosecutors have suggested a fine of $20,000 and four months of prison time, while her lawyers have asked for the fine, along with a year of probation and 250 hours of community service. Whatever happens, it does appear that Eva Longoria will stand by the friend who helped remedy the bullying she faced all those years ago.