The cast of Desperate Housewives.
The cast of Desperate Housewives.

Secret feuds behind Desperate Housewives revealed

Letters penned in support of disgraced actress Felicity Huffman by her former Desperate Housewives colleagues have also painted a shocking picture of what life was like behind the scenes of the hit TV show.

Huffman's former Desperate Housewives co-star Eva Longoria and the show's creator Marc Cherry have both penned letters attesting to Huffman's character in an attempt to keep the star out of jail for her role in the college-admissions scandal.

Huffman, 56, is accused of paying $US15,000 to facilitate cheating on daughter Sofia's SAT test by having a proctor correct the teen's answers.

In a letter submitted to the court, Longoria, 44, opens up about the "bullying" she was subjected to on the set of the hit show, which was frequently hit with reports of behind-the-scenes tensions during its eight-season run.

"There was a time I was being bullied at work by a co-worker," Longoria writes, not naming the co-star. "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," Longoria writes in the letter, which has been obtained by NBC News.

Longoria also reveals Huffman was the only co-star who showed an interest and actively participated in her charity work - the others were "usually too busy to help" - and Huffman had been her sole supporter in achieving pay parity with the rest of the main cast.

Longoria had joined the show as "a young, naive, Mexican girl who felt like I didn't belong" and was paid a fraction of the amount her much more famous co-stars like Teri Hatcher and Marcia Cross received.

 

Desperate Housewives stars Brenda Strong, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher and Nicollette Sheridan in 2005.
Desperate Housewives stars Brenda Strong, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher and Nicollette Sheridan in 2005.

When Desperate Housewives became a worldwide hit and the main cast's contracts were up for negotiation, Huffman suggested they all negotiate together and ask for the same wage.

"This did not go over too well with the others. 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," she wrote. "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 favoured nations. 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.

"I know I would not have survived those 10 years if it wasn't for the friendship of Felicity," Longoria writes.

In a separate letter submitted to the judge, Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry also freely alludes to on-set strife on the show, revealing one star stopped speaking to the rest of the cast during season seven.

"We had a problematic cast member on my show. She was a big star with some big behavioural problems. Everyone tried their darnedest to get along with this woman over the course of the show. It was impossible. And things went from bad to worse," Cherry writes.

"At some point during season seven this woman decided she would no longer speak to her fellow cast members. (She would only communicate with the directors who were then forced to pass on her thoughts to her co-stars. This was alternately maddening and hilarious.) Felicity still insisted on saying, 'Good morning' to this actress, even though she knew she wouldn't get a response. I found out about this and asked Felicity about it. She smiled and said, 'Just because that woman's determined to be rude doesn't mean she can keep me from being polite'."

Huffman herself stoked long-running rumours of a D esperate Housewives feud last year when she posted a touching tribute to the show online, complete with personalised messages to each of her former co-stars - except Teri Hatcher.