Abby Lee Miller is sharing her tips about serving time in prison when you're a celebrity.
The 52-year-old reality star recently spoke to ET's Keltie Knight about her show, Dance Moms, and she also opened up about her experience in jail. Miller was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison in May 2017, after pleading guilty to bankruptcy fraud in June 2016. She began her sentence on July 12, 2017, at the Federal Correctional Complex in Victorville, California, and was released last March.
Miller said she definitely had "lots of advice" to give Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, who are both facing legal trouble due to their alleged involvement in a massive college admissions cheating scam. Huffman plead guilty earlier this month for allegedly paying $15,000 to help get her and husband William H. Macy's eldest daughter, 18-year-old Sofia, into an elite college by cheating on the SAT, but has yet to be sentenced. Meanwhile, Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, entered not guilty pleas last month after being accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters, 19-year-old Olivia and 20-year-old Bella, admitted to the University of Southern California as recruits for the crew team, even though neither of them participated in the sport.
"Don't hire a prison consultant. That's one," Miller tells ET about what she would tell 56-year-old Huffman and 54-year-old Loughlin about possibly serving jail time. "Be open with people. They are celebrities. People know them from TV. TV's a big deal in prison. A big deal. People watch it nonstop. So they're gonna be interested in what it was like to be on a TV show. You know, what's it like to, you know, be married to John Stamos?... What are all these things like? They're gonna want to know."
"They're interested, and I think if they share their stories and their tales of woe and all that, they will be just fine," she continues. "And I also think, you know, it's important to listen to every other woman's story, because everybody there just wants to tell their own story and be heard. I think that's what I learned most. Everybody's there because of some, you know, crazy nonsense stupid mistakes that we made .... and they still are just trying to tell their story."
Miller says the hardest thing she would prepare them for is interacting with prison guards.
"It was bad. It was really bad -- more so the female guards than the male," she says of her experience. "You know, you don't need a lot of credentials to be prison guard in a federal prison. And, you know, you give them a set of keys and a weapon and they're in power."
She claims that some guards were harder on her because of how she's been portrayed on television.
"In my particular situation, they were -- because of... my characterization on television and what I'm known for, and you know, screaming at the kids and yelling at the moms," she says, "everybody wants to have their chance to get a baseball bat and smack me in the face with it. That's what it was like. I don't think Felicity and Lori are gonna hit that same thing, 'cause that's not the persona they have on TV. I think [Loughlin is] still going to be [America's Sweetheart]."
As for how her fellow inmates reacted to Miller, she says it was a mixed bag, but does recall one woman's heartwarming gesture.
"It's just like any other place that I go. Some people love me, some people hated me," she shares. "You know, I made some friends. I should say I met women that are so wonderful and so kind and so generous. One lady -- we call her the redneck Amazon Barbie -- her name is Gypsy. She took the shoes off of her feet and gave them to me. She had saved up her money from working in a prison for months and months and months to order her, you know, Nike whatever you're allowed to order, and she ordered them. She had them a week and I got there and they didn't have any for me. I had to wear big black combat boots that rip up your feet and your ankles and she said, 'Here, take these.' There isn't a mother on the cast of Dance Moms that would've given me the shoes off their feet."
These days, Miller is looking forward to the debut of Dance Moms on June 4 on Lifetime. The show will follow the reality star as she rebuilds her dance company while battling the after-effects of her serious health issues. Miller underwent emergency surgery on her spine last April after she was preliminarily diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, a form of cancer that affects the lymphatic system.
For more of ET's chat with Miller, watch the video below: