From Martha Stewart to Todd Chrisley, see what these stars have said about their time behind bars
These celebrities are shining a light on their time behind bars.
While many famous faces who wind up serving time for various crimes choose to keep their experience private, some opt to share their experience. From Todd Chrisley's account of allegedly expired food to Martha Stewart's ceramic creations, here's a look at what these stars have said about serving time in prison.
During the chat, Chrisley alleged that he has been subjected to blackmail, noting one instance in which "there was a photograph taken of me while I was sleeping and sent to my daughter, asking for $2,600 a month for my protection."
Chrisley also claimed that he and his fellow inmates were served expired food, which has led him to forgo the free meals and buy his own food from the commissary.
“It is so disgustingly filthy. The food is literally, I’m not exaggerating — the food is dated and it’s out of date by, at minimum, a year,” he said.
And though he has found a way to avoid the bad food, his solution has come with its own set of issues.
“I’ve been told this by a staff member — one of the ways she’s trying to break me is by cutting down what you can buy in commissary,” he said. “So, before she came here, you could buy 12 packs of tuna a week. She cut it down to six, and from six it went to three. She had not given a reason — when I asked her about it, she said commissary is a privilege, not a right.”
Beyond the food, Chrisley says the prison — where he is serving 12 years after a jury convicted him and his wife Julie of a multimillion-dollar bank fraud and tax evasion scheme — is crawling with animals both dead and alive.
“You’ve got rats, you’ve got squirrels in the storage facility where the food is,” he claimed. “They just covered it up with plastic and then tore the ceiling out because of all the black mold and found a dead cat in the ceiling, and it dropped down on the top of the food.”
While appearing on an episode of the Hollywood Raw podcast with Dax Holt and Adam Glyn, the The Real Housewives of New Jersey star said, “I’m telling you the food was so good and what was my favorite was when I first got there, they had banana nut muffins,” she explained. “I would have a banana nut muffin every morning and then they ended up running out of them and I was so mad.”
In addition to the food, Giudice said she felt fortunate that she ended up in a facility as nice as the Danbury, Conn. Federal Correctional Institute she served her time. The reality star spent 11-months behind bars for fraud charges relating to her ex-husband Joe Giudice's bankruptcy fraud.
“My roommate was a politician, there were doctors and lawyers, and there were a lot of cool people there,” she said adding that "the grounds were so beautiful, the scenery was so beautiful."
Since spending five months at Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia in 2004 after being convicted of lying about the sale of a stock, lifestyle maven Martha Stewart has shared on numerous occasions various tidbits of the experience.
During her stay, Stewart says she picked up — or revisited — some hobbies including ceramics, which led to the creation of her now-famous nativity scene. The set she created later inspired the replicas which were sold on her website, Martha.com.
"Even when I went away for five months, I got through it. I learned how to crochet," Stewart recalled to PEOPLE. "I still have the gorgeous crocheted poncho [that I wore leaving prison]. It’s in the attic. And I reupped my ceramics there. I had done a lot of ceramics as a child, and we had this fabulous ceramics studio in West Virginia, and I made an entire crèche scene. That’s my best memory."
“It was horrifying and no one, no one, should have to go through that kind of indignity, really, except for murderers, and there are a few other categories, but no one should have to go through that,” she said. “It’s a very, very awful thing.”
“There are lots and lots of disturbing things that go on in an incarceration like that,” she added. “In minimum security, you still couldn’t walk out the gate or cross the river. There’s still guards and it’s still nasty.”
Abby Lee Miller
“My world flipped upside down when I had to enter prison,” she wrote in part alongside a photo of herself in her prison uniform posing with visitors. “I did so with grace, the stories you read about me been a princess are untrue. I have made friends with both inmates and staff, I’ve tried to better myself, participated in anything offered to me and I am a better person for this experience.”
She was released on March 27, 2018 and was transferred to a court-appointed Los Angeles-area halfway house.
More than a year after her release, Miller shined more light on what her experience was like while sharing what she thought Felicity Huffman should expect from her time behind bars as a result of her involvement in the college admissions scandal.
Miller admitted that while prison is “terrifying,” it also gives you “a lot of time to work on yourself" which in her case, included taking real estate and finance classes.
Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino
Following his eight-month prison sentence for tax evasion in September 2019, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino reunited with his friends and Jersey Shore cast mates at a rental house in New Jersey and discussed the experience on an episode of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.
In addition to some alleged encounters with President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen — who was also serving time at the Otisville Federal Correctional Institution — he talked about his living conditions, including the food which he explained was sometimes similar to the meals shown in Goodfellas. He said though he had a "Boston crew looking out for me" who "made sure I ate well," it didn't make a huge difference when it came to the quality of food.
“Listen, the conditions in prison as a whole — you’re not sleeping in a comfortable bed, you’re not eating good food, and this is for long periods of time,” he said. “You can see how prison could affect some of the other guys that are there for longer than a year. Because eventually, it starts to eat away at you. And if you don’t work at yourself mentally or physically or spiritually, eventually you’re going to be swallowed up by circumstance.”
The reality star said he also saw other inmates being caught with contraband and recounted the consequences.
“There were people that were caught with phones here and there and they were thrown in the SHU — it’s called solitary confinement,” he said. “[Prison guards] would find bags of Chinese food in the woods. They would get Chinese food delivered in the woods!”
A few weeks after reporting to prison in Feb. 2023 for her role in a telemarketing and fraud scheme, Jen Shah shared some updates to her followers on Instagram with he help of "an administrator" as noted on her account.
The initial post, shared on March 9, recounted the day Shah arrived and her feelings surrounding saying goodbye to her family.
"I leaned over to the seat next to me and hugged Omar as tight as I could and cried as I buried my head in his chest and held him as tight as I could not wanting to face [the] reality that this would be the last time I hugged him for a while," she said of her youngest son.
"Sharrieff opened the back passenger seat, and I turned to embrace him; hugging him as if holding him harder would somehow erase this horrible nightmare," she continued of her husband. "I wanted to remember his embrace, his smell, his touch. I held his face in both of my hands. As [I] looked into his eyes, tears streaming down my face, I told him he is the love of my life and I love him more than anything."
The following day, another update was shared on Instagram where she shared the "brown bag breakfast" provided to her which included "one piece of wheat bread, an apple, two packets of jelly and a packet of instant oatmeal."
She also shared the emotional toll the ordeal had taken on her, explaining "I cried silently sitting on my top bunk bed last night pretending to fall asleep reading a book, but in actuality my chest was hurting as if my heart had broken in a million pieces. I laid in the dark alone with my thoughts of having to say goodbye to my family - to my sweet husband and boys."
Later in the post, she explained that she was granted access to her phone access codes (PAC) which would allow her to contact her loved ones.
"The thought of finally being able to call my husband and hear his voice is making my eyes water," she said, before writing that she ran into some issues with getting through to him.
"I am trying to stay patient and not get frustrated," Shah said. "I must learn to focus on what I can control. I am not alone in my struggles and I must remember that on days where I want to just see my husband and children."
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