The untold truth of William H. Macy

Shameless actor William H. Macy found himself at the center of a major scandal when his longtime wife, actress Felicity Huffman, was indicted and arrested on fraud charges on March 12, 2019. In connection to a nationwide college bribery scam involving 50 people, prosecutors accused Huffman of paying $15,000 to an organization that allegedly helped the couple's older daughter cheat on her SAT exam. As for Macy, he wasn't directly named in the shocking indictment, but some fans still have questions about whether or not he was involved.

Due to Huffman's alleged role in the drama, many people have developed an interest in Macy's life and background. Although the actor might not come across as the most interesting guy given his steady professional history and seemingly quiet personality, he has a few eyebrow-raising controversies under his belt. From those questionable comments he made about his two daughters to his headline-worthy remark about the Time's Up movement, Macy may not be as chill as he appears.

We'll also dive deep into Macy's life before fame and how his mom played an integral role in his success. Intrigued yet? Pull up a seat, and let's get into the untold truth of William H. Macy.

The real reason he wasn't indicted

William H. Macy wasn't indicted in the alleged college cheating scandal alongside his wife, Felicity Huffman, and it seems to be because there was a lack of proof of Macy's alleged involvement in the scheme. 

In the federal indictment, prosecutors alleged that Huffman conspired with a college consulting agency run by businessman William Singer in an effort to fraudulently boost her daughter's SAT score. The actress allegedly paid Singer $15,000 for a proctor to correct her daughter's incorrect test answers, resulting in an SAT score 400 points higher than her PSAT score, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. Singer, who has reportedly cooperated with authorities as a witness, "advised investigators that Huffman and her spouse agreed to the plan" during a 2017 meeting between the three, according to court docs. The documents also alleged that Macy and Huffman, during a phone call with Singer on Dec. 12, 2018, discussed the possibility of carrying out the same supposed scheme for their youngest daughter. In the call, Macy — the "spouse" — allegedly named Georgetown University as an option for their daughter. Ultimately, the pair reportedly didn't go through with the alleged plot.

If Macy was supposedly aware of this alleged bribery, then why wasn't he indicted? Legal documentation doesn't show that Macy participated in alleged emails and phone conservations involving his first daughter, which suggests there may not have been enough evidence to charge him with a crime.

Was he a good student?

The FBI's college bribery investigation — aka "Operation Varsity Blues" — sparked a national conversation about academic achievement. Many people argued that children of the wealthy and famous receive preferential treatment during the admissions process, while others accused parents of pushing their kids too far

It's not clear where Macy stands on these compelling issues, but we do know how he fared as a young academic. "I was a wretched student," he confessed to the Reading Eagle, a Pennsylvania-based newspaper. "I wanted to be a veterinarian but, with the required academics, I knew I could never cut it. So succeeding in school plays and failing at everything else drove me into this business." Hey, at least the actor was honest.

Despite his academic failings, Macy went on to attend Goddard College in Vermont. Macy described the institution as "a hippie school, where the only thing you really had to do was pay tuition," according to his January 2016 interview with AXS. "No grades, no requirements," he added. Given Macy's struggle with school, it sounds like he made the right choice with Goddard.

Um, this is really awkward

Once upon a time, William H. Macy talked to Men's Journal about the best advice he has ever received. "Never lie. It's the cheapest way to go," he told the mag in February 2019. "Lies cost you a lot, and they're never worth what they cost." Although this is sound advice (honesty is the best policy, as the saying goes), his answer is a little embarrassing in the context of Huffman's arrest one month later. 

But wait — there are more uncomfortable quotes to uncover. When prompted to reveal character traits he hates, Macy said, "Dishonesty. Self-delusion. Lack of character." Awkward much? The irony of Macy's interview wasn't lost on Twitter users, with one person tweeting, "Words can be haunting. He could have never in a million years [seen] that coming." Another person said, "I believe this is what we call irony."

It's important to note here that Macy wasn't indicted alongside his wife, and, at the time of this writing in March 2019, Huffman hasn't been convicted of any crimes.

It's 'hard' to be a man, apparently

On the surface, Macy appears committed to women's equality and seems on board with female empowerment. And given his progressive attitude towards these issues, we were a little surprised to learn what he said about the Time's Up movement, a campaign that draws awareness to sexual harassment in the workplace. "It's hard to be a man these days," the actor told reporters about Time's Up, while backstage at the 2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards (via Entertainment Weekly). "I think a lot of us feel like we're under attack and feel like we need to apologize. Perhaps we do. Perhaps we are." He added, "But we'll keep talking." Oh boy. Macy probably could have phrased his thoughts in a more sensitive way, right? 

The Shameless star did acknowledge, however, that Time's Up has inspired important discussions amongst men. "We had a meeting, a bunch of guys got together, under the auspices of Time's Up — and that's good for men," he shared. "Men don't talk enough. Men don't talk to other men, and we talked. What the hell — a little bit can't hurt you."

Macy was then asked about what advice he'd give to an actor coming of age in the Time's Up movement, a question he found "really, really, really complicated." Hmm... we can't help but wonder what's confusing here. That being said, there's a good chance Macy meant no harm by his comments. We hope that's the case, at least.

He isn't easily satisifed

It's no secret Macy often plays characters who are down on their luck or are perceived as losers in movies. "From heartbroken sheriff in Happy, Texas, to cuckolded pornographer in Boogie Nights, to a man so unlucky his very presence brings bad fortune to those around him in The Cooler," the actor isn't often cast in hero-type roles, a HuffPost article highlighting Macy's career pointed out.

What's funny about the actor's predicament? He's actually a "perfectionist" who has very high standards. "I'm an ambitious fellow, it's true. I try to rein it in — in fact I devote a lot of energy towards doing so — but the truth is that I am very ambitious and nothing is ever quite good enough," he told The Independent in June 2006. Interesting — we had no idea Macy had a type-A personality. 

As for those "loser" roles he's famous for, he stated, "To this day it puzzles me why it is that I'm always cast as the regular American guy who's confused, whose world has just burned down around him, and now finds himself wondering what he's supposed to do next. Because, even in my darkest days, that's never how I've perceived myself. I work hard to maintain a high standard of work and professionalism to the extent where some might even describe me as a perfectionist."

We're curious if Macy has ever put pressure on his family to succeed as well. Regardless, it'd appear he expects the best.

His marriage advice hasn't aged well

It's not uncommon for celebrities to dish out personal advice in interviews, a phenomenon Macy is no exception to. As for one particular remark that sticks out to us? When giving guidance about how to keep a marriage fresh, Macy told People in January 2012, "Just act like you love her more than anybody you've ever seen in your life, and you'll get it back in spades. Just pretend." He explained, "You have to pretend. Make it up, just make it up!" Yup, we're totally cringing right now.

Although it's possible Macy meant this as a joke, it's probably not a good idea to encourage deceit in a relationship regardless of your intentions. And there's a good chance the Hollywood veteran didn't consider how his words might come back to haunt him one day, as Macy's bit about faking it is a little awkward given Huffman's alleged involvement in the college cheating scandal. We're pretty sure honesty is the best policy, guys.

His road to true love wasn't perfect

It's pretty obvious Macy and Huffman have enjoyed a strong marriage throughout the years. The pair, who wed in 1997, often gush about one another in interviews, and Macy once referred to their union as a "fairytale" (via People). With the couple seemingly boasting a great romance, some fans might be surprised to learn that their relationship was rocky in beginning. Huffman, who met Macy in the 1980s, initially had to woo her future husband multiple times before he agreed to go on a date. "I think I had to talk him into it for a while. I went on a campaign," she joked to the Daily Mail. "He was certainly worth it."

Despite chasing after Macy, Huffman wasn't chomping at the bit to get married. In fact, the two dated for a whopping 15 years before they tied the knot. "I was so scared of marriage that I thought I would've preferred to step in front of a bus," the actress told the Tribune-Review in February 2015. Yikes. 

Macy's proposal was rejected by Huffman "several times," and it took a "four or five" year breakup between the two before the actress finally warmed up to marriage. "Bill Macy asked me to marry him several times over several years," she recalled. "And I was finally smart enough to go: 'I'm going to marry this guy or really lose him for good.'" All's well that ends well, as the old adage goes.

He said what about his daughters' sex lives?

To some fans, Macy comes across as a quiet and reserved guy who isn't in the market to shake things up. The Fargo star essentially confirmed this sentiment, revealing to Ability magazine, "I tend to recharge my batteries in solitude ... I need to be alone. As a matter of fact, I have to be careful. I could turn into a hermit."

Considering Macy doesn't need any extra attention on him, it's kind of strange that he decided to comment on his teenage daughters' sex lives. The uncomfortable situation unfolded in May 2018, when Macy was chatting with Us Weekly about his approach to parenting kids on the cusp of dating. "You know, I started doing all the cliches, 'I'm gonna threaten the guys, I'm gonna dig a moat around our house,'" he shared. "And then I thought, 'OK, what do you really want for your daughters?' And I realized: I want them to be happy and lusty and safe. I want them to have a lot of sex in their lifetime! Good, healthy wonderful sex with no guilt. That's what I really want." 

Of course, there's nothing wrong with wanting your adult children to have a healthy relationship with sex. But we have to ask, why did Macy feel the need to share this publicly? Maybe the actor isn't as introverted as he has led us to believe.

Beefing with One Direction

Arguably the strangest detail about Macy is his disdain for the once mega-popular boy band One Direction. The actor first became acquainted with the group due to his daughters, who, like many young teens at the time, couldn't get enough of "Story of My Life" and "What Makes You Beautiful," to name a few of the band's hits. Although it's funny to imagine Macy at at a 1D concert, he attended a few shows for the sake of his kiddos. As for Macy's review of the guys? Let's just say he's not a fan of the now-defunct pop group.

"My oldest is really into Taylor Swift, so we went to her concert and she was great," Macy told Billboard in October 2014 about his daughters' musical interests. "Then we went to One Direction, who are a bunch of wankers. I just wanted to spank them — they should be ashamed of themselves." At least the entertainer's insult pays homage to the band's mostly British background, we guess? 

Macy was somewhat less critical when discussing the group during a January 2014 appearance on Live With Kelly and Michael, stating (via E! News), "I've been in showbiz all my life. So, let me just say, those guys can sing. They're very talented." But then he added, "They couldn't put on a good show with a gun to their head." Hmm... we'd love to know what Macy's daughters had to say about their father's comments!

Thanks, mom

Many actors attribute their success to one big break, which is a sentiment Macy can relate to wholeheartedly. So, how did the entertainer secure international fame? Interestingly enough, Macy is a bonafide star thanks to his now-late mother. Macy's relationship with her — whom he referred to as "a quiet, sad drunk," in an interview with The Guardian — was a bit complicated growing up. But despite their differences, Macy's mom lent him $20,000 of her own money to help him when he was a struggling actor working alongside playwright David Mamet. The Hollywood vet was a 20-something at the time, so the gift was a big boost to his modest bank account. 

"And as angry as we were with each other, 20 grand paid for a play, and that play turned out to be American Buffalo," he revealed about his mom's generosity. "It was the jumping-off place for my career."

In case you didn't know already, American Buffalo won the 1977 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best American play. Thanks, mom.

He co-developed this acting method

As if Macy's acting career wasn't impressive enough, he also co-developed an acting method that's taught in universities and acting classes nationwide. The method, which he co-created alongside his friend and playwright David Mamet, is called "Practical Aesthetics." He opened up about this technique in an interview with The Independent, stating, "The most outrageous tenet of practical aesthetics is that emotions cannot be controlled. They're not part of the technique ... For many actors, this is an outrageous notion. But psychoanalysis backs it up." He continued, "Mamet says — forget the emotions. They're boring anyway. They're a bore to watch. The best emotion comes from watching a brave person fighting for something, fighting to fix a problem they can't fix."

An acting coach in Scotland summed up the process in a blog post, explaining, "To the Practical Aesthetics actor, there is no character. It cannot be created, the writer has already given you everything you need to act the role by suggestions made in the script. The illusion of character is created when the writer's words mixes with the performer's actions and is born in the audience's mind."

We can't say we completely understand Macy's method, but we are impressed with this accomplishment. After all, it's not every day a person develops a respected acting technique.

He grew up... a lot

Although it's somewhat of a cliché, young and famous actors can be jerks. William H. Macy admitted to this trope in April 2018, when he chatted to The Ringer about his early days in Hollywood. "I think I was pretty much an a**hole as a young actor," he confessed. "Constant a**hole for a bunch of years. ... I just took it all so bloody seriously. It was a calling and I felt righteous about my technique and intolerant of people when they didn't do good work." Young Macy sounds like a big ball of fun, no? 

Fortunately, Macy was introspective enough to see the error of his ways and has since changed for the better. "I've mellowed a lot. People do," he said. "You get the s**t kicked out of you. You grow up."

As for whether the Fargo star has any regrets about his past behavior, he reasoned the only thing he can do is move forward. "Well, I'd change it if I could, but I can't! I've tried to turn back the clock, but I can't. It's just calmed me down, you know," he explained. "I've got miles on me. When I see someone struggling, I just want to help them. And the trick is trying to help people without overstepping your bounds."

Considering some actors struggle to admit when they're wrong, Macy's honesty is a pretty admirable. You know, if we can look past his potential involvement in the college admissions scheme.