Martha Stewart Gets Candid About Her Past Prison Time

"It doesn’t make you better at all. It could ruin you," she said.

ByABC News
October 27, 2014, 11:50 AM
Martha Stewart attends the "Get On Up" premiere at The Apollo Theater,July 21, 2014, in New York.
Martha Stewart attends the "Get On Up" premiere at The Apollo Theater,July 21, 2014, in New York.
D Dipasupil/Getty Images

— -- “What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger” is absolutely not a philosophy Martha Stewart lives by, especially when it comes to prison.

Stewart sat down with E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic in front of thousands of small business owners for the first annual Quickbooks Connect conference hosted by Intuit in San Jose, California.

While the live interview that took place last week started off with Stewart detailing her humble beginnings, first working on Wall Street, then slowly growing her catering and media empire, the conversation turned to her 2004 stay in federal prison for obstructing justice.

When asked about challenges the author and DIY guru has faced in her career and how she overcome them, Stewart herself offered up details about her time in jail, candidly saying, “I did fall in one deep hole, for a period of about 10 months.”

Stewart, 73, had the audience laughing when she continued, “That deep hole was not a pleasant hole. And everybody tells you, ‘Oh, whatever happens to you, it will make you stronger, f*** them.”

“It’s so mean, that is the stupidest thing. It doesn’t make you better at all. It could ruin you,” she said of her stint a decade ago in West Virginia’s Alderson prison.

Stewart was found guilty in March 2004 after having been investigated by the SEC for selling thousands of shares of a stock right before the price plummeted. She was released from prison in March 2005.

“Luckily, I have an extremely strong, healthy constitution, so my health never suffered,” she continued. “Health, optimism and that curiosity to see what shouldn’t happen, what you can overcome. So, I overcame a very difficult, nasty situation.”

Stewart said her daughter Alexis and the rest of her family were instrumental to her getting through the ordeal.

“The best of all, I had an extremely supportive audience,” she said. “Advertisers had to take a little rest from ‘Martha Stewart Living’ and rightly so, because they really didn’t know what was right or what was wrong. And that was difficult for me to stomach and for the company to live through. But they came back ... and my customers never left.”

Stewart explained how she stayed optimistic during this time.

“Well, I wasn’t dying,” she added. “So, I couldn’t have fancy food for a while. That was fine. I was sent far away, but my friends came to visit me regularly and it was just a peculiar moment in time. It cannot define you. You cannot let something like that define a good person’s life. I am a good person and I am a creative person.”