Abby Lee Miller says her prison time and cancer battle have only made her 'tougher'

The "Dance Moms" star also shared advice for Felicity Huffman an Lori Loughlin.

May 22, 2019, 8:12 AM

Abby Lee Miller opened up to "Good Morning America" about her experience spending eight months in prison for bankruptcy fraud.

She called the whole ordeal "a joke" and "absolutely asinine," but added that "for every mistake I've made I've had to just come back tougher."

"Wouldn't I have done better teaching underprivileged children to dance or I mean just working, you know, fine me, whatever," she told ABC News' Paula Faris. "It's absolutely asinine, the entire thing."

PHOTO: Abby Lee Miller opened up to "Good Morning America" about her experience spending eight months in prison for bankruptcy fraud.
Abby Lee Miller opened up to "Good Morning America" about her experience spending eight months in prison for bankruptcy fraud.
ABC News

The larger-than-life star of the hit reality show "Dance Moms" said that she felt she was treated differently by "the guards" and "the prison system" while she was behind bars because of her celebrity status.

She said she felt the prison guards would treat her like, "Where's that dance lady? Where's that TV star lady? We're going to get her."

"They come into your room they, they take your locker ... they dump everything out of it," she said. "They take red soda pop and shake it up and spray it all over your clothes."

She claimed their behavior was "offensive" and "violent," and alleged that the first day she was in prison, a female prison guard even started "trying to pull my eyelashes off; they were extensions."

"And she kicked my bed and she screamed at me," Miller said.

PHOTO: Abby Lee Miller opened up to "Good Morning America" about her experience spending eight months in prison for bankruptcy fraud.
Abby Lee Miller opened up to "Good Morning America" about her experience spending eight months in prison for bankruptcy fraud.
ABC News

The Federal Bureau of Prisons wouldn't comment specifically on Miller's allegations, citing inmate privacy, but said in a statement to ABC News that it "provides a safe, secure and humane environment for staff and inmates."

"If there are allegations of misconduct, they are taken seriously and, when appropriate, referred for proper investigation," the statement added.

The dancing coach even offered advice for actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, who are both facing possible jail time for their alleged involvement in the "Varsity Blues" college admissions scandal. Prosecutors have recommend four months of jail time for Huffman after she pleaded guilty. Loughlin has pleaded not guilty in the case and is awaiting trial.

"The girls in prison are going to be fans," Miller said. "They want to know what it's like to live with a movie star or, you know, a television star. ... They want to know about your case."

"I don't know those two ladies personally, but from their television personas, I don't think they would have the same issues that I had," she added. "Because you know, everybody knows me as being tough and mean and yelling at little kids."

After leaving prison in March 2018, Miller said she was ready to start a new life, but then she faced another setback: she was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, which was discovered only after she underwent emergency back surgery.

"I would have been dead," Miller said if they hadn't discovered it.

"I was paralyzed from the neck down — no movement," she added. "Because this cancer — this lymphoma — was choking my spinal cord."

Miller endured 10 rounds of chemo and two surgeries and she still can't walk, although she said doctors are optimistic that she will be able to walk again soon.

"Right now the biggest issue is my right knee," she said. "I have needed a knee replacement for about seven years now."

Reflecting back on her cancer battle, Miller said she feels "tough."

PHOTO: Abby Lee Miller attends Lifetime's Summer Luau, May 20, 2019, in Los Angeles.
Abby Lee Miller attends Lifetime's Summer Luau, May 20, 2019, in Los Angeles.
Rich Fury/Getty Images

"I firmly believe that all the world's a stage and we are merely the players," she added. "So I think this was all destiny. It was supposed to happen this way and it did. And I'm just following the script."

She says, however, that the health scare left her "more appreciative" and "thankful."

Soon, Miller will be back at doing what she does best: returning to the spotlight for season 8 of "Dance Moms," the show that made her famous.

As for the kids she's training, "they're in for the ride of their lives," Miller said.

When asked if she ever felt she was too tough on the kids she taught, Miller said, "Never."

In promos for the show's highly anticipated eighth season, she promises fans, "I am going to be tougher and meaner than ever before."

Miller told ABC News that her prison time and cancer battle "doesn't change me."

"I've always been a fighter," she said. "For every mistake I've made, I've had to just come back tougher and come back stronger and come back better."

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