Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller is 'afraid' of abuse in prison
Plus: What the famous dance instructor has said about her bankruptcy fraud case
Abby Lee Miller on Tuesday was sentenced to one year and one day in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release, marking the end of her one-and-a-half year bankruptcy fraud trial.
The Dance Moms star was charged in October 2015 with attempting to hide $775,000 of income she earned from the Lifetime reality series, the Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition spinoff series, and other projects during Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Miller was also accused in 2014 of divvying up $120,000 among friends’ luggage for transportation that she promised to forfeit in January.
The accusations and ensuing courtroom drama were widely documented, and as she prepares to serve her sentence, here’s what she’s said about her past decisions, the case, and what awaits in the future.
On fears of going to prison:
“I’m afraid of being physically abused or raped,” she told PEOPLE in May. “I have to stay busy. If I thought about it every day, I’d just sit around and cry.”
On fraud charges:
“I made mistakes and I trusted people, but ultimately I have to take responsibility,” Miller told PEOPLE in April. “I have to take the blame. I have to take the punishment.”
She added: “I went from being a dance teacher from Pittsburgh who never ran a family business, who never did the books, who never wrote the checks out. When [my dad] died, I had these temporary people in there, now we’re finding out that money was going right and left, and I didn’t know that.”
On her relationships during the trial:
“I found out a lot of things about people that I loved and trusted that were by my side, by my mother’s side when she died,” Miller recalled, adding, “Whenever money is involved, you find out a lot about people.”
On how producers treated her:
As Miller announced her leave from Dance Moms in March, she blasted producers on Instagram. “I don’t have a problem working with any kid, I love children and have dedicated my life to making other people’s children successful!” she wrote. “I JUST HAVE A PROBLEM WITH BEING MANIPULATED, DISRESPECTED, AND USED – DAY IN AND DAY OUT BY MEN WHO NEVER TOOK A DANCE LESSON IN THEIR LIVES AND TREAT WOMEN LIKE DIRT!” (Lifetime hasn’t commented on the allegations, and Miller was replaced with Dancing with the Stars alum Cheryl Burke in March.)
On what she regrets:
Miller called herself “one of those victims” of the real estate policies during the subprime mortgage crisis that began in 2007. “So instead of telling anybody that I needed to borrow money or getting a really good attorney, I asked a friend, ‘Who do I go to for a bankruptcy attorney?’ I went on the down-low — nobody knew, not even my mother,” she told PEOPLE. “I declared bankruptcy, and that was the worst thing I ever should have done.”
On life after prison:
Miller told PEOPLE she hopes to break away from Lifetime at some point. “If you knew how many wrenches [Lifetime] has thrown in stuff for me — I was asked to do Dancing with the Stars three times, I was asked to be back on The View three times,” she said. “Lifetime is putting the kibosh on it before I even know about it. If I could take Dance Moms to anyone else, I would do it in a heartbeat. I’m very upset.”