Sometimes, it’s difficult to remember that Martha Stewart, whose homemaking empire stretches far and wide, spent five months in a federal minimum-security prison.
Today, she’s back on top of her game. Recently, she opened up about her prison experience and how she recovered from that major setback.
‘A Terrible Time’
Martha stopped by the “Today” show to chat with Jill Martin, where she opened up about her background as well as the darkest time in her life.
“Having serious personal problems like my marriage dissolving and the horrible legal problem I had, where I had to go to jail for five months — that was a terrible time.”
So how did Martha bounce back, arguably better than ever? She credits her loyal customer base, who stuck with her even when analysts believed that the Martha Stewart brand was sunk.
“It’s all about what you are and who you are. And I never lost my customers because my customers believed in me. That gave me the wherewithal to just continue along my happy path.”
In 2017, she also revealed to “Today” that there was nothing good about going to prison, and that there was no way to attempt to make the best of a bad situation:
“That you can make lemons out of lemonade? What hurts you makes you stronger? No. None of those adages fit at all. It’s a horrible experience. Nothing is good about it, nothing.”
Martha Stewart Convicted, Sentenced to Jail
Martha, now 78, was convicted of insider trading in 2004. She received a tip from her stockbroker at Merrill Lynch that a certain stock was about to fall and sold nearly 4,000 shares.
She was incarcerated between October 8, 2004, and March 4, 2005, at Federal Prison Camp Alderson in West Virginia, AKA “Camp Cupcake,” alongside Manson groupie “Squeaky” Fromme and Sarah Jane Moore, who attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford. Legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday also once served time there in the late 40s for drug possession.
After her release, Martha endured another two years of monitored release (including a period of being confined to her home for five days a week). She was also barred from being the CEO of her own company for an additional five years.