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Martha Stewart, David Letterman
J.p. Filo  /  CBS via AP
Martha Stewart joins host David Letterman on the set of "The Late Show with David Letterman," Monday, Sept, 19, 2005. This is Stewarts first appearance on the show since her release from prison and house arrest.
updated 9/19/2005 10:24:02 PM ET 2005-09-20T02:24:02

Martha Stewart’s euphemism for prison was to call it “Yale.”

She explained her coping mechanism in an appearance Monday on David Letterman’s “Late Show” to promote her two new TV shows. The former convict said she accepted her five-month prison sentence for lying to authorities about a stock deal instead of waiting for the appeal because she wouldn’t have been able to do her shows with the uncertainty.

Stewart’s new daytime talk show premiered last week and her prime-time role in “The Apprentice” begins Wednesday.

While the prison experience was “pretty horrifying,” Stewart said it taught her how strong she was.

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“I did not allow myself to get depressed,” she said. “I did not allow myself to get down too much. I faced what I had to face. I lived through it, actually, with flying colors, if you can live through ‘Yale’ with flying colors.”

Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings Stewart said she can’t remember her first day at the women’s federal prison in Alderson, W.Va., at all.

“I asked my fellow inmates a couple months later, I said, ‘How did I behave that first day?’ because everyone was watching me,” she said. “They said I was walking around in a daze.”

Stewart said she made many friends there. Her fellow inmates were mostly friendly, although she heard some remarks behind her back.

There were no prison yard brawls — although authorities were suspicious one day when she fell against a wall.

“I slipped on some wet floor and I got a really bad black and blue mark on my arm,” she said. She was called in by authorities who “wanted to know who I had been in a fight with,” she said.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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