Kathy Hutchins/Hutchins Photo
08/04/2005 AT 03:00 PM EDT
Actress Sela Ward might have been a Desperate Housewife – but she turned it down.
Ward, who won an Emmy in 2000 for her role in Once and Again, was being considered to play divorcée Susan Mayer on ABC's mega hit Desperate Housewives, she tells PEOPLE.
"I was sent the script . . . it was the Teri Hatcher role," she says. So what happened? "I just couldn't sign a six-year contract. I had just finished Once and Again, and my mother had died. It was a very difficult time."
Ward, 49, passed on the part but says that it wasn't a firm offer. "It wasn't, 'Here's the money, here's the deal.' It was a feeler." Still, she says, "I regret not being on a show that successful."
Ward, however, landed a recurring part on the FOX medical drama House opposite Hugh Laurie, a role she will reprise next season.