To celebrate, Felicity Huffman - who plays Lynette - chatted to journalists about season seven (and that break-up), appearing "ugly and fat" on screen, being married to William H Macy, Nicollette Sheridan's court case and why she loves watching Eva Longoria...
Do you think season seven was like 'Lynette's year' on Desperate Housewives?
"It's so interesting - someone else asked me if season seven was Lynette's year. I'm on the inside looking out, so I can't tell. I feel like every year has been my year because honestly, I love everything I have to act. But the ending of season seven was new - it's ground we haven't covered before with Tom and Lynette breaking up. I don't know if I would say it was Lynette's year but that's just because I'm very subjective about it."
Was the seventh season more challenging for you?
"The only thing that was more challenging than usual was that we're heading for a break-up. That was a really dark, uncomfortable but rewarding place to live for the last four or five episodes."
Did it feel like a real break-up on set? You must all be close on set now.
"Yes - I have to tell you, towards the last episode or the one before, Doug Savant who plays my husband turned to me and went, 'I wish we got along. It's not as much fun coming to work'. Because it bleeds over into real life. Things are tense, we're fighting a lot, and you can't sort of switch it off and be like, 'Hey, how are you doing?' So yes, it was distressing. Wonderful and rewarding, but distressing."
How much input do you have on Lynette's storylines?
"There are many actresses on the show who have many ideas, many good ideas. I am not one of them. I sort of go from the script. Doug and I have been going, 'Maybe they should split up just because it's new and interesting', but understandably ABC and the fans have been going, 'No, this is a viable marriage, it's one of the more normal ones on the street, we like it, we live there, so don't mess with them'. But now I think as we're heading into our final year they're willing to explore it.
"How much say do I have? I don't know, I don't really come up with many ideas. The writers are very open and Marc Cherry is one of the most collaborative showrunners and creators I've ever seen, so if you have a good idea he'll take it."
Lynette and Tom have been through so much over the years, as Lynette said herself. What was it this time that led to the break-up?
"I think like all things, it's cumulative. It's not just that finally they drive you crazy, it's that things have been eroding the marriage for many years and it finally gets to the point that it's worn away the base so much that the marriage topples over.
"To tell you the truth, I blame Lynette. I do think it's her fault. I think she's been pushing Tom, recently to be a high-powered executive, be a shark, a go-getter - 'I need you to be successful, you're kind of lame at your job'. And she tricks him into it but he grabs it and says, 'Alright, I'll take the reins and be a high powered executive' and then she doesn't like what she's gotten. Be careful what you wish for.
"And then she turns around and says, 'I'm dissatisfied, I'm unhappy'. I think understandably Tom says, 'I've had enough. I think she needs a wake-up call - I know you're supposed to endorse your own characters, but I do think so."
Does that make it harder for you to play her when you disagree with what she's doing?
"It really does. It makes it interesting to play - you always want to be able to play something that is different from your point of view. You have to play great villains as if their objective is to save the world. Hitler, Mussolini - if you're playing them you go, 'Oh, he was saving the world'.
"But it does in the sense of Lynette is hard on Tom and that's hard for me to endorse. I always try, as much as I can, to pull back on it. But I know they need that for the comedy and the drama of the piece - things have to be bigger than life and overblown."
Are you scared that Tom and Lynette breaking up could be jumping the shark?
"I hadn't thought of that before, but thank you very much - I needed yet another thing to add to my list of things I'm afraid of, which is pretty much endless! I don't know. No, I actually think - and I could be wrong - I actually think it's going to open up new avenues. What's it like to be separated? You have a divorced household, you have kids possibly going back and forth, or a separated household.
"I don't know if Renee's going to get her hooks into Tom and what's that like when one of your best oldest friends ends up with your husband? That certainly happens. So I actually think it's fertile ground for future storylines."
Are you hoping to see Lynette dating?
"I can't imagine Lynette dating, can you? First of all she'd have to get out of her big shirts and blue jeans and Birkenstocks. I don't know, that embarrasses me seeing Lynette dating. I can't imagine it."
You're glamorous in real life - is it weird dressing down to play Lynette?
"No, it's fantastic dressing down. If you could get paid for running round in your pyjamas and not brush your hair it'd be great. I love it. Any time you don't have to look pretty is a relief."
How do you juggle your home life and your career?
"I juggle it very badly! I would say I don't juggle it at all - the balls fall everywhere. I don't know how to do it. You're at work, you're totally at work. You're with your kids, you're totally with your kids. So I end up being at work and feeling very guilty about my children or else I'm with my children thinking about all the things I have to do at work.
"How do I handle it differently from Lynette? I don't know, I think she faces the same challenges I have done which is she feels torn and she feels guilt and she doesn't know how to do it. She does it badly, as you can see from the many episodes. She gets odd people to babysit and she figures out things to do with the baby - she puts it on her daughter. So I guess we just stumble forward and make the same kind of mistakes."
Do you think you've become more famous than your husband, William H Macy?
"It's never occurred to me that I'm more famous than my husband. When we're out in public no-one ever recognises me, even when I want them to - even when there are horrible lines at the airport! I don't know, I think I just look like everyone else but when I'm with Bill he has such a particular look that they clock him in a second and then turn to me and go, 'Oh, you must be the wife'. So my experience is that Bill is more well-known than I am."
We don't see you together in the press much - is that on purpose?
"I do try to keep our private life private and I do try to keep a buffer around the family, That said, we don't go out much just because we like being home. And also we're a little boring so I don't think it would be good to follow us. It's much better to follow Eva's flying around and renting yachts and being fantastic in a bikini, so I don't think there's as much interest there either. I think it's a combination of me trying to keep it separate and us happening to not be very good rag magazine material."
If you were just a fan of the show, who do you think your favourite character would be?
"I don't know if I wasn't in it, it's completely subjective again. But I love watching Gaby, mainly because I love watching Eva Longoria. I think she's hilarious and heartfelt and charming. And tiny! She's so little and so cute."
There must be a lot of pressure to look good on the show - do you have a workout regime?
"I have to tell you - I guess it goes either way - I'm one of those actors that looks better in real life than on film. Which is nice. Sort of. Except that I make my living on film! I was at the airport and this very nice French woman came up to me and she went, 'You are Lynette! Oh, on the show you are so old and fat but you're not old or fat! That's so funny! Look, it's Lynette, she's not old or fat!' She kind of said it over and over again.
"Do I have a workout regime? I love to run. Bill and I have a woman that we train with three or four times a week but I do it as much for my brain. I'm not incredibly fit, I just do it to kind of keep myself sane."
Are you pleased to be involved in a show which features women over the age of 25?
"I'm so pleased, mainly because it hired me! Yes, I'm so pleased. You could see after Desperate Housewives there was a sea change and the pilots and series that got picked up had women in their 30s and 40s that were viable and sexy and you could see you could make money on them. So yes, I'm very pleased about it. The cliff used to be 40 and now maybe the cliff is 50. Maybe someday the cliff will be 60, I don't know."
What do you think is coming up for Lynette?
"I'm sure the writers are going to work backwards. They'll want a big finale and then they'll work backwards and see where we start. I don't know if Tom and Lynette are going to be able to weather this. I don't know if they're going to get over these hurdles. Possibly too much damage has been done. But I hope they are."
Nicollette Sheridan's got a court case about her exit from Desperate Housewives - has that affected the mood on set?
"It kind of hasn't. We know that court case is going through. I don't know where it is now, I don't know if it's going to trial or anything like that. You know, I was sorry to see Nicollette go. I thought she added a great vinegar to the mix and she's a very cool woman, and it's just too bad that it all had to come down to this. But it's not there in the fabric of our day to day work."
Is there anything you'd love Lynette to experience?
"She could come riding in on a horse shooting guns! I think it would be interesting to see... when parents split up, the kids usually stay with the mother. I know they do 50/50, but a lot of times it's the mother who does the lion's share. I think it would be interesting if Tom had to do the lion's share and Lynette found herself out in the world untethered, unmoored from the family and what that meant to her. I think that would be interesting to explore."
Desperate Housewives season seven is available to own on DVD from October 31