Olivia Jade has finally broken her silence about her parents Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli’s arrest for their part in the college bribery scheme.
Olivia Jade Giannulli has revealed for the first time the moment she found out that her parents Lori Loughlin, 56, and Mossimo Giannulli, 57, were being arrested for their part in the college admissions scandal. In a candid Red Table Talk interview, the 21-year-old social media influencer admitted that she was “ashamed” and “embarrassed” when the news broke in 2019.
Speaking to Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris in the Dec. 8 episode, the Fuller House star’s youngest child said she was on spring break in March 2019 when she received a phone call hinting that something was wrong.
“I just remember getting a call and it was like, ‘Hey Liv, have you talked to your mom?’” Olivia said, without identifying who the caller was. “And I was like, ‘No. Why?’ And they were like, ‘I’ll let you talk to her and then call me back.’
“So then I hang up the phone and I had this really weird gut feeling. I didn’t know what she was talking about. But I was like, I’m just going to search my mom’s name up and then it’s everywhere. And I was sitting with a group of friends and I knew any second everybody was going to know too, if they didn’t already. And I remember just like freezing and feeling so ashamed. I went home and hid myself for probably like three or four months.”
Olivia was still enrolled in the University of Southern California, the college that her parents were accused of paying $500,000 as part of an admissions fraud scheme to make sure she and her sister Isabella Rose, 22, scored places at. But she was too ashamed to even show her face there after the actress and designer were arrested.
“And school was still in session,” Olivia said. “I was technically – after spring break – I was going back to school and I felt so ashamed and embarrassed and, although I didn’t really 100 percent understand what just happened (because there was a lot that when I was applying I was not fully aware of what was going on). So, when I got home, I just felt so ashamed. I was like, I can’t go back there. This is wrong. But I just remember feeling embarrassed, ashamed and getting the hell home.”
Admitting that she “never went back,” Olivia added, “You know what, I shouldn’t have been there in the first place, clearly, so there was no point me trying to go back.”
During the candid interview on the Facebook Watch show, Oliva admitted that her whole family now acknowledge that what Lori and Mossimo did was wrong. “I think what hasn’t been super public is that there is no justifying or excusing what happened,” she said when asked if she had discussed the case with her parents before they reported to federal prison this fall. “‘Cause what happened was wrong and I think that every single person in my family can be like, that was messed up, that was a big mistake.
“But I think what’s so important to me is to learn from the mistake, not to now be shamed and punished and not given a second chance. Because I’m 21, I feel like I deserve a second chance to redeem myself, to show I’ve grown.”
Olivia’s admission that her parents feel remorse is a stark contrast to the couple’s attitude to the situation when the scandal first broke. For more than a year after they were arrested and charged with fraud for trying to pass both daughters off as rowing recruits, they denied they were guilty. Even though dozens of other parents involved in the case – including Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman – struck plea deals, they continued to insist they were innocent.
Finally, in May 2020, they both pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. Lori was sentenced to two months behind bars and is serving her time at the Dublin federal prison after reporting to the correction facility in October. Mossimo began his five-month sentence in November in Lompoc, near Santa Barbara, California. They have both paid a total of $400,000 in fines as part of their plea deal.
“It’s been hard,” Olivia said. “I think for anybody, no matter what the situation is, you don’t want to see your parents go to prison, but also I think it’s necessary for us to move on and move forward.” You can see the full Red Table Talk episode above and on Facebook Watch.