Olivia Jade and Bella Giannulli Speak Out About College Admissions Scandal for First Time
Olivia Jade and Bella Giannulli spoke out in defense of their mother following their 2019 college admissions scandal.
In a new episode of Olivia's podcast, Conversations With Olivia Jade, the sisters discussed how their personal lives were impacted by the court case along with the scrutiny that their mother, actress Lori Loughlin, faced.
“There was times where like certain things were going on and I was like, I don’t feel like what’s happening to me is being necessarily heard or acknowledged on the scale that it should be, just because there was something bigger going on at the time,” Bella told her sister.
“I think the hardest part of this entire thing was watching how horrible or reading and seeing how horrible the media was to both you and mom, and actually knowing you guys,” she continued.
After the scandal broke, paparazzi camped outside their home and regularly followed them on car rides. But both sisters believe that their mother endured the most scrutiny.
"I'm not trying to justify or excuse behavior or throw a pity party," Olivia added. "I think, for me, even though I also was getting dragged negatively, it like, didn't nearly affect me as much as like, seeing Mom getting, first of all, having all of this thrown on her. And I think that we can talk about it. I think I want to talk about this. She really took this whole thing on her back, solely."
She continued, "When you see your mom who's raised you and who's been like, nothing but a good mom, like the most incredible mother in the world, and also just like, the kindest heart and like, knowing what you know and knowing how much we know about her and how well we know her, obviously, we both [came] directly out of her womb, so we know her pretty damn well. I think that was really hard for me. It was frustrating and it caused a lot of like, anger within me, when I would read stuff about her."
The college admissions scandal involved numerous families. However, Loughlin was one of the most high-profile offenders. Desperate Housewives alum Felicity Huffman was also named in the case.
The big difference in Huffman and Loughlin’s case is that the former Desperate Housewives star took responsibility immediately and addressed the court with an apologetic statement. She served her time in October 2019, paid her fine, and was released on the 11th day of her 14-day sentence.
Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli’s case dragged on for another year until they pleaded guilty in May 2020 and served their jail time later that year. (Giannulli’s sentence lasted through early 2021.)
Following the indictments, the entire Giannulli family became a paparazzi target. Bella noted how at one point, at least three vehicles could be spotted waiting for them outside their house. In addition, the sisters dropped out of USC and Olivia lost major partnerships with brands such as Sephora.
Bella's boyfriend at the time also broke up with her over the phone, which she called her first "real heartbreak."
"That was hard because on top of being heartbroken, I was dealing with whatever it was that was going on in our life," Bella said. "And it was so early on at that point."