Lori Loughlin's daughter breaks silence on college admissions scandal

Olivia Jade Giannulli appeared on Jada Pinkett Smith's Red Table Talk.

Lori Loughlin’s daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli has broken her silence on the college admissions scandal which saw her actress mother and fashion designer father jailed.

Loughlin, best known for playing Aunt Becky on sitcom Full House, admitted paying 500,000 dollars (£374,000) to get Olivia Jade and her 22-year-old sister, Isabella, into university.

She and husband Mossimo Giannulli are behind bars for their part in the scandal that shocked the US last year.

Giannulli, a 21-year-old social media influencer, appeared on Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk with host Jada Pinkett Smith, her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Jones, and daughter, Willow Smith.

Pinkett Smith, wife of Hollywood star Will Smith, admitted her mother objected to Giannulli appearing on the show because of her privileged position as the daughter of celebrities.

Apologising for her family’s part in the scandal, Giannulli said: “I’m not trying to victimise myself. I don’t want pity. I don’t deserve pity.

“We messed up. I just want a second chance to be like, ‘I recognise I messed up.’ And for so long I wasn’t able to talk about this because of the legalities behind it.”

Giannulli, who lost brand deals and left the University of Southern California following the controversy, said she did not realise her parents were breaking the law.

“What’s so important to me is to learn from the mistake, not to be shamed and punished and never given a second chance,” she added.

People Olivia Jade Giannulli
Lori Loughlin, right, was jailed for her role in bribing daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli’s way into university (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Loughlin, 56, started a two-month sentence at a California prison in October and is due for release within weeks.

Her husband, 57, began his five-month sentence last month. Giannulli said she has been unable to speak to her parents due to coronavirus protocols.

She said: “It’s been hard, 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.

“What happened was wrong and I think every single person in my family can look at it and 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.”

Giannulli said she has been working with disadvantaged schoolchildren in Los Angeles since the controversy, adding: “I understand that I, just based off my skin colour, I already had my foot in the door and I was already ahead of everybody else.

“I can recognise that going forward. I do want to do stuff to change that and to help that.”

Dozens of prominent people, including actress Felicity Huffman, were prosecuted for their roles in the college admissions scandal, which was dubbed Operation Varsity Blues after the 1999 sports drama film.

Well-off parents were found to be paying hefty bribes to get their children into elite universities.

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