Breaking her silence. Mossimo Giannulli and Lori Loughlin’s daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli is speaking out about her mom’s college admissions scandal and ongoing prison time in a new tell-all interview with Red Table Talk on Facebook Watch, which dropped on Tuesday, December 8.
“It’s been hard. I think for anybody, no matter what the situation is, you don’t want to see your parents go to prison, but I think it’s necessary for us to move on and move forward,” Olivia explained, admitting she hasn’t been able to speak to either of her parents since they checked into prison in November. “There’s a quarantine phase because of COVID, I think that is the reason but I’m not too sure, I just haven’t heard anything, so I’m just waiting. I’ve never gone that long without … I’m super close with my parents, especially my mom. She’s like my best friend, so it’s definitely been really hard not being able to talk to her. But I know she’s strong and I know it’s a good reflection period. I’m trying to look at the positives. She’s in there right now, she gets to really rethink everything that happened, figure out what she wants to do with what she’s learned through all of this.”
When it comes to her role in the scandal, Olivia said she didn’t realize her college application process was anything unusual. “I feel like a huge part of having privilege is not knowing you have privilege, so when it was happening it didn’t feel wrong,” she said. “I thought this is what everybody does.”
Despite YouTube videos in which she seemed flippant about college, claiming she “didn’t care” about school and only looked forward to football games and parties, Olivia insisted she was a good student. “[It] makes me cringe that I said those things. I worked my ass off in high school. I really did care. When I was applying, I was not fully aware of what was going on. I think that I put a lot of trust into a person that claimed their profession was college counseling, and it led me in the wrong direction. I did work hard, and when this did come out I was a little confused when I saw stuff about what I had written on my application and I remember writing on my application about my YouTube channel and VidCon and there were two very different things, so there was a lot of it that I was like, ‘whoa.'”
She also insinuated that her mom played a much smaller part in the scandal than her father. “I really believe my dad has attachment issues and didn’t want us to leave California, for starters,” she explained. “I think he just loves his kids and wanted them close. My mom really, for most of the time when I was applying for school, was in Canada shooting a movie. She was involved in my whole childhood, but when it came to that she was like ‘Moss you handle it, I’m out.’ Neither of them went to college, so I think it was important to them. They wanted to give it to us a little too much.”
During the interview, Olivia relived the moment she learned about the scandal during spring break. “I just remember getting a call … I hang up the phone and I had this really weird gut feeling. I thought, ‘I’m just gonna search my mom’s name up,’ and then, it’s everywhere. I was sitting with a group of friends and I knew any second everybody was going to know, too. I remember freezing and feeling so ashamed.”
That feeling of shame continued as she rushed back home. She was supposed to return to school, but couldn’t bring herself to do it. “I was like, I can’t go back there, this is wrong. I never went back, I was too embarrassed. And you know what? I shouldn’t have been there in the first place, clearly, so there was no point.”
When she was finally able to “confront” her parents, “they didn’t really have much to say, except like ‘I’m so sorry, I really messed up in trying to give the best to you and your sister,’ and they’re my family, so I know they’re good people. I’m not going to judge them for a mistake they made. I’ve seen how they’ve received all of this, and I know that they’ve struggled.”
It sounds like the entire family regrets what happened and understands the gravity of their decisions. “What hasn’t been super public is that there is no justifying or excusing what happened, ’cause what happened was wrong and I think every single person in my family can be like ‘that was messed up, that was a big mistake,'” said Olivia. “But I think what’s so important to me is to learn from the mistake, not to now be shamed and punished and never be given a second chance, because I’m 21, I feel like I deserve a second chance to redeem myself, to show I’ve grown.”
Prior to her bombshell interview, the YouTuber revealed she chose to sit down with Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Jada’s mom, Adrienne Banfield-Jones, because “it feels really safe.” In the teaser clip posted via her Instagram account on December 7, Olivia added, “but it also feels honest and it feels like we’re gonna all lay it out here and it’s gonna be an open conversation.”
Fans have long waited to hear Olivia’s side of the story following her parents’ arrest in March 2019. Loughlin, 56, and Giannulli, 57, were at the center of controversy after being accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, 22, into the University of Southern California [USC] as crew recruits, despite them never having experience in the competitive sport.
At first, the Fuller House alum and fashion designer pleaded not guilty in April 2019. However, they both later had a change of heart and pleaded guilty to the charges against them in May 2020 as part of their plea deals.
The actress was ultimately given a two-month sentence behind bars in August. Loughlin must also complete 100 hours of community service and pay a $150,000 fine. As for Giannulli, he was sentenced to five months in prison and ordered to pay a $250,000 fine as well as complete 250 community service hours. Furthermore, the couple will have two years of supervised release.
Following the sentencing hearing, Loughlin surrendered herself to the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, on October 30. Giannulli followed suit by reporting to The Federal Correctional Institution, Lompoc, on November 19. Days before turning himself in, he was photographed sporting a shaved head and manicured salt and pepper beard while out and about in Beverly Hills.
The holidays will look quite different for the famous family in 2020 given the circumstances. “Lori loves decorating for Christmas, granted this year will be very scaled-down,” a source exclusively told In Touch in September. “Even though Olivia and Bella aren’t little girls anymore, the holidays, especially Christmas, are all about being with mom. They just want her home with them.”
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