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Controversial Facts About Lori Loughlin, The Scandalous Sitcom Star

Andrea Papillon

Lori Loughlin was social distancing long before it was the new normal. She had been living the American dream: a beautiful kid from moderate beginnings, becoming famous—and beloved—as a successful working actress. But Loughlin has been carefully avoiding the public eye for over a year since she and her fashion-designer husband were charged in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal. What would make Loughlin do this? Here are 55 intriguing facts about Lori Loughlin, America’s sweetheart who made a bad mistake.


1. Blue Ain’t Her Color

At 15, Loughlin was offered the part of Emmeline in The Blue Lagoon, a 1980 film about two virginal, Victorian-era teens surviving half-naked on a deserted island after a shipwreck. The salacious film (hormones basically motivate the whole plot) made a big star out of young Brooke Shields, who played Emmeline after Loughlin turned it down.

2. What, No Coconut Brassiere?

Loughlin grew up in a religious family. The Emmeline part in The Blue Lagoon would have required the teen actress to be topless, so she refused it—and she’s probably glad she did. The movie’s costume designers had to ensure some decency for 14-year-old Brooke Shields in the part, and they went to bizarre lengths to do so. Shields was topless—but they glued her character’s wig to her chest. Ouch!

3. A Star Is Born

Loughlin revealed in a print interview that she was around five years old when she first sensed she would become an actress. She remembers watching The Wizard of Oz for the first time, and although she thinks she was too young to understand what acting meant, it struck her how great it would be to appear onscreen.

4. First She Took Manhattan

Loughlin broke into child modeling with zero effort. One of her mom’s friends had teenaged daughters, and the friend was taking the girls to meet with Manhattan modeling agencies. The friend asked Loughlin’s mom if Loughlin wanted to tag along. Loughlin’s mom was reluctant, but she gave in. The agency took one look at Loughlin and said, “we’ll take you.”  

5. Good Night

Loughlin worked steadily in print and commercials as a pre-teen. As a young teenager, she landed the part of Jody Travis on a soap opera called The Edge of Night. Loughlin was a natural, winning acting awards for her work. Even cooler, acting legend Bette Davis and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt were both fans of the soap!

6. So They Think You Can Dance

Loughlin could have been fired from the Jody Travis role on The Edge of Night when she told them the truth about her audition. The role called for a trained dancer (Loughlin wasn’t), but her agent told her to lie because the audition didn’t require a dance routine. Loughlin fibbed—and aced the audition. There was only one problem…when she got to set on day one, they’d constructed a full-blown dance studio! Loughlin had to confess and grovel to the producers, but thankfully, she kept the gig.

7. Papa Did Preach

Loughlin’s method of getting her kids into a prestigious college wasn’t exactly classy, but the rationale to get an education seems to run deep in her family. When she started modeling, her father demanded that she get good grades and pursue higher education. He said he’d yank her from show business if her studies suffered. It was tough, but Loughlin has since said she was grateful that he pushed her so hard.

8. Back in Black

After Full House ended in 1995, Loughlin’s acting career hit a near-decade-long dry patch until her next leading role in 2004’s Summerland. At the time she said, “When you don’t work for a while, immediately you get a little black mark next to your name.” Considering her current situation, I wonder how Loughlin feels about that little black mark now.

9. Through Her Looking Glass

In various interviews throughout her career, Loughlin has referred to making “difficult choices” in her life that she had “to be happy with…” While she’s never specified what those choices were, we have to wonder: Did she employ a similar mindset during the Varsity Blues scandal, and did she just assume that everyone would think her actions were okay?

10. Stockpiling the Non-Essentials

Hey, we get it. When you live in La-La Land, you can’t waste sunshine moments hunting down a missing binky. When her kids were babies, Loughlin said she had countless pacifiers strewn all over her house. Now the kids are grown, her age-related bulk-buy is “drugstore reading glasses everywhere.” I hope she didn’t spend most of last year obsessively reading her bad press.

11. They Both Worked Garage Sales

Loughlin starred in a popular movie series on the Hallmark Channel called Garage Sale Mysteries. Her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, made it to the top of the fashion heap via garage sales too. In 1987, Giannulli was a college dropout. He scrambled together $100,000—with his dad’s help—and he started peddling neon sportswear out of his garage. After just one year, sales had hit $1 million.

12. Escaping Clausen

Giannulli’s first partner in his growing, garage-based fashion business was his former girlfriend, Chris Clausen. She married Giannulli, and they eventually had a son named Gianni. But the marriage didn’t last, and Giannulli has offered an explanation: “I was really young and naive. I was immature, and I believed in all the hype about myself.”

13. Success Gave Him Watery Eyes

Giannulli’s swimwear line became a huge success. In a Forbes article about the 400 richest people in America, Giannulli made the cover. His designs were modeled in the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. At age 32, his company, Mossimo, Inc. hit the New York Stock Exchange. Giannulli wept with joy when his swimsuit company started trading.

14. Then the Swimsuits Started to Sink

Giannulli is a designer first—his business instincts run a distant second. Mossimo, Inc. eventually faced delivery problems and rising production costs around the world. Shares sunk from $50 to a piddly $3 US, and Mossimo was close to bankruptcy. Although Giannulli was “scared,” he had a gut feeling that he was “strong enough” to survive.

15. Bullseye for Dollars

Numerous creditors circled Giannulli like sharks, filing liquidation petitions against his brand. He realized that his fashion line had become too extensive and pricey: menswear suits, ladies’ jeans, children’s wear, eyewear, shoes, hats, and handbags. In 2001, Giannulli shocked the fashion world by downsizing his label into Target stores.

16. Skidding off Project Runway

Giannulli could hear the fashion world snickering at his affordably priced Target line. He was accused of selling out and “moving down the food chain.” But Target’s affordably priced Mossimo line soon became a bestseller, particularly among picky teens who snapped up his fashionable offerings. Soon, Mossimo had paid back all his creditors.

17. She Found Her Missing Person

Post-divorce, Giannulli started clubbing with celebs and chasing babes—until fate intervened like a meet-cute in a Hallmark holiday flick. In 1995, he met Loughlin at an LA restaurant when she was hot off her recently canceled sitcom, Full House. Loughlin has said she knew immediately, the moment she met “Moss,” that he was her “person.”

18. And the Bride Wore…Sweatpants

On their second anniversary of dating, Giannulli gave Loughlin 500 roses. He proposed two months later. As both were divorced, they decided they would rather elope. On Thanksgiving Day in 1997, Giannulli and Loughlin were married, at dawn, on a hillside in Newport Beach. They both wore ski hats and sweatpants to beat the chill.

19. Playing Full House

After they married, Loughlin and Giannulli shared a three-bedroom Laguna Beach bungalow. They had two daughters, Isabella Rose, and Olivia Jade. It was a smaller, cuter property for a Hollywood couple—their very own “full house.” But Giannulli has a thing for flipping houses, and their dream property was a new build in pricey Bel Air.

20. In the Role of Regular Mom

Loughlin does see herself as a proud, normal mom. She told Us Weekly in 2016 that she’s “loving…but firm…available…involved, but…not hovering.” She called herself a “guide,” and self-deprecatingly said that her daughters both “kind of roll their eyes at me,” like most teens would, whenever she tried to be funny.

21. Putting the Backup Plan First

Some kids are college-bound, but Loughlin practically bound her kids to college. In interviews, she described being haunted by times in her life when she was a starving actress. She worried about the future for her daughters, confessing in a magazine interview that she was “adamant” her daughters were going to have backup plans.

22. Let’s Reexamine Those Values

No one is insinuating that Loughlin is a terrible mother or a terrible person. But in hindsight, so many comments she’s made in previous interviews sound way out of tune now. Like the time she told Us Weekly that she was instilling her “good values” in her daughters, calling them “good people…with good hearts.”

23. This Qualified as a Bombshell Once

Think of Loughlin and Giannulli eloping on a cold day, in toques and sweatpants. This cool couple celebrated a chilled-back anniversary for decades—until one night at dinner, Loughlin found out they’d been celebrating their anniversary on the wrong date! She called this a “bombshell,” (ah, the good old days…) courtesy of her friend, fellow actress Marilu Henner.

24. Her Memory Bank Is Loaded

Marilu Henner is one of just a dozen people in the US officially diagnosed with a rare “memory condition” called hyperthymesia (sounds scary, but it’s very cool.) Henner can clearly and accurately recall the most specific details, like times and dates, from nearly every single day of her life. As Loughlin discovered, Henner can do that for other people too.

25. Most Guys Forget Anniversaries!

Loughlin’s marriage license is dated November 25, 1997, and the couple always treated that date as their anniversary. During a girls’ night with Henner, Loughlin reminisced about eloping on Thanksgiving Day in 1997. Henner said that Loughlin had to be wrong about her anniversary date, because November 25, 1997, was a Tuesday. Not sure about you, but I can’t remember Thanksgiving ever falling on a Tuesday!

26. The Festival of Marriage

After Henner broke it to Loughlin that her Thanksgiving Day elopement was on Thursday, November 27, 1997, Loughlin spilled it to Giannulli. They doublechecked their marriage certificate and realized that the date was recorded incorrectly. Since then, they’ve joked that their anniversary should be a three-day festival!

27. Two Impossibly Hot Ships Passing in the Night

Legions of Full House junkies tuned into the show because they thought the love story between Uncle Jesse (the perpetually fine John Stamos) and Loughlin’s Aunt Becky was the best thing going. Stamos made countless Full House fans sigh after he publicly confessed that the lovely Loughlin “could be the one that got away” in his romantic life.

28. They’ll Always Have Disney

Stamos and Loughlin went on one date in the 90s. The romance capital of their world? Disneyland. Their onscreen chemistry was very real. Unfortunately—according to Stamos—their real-life timing was always off. He ended up marrying (and divorcing) model/actress Rebecca Romijn, but he’s sweetly called Loughlin one of his dearest friends.

29. It’s Not You, It’s My Gut Feeling

If a hot Hollywood actress dumps you, does it ease your pain when she later says there’s not “one bad thing” about you and calls you a “really nice person”? Loughlin’s first husband was an entertainment executive named Michael B. Burns. She divorced Burns in 1996, after going with her “gut feeling” that he wasn’t the one, but she still holds him in extremely high regard.

30. Uncle Jesse Is Hubby-Approved

Loughlin deleted her social media accounts after the admissions scandal, but when she was active online, her fans were constantly on her to marry John Stamos (minor detail: Loughlin has been married for decades, and Stamos got hitched in 2018.) It appears that Giannulli was cool with that. He often joked online that Loughlin should have married Stamos!

31. Celebrity Home Equity

A celebrity’s line of credit can go a long way with the bail bondsman. After Loughlin and Giannulli were charged with fraud in the Varsity Blues scandal, the judge slapped them with a $2 million bail fine. Instead of cheapening their chic digits forking over that much cash, they used their $35 million Bel Air mansion as collateral.

32. Friends and Vampires

Walking into her Full House audition, Loughlin was surrounded by “overtly sexy…scantily clad” ladies. She was convinced she’d never get the part, but she was friends with John Stamos, and their chemistry reading was spot-on. Recently, an interviewer asked Stamos how he and Loughlin still look so young. He joked, “I drink the blood of Lori Loughlin!”

33. Her Kool-Aid Recipe for Morals

Loughlin believes in her morals—or maybe she’s got a Kool-Aid recipe that she drinks way too much. Interviewed by the Christian Broadcasting Network in 2014, Loughlin was “personally…very thoughtful about projects that I chose for myself.” She went on to say she’d never want to do anything that “one day might rear its ugly head” and make her kids suffer.

34. Not a Wealth of Knowledge

In December 2017, Olivia Jade posted a video to her popular YouTube channel, quizzing her mom on current pop culture slang. Jade referenced a partial song lyric, “England is my city.” Loughlin had no clue about it. She joked that if Jade really thought England was a city, “Why did I pay all this money for your education?” Hindsight? Priceless.

35. The Price Tag on Rich Kids

A former classmate of the Giannulli girls, Harlow Brooks, dished on the “super-elite” private school that Olivia Jade and Bella attended. Brooks described kids driving Range Rovers and Porsches to school. Tuition costs up to $45,000 per year. My brain can’t compute…I shut off already just imagining the car insurance.

36. Success Is a Losing Battle

Brooks said homework at Jade’s former private school is “literally harder than college,” and that the parents expect their kids will be admitted to Yale, Harvard, or USC. Her classmates were so stressed by the pressure to succeed that the majority Brooks knew were on Adderall, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medication.

37. Think Money Can’t Buy Time?

Brooks described Jade as “pretty” and “nice,” but she got the feeling something didn’t add up. For her part, Brooks described her own school schedule as up at 6 am, in school until 4 pm, with six hours of homework a night. She said “it just didn’t make sense” how Jade could do both schoolwork and her social media influencer gigs. Brooks assumed Jade had “an arrangement with the school.”

38. College Dorm Room Brought to You By…

Jade’s numbers as a social media influencer are impressive, and that equals profit. She’s amassed up to 1.9 million YouTube followers, and 1.3 million followers on Instagram. When she first arrived at USC, she was quick to post highlights from her chicly furnished dorm room, and she made sure to note that she got everything from her online sponsors.

39. Plenty Real Enough for Reality-TV

During a television interview in 2018, Loughlin said her family had been repeatedly asked to do a reality show. However, she didn’t consider her family to be very exciting, so they’d turned down all the reality show requests. Those network executives must be salivating now—and Loughlin’s crystal ball didn’t tell her what was coming.

40. Singing the Varsity Blues

In March 2019, Loughlin’s world spun off its axis. Reports began flooding the media of an FBI affidavit against Loughlin, Giannulli, and other parents named in the college admissions scandal that had been catchily nicknamed “Varsity Blues.” The affidavit alleged that Loughlin and Giannulli had submitted a $500,000 bribe to the University of Southern California. They’d also claimed their daughters were “rowing crew team recruits.”

41. It All Comes Out in the Wash

Loughlin and Giannulli were two of the celebrity faces (Felicity Huffman was the third) attached to the college admissions scandal. 16 parents in total were charged in a Second Superseding Indictment alleging a joint conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering. In October 2019, an additional bribery charge was added to the original charges. When the charges against you are that long, you know it’s not good.

42. Freshening up Her Poker Face

Felicity Huffman was among the 13 parents, and one university athletic coach, who pled guilty to mail fraud charges. Huffman’s short prison term has already come and gone. But “inside sources” have been quoted as saying that Loughlin wants to call the DA’s bluff, and that “she was adamant she wouldn’t do any jail time.”

43. Guilty in the Court of Hallmark Opinion

Loughlin was like the principal non-dancer at the Hallmark Channel, but when the scandal erupted, Hallmark left its most beloved actress hanging. Future movies in the Garage Sale Mysteries series were axed, and even colder, her character was fully edited out of an already in-the-can sixth season of squeaky-clean When Calls the Heart.

44. She Wants out of This State

In early 2020, insiders described Loughlin and Giannulli as being in a state of limbo. They added that a “heightened level of anxiety” was like the couple’s new normal, and Loughlin was looking very forward to knowing, and dealing with, her fate. They discovered who their real friends were, as acquaintances scattered.

45. Pretty Sweet House Arrest

Loughlin and Giannulli had already been housebound since the beginning of 2020, with Hollywood paparazzi lurking outside their door. It’s nobody’s dream life, but at least their mansion is quite the nest-egg. Thanks to Giannulli’s stunning renovations, the property they bought for $14 million in 2015 has more than doubled in value.

46. Minding Her Manners

Loughlin once described herself as a polite, middle-class kid from Long Island, and she seems to be calling up her roots these days. She’s maintained a level of class with the paparazzi hounding her, even telling a cameraman on video, “You can follow me around all day if you want, but I just can’t comment right now. But thank you for your time.”

47. The New Normal of Bombshells

It might have sounded a bit like boring legal-speak, but Loughlin and Giannulli’s attorneys dropped a major bombshell against the prosecution in February 2020. The defense team filed a motion to postpone Loughlin and Giannulli’s trial, stating the prosecution was “withholding information in violation of its obligations and the defendants’ constitutional rights…” What does that mean? Well, it could change everything for the couple…

48. Everyone Hates a Bully

The prosecution against them alleged that Loughlin and Giannulli created fake athletic profiles to get their daughters into USC, with the help of a guy named Rick Singer. He masterminded the college admissions scandal, and Loughlin’s attorneys are now implying that the FBI bullied Singer into lying about how much the indicted parents truly understood about Varsity Blues.

49. Saved by the iPhone

Singer kept detailed iPhone notes on his FBI interrogations. Although his notes are heavily redacted, he does seem to state that “They” (the FBI) asked him to “fib…not restate what I told my clients as to where their money was going…that it was a donation…” As in, Loughlin and Giannulli did not know their money was a bribe, which is what they’re accused of.

50. Her (Rich) Bad

Where ordinary folks see black or white, fabulously wealthy people like Loughlin seem to view things through a grayish lens. Apparently, Loughlin is convinced that she’s innocent of all charges in the Varsity Blues scandal because the huge sum of money she paid to the athletic program is no different from donating her wealth to the college library, for example.

51. Who Needs Permission

Apparently, Loughlin’s daughters Bella and Olivia Jade are allowing themselves to live again. Bella is keen on acting, and Jade is reestablishing her social media influencing empire. A source close to them confirmed that the girls are shopping and going out for lunch and dinner…stuff that kids in their circle live to do.

52. Could’ve Been a Contender

Genuinely qualified, cash-strapped athletic students were furious about the Loughlin affair, as Olivia Jade (seemingly) dropped out of USC with “no plans” to return. Forbes calculated that the $500,000 in so-called “bribe money” would provide two worthy athletes with Olympic-caliber coaching, equipment, and practice. Silver lining?

53. That’s What Stamos and Bure Are For

When celebs go through scandalous times, most of all, they find out who their true friends are. Loughlin is certainly relieved that her Full House costars Stamos and Candace Cameron Bure have her back. Stamos says he wonders if there was even a crime committed at all, while Bure has said that “a loving family sticks together no matter what.”

54. Wash Those Birds With Soap

We’re in a state of constant handwashing now, and I hope Jade washed the dirt off her hands extra-long after posting an Instagram photo in August 2019. In it, she’s flipping the bird on both her hands, making it clear in her caption who the gesture was meant for: “@dailymail @starmagazine @people @perezhilton @everyothermediaoutlet #close #source #says.” She did it to deny that she’d left USC.

55. Here’s Hoping She Learns Something

Jade’s online sponsors dropped her in a heartbeat following the “Varsity Blues” scandal, and she was mercilessly trolled online. Here’s hoping she’s learned that her own words, and actions, made her followers question her reliability. In a now-deleted video on her YouTube channel, Jade apparently says, “I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.” Not a great look, Olivia…

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23


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