Lori Loughlin’s daughter Olivia Jade has broken her silence on her parents paying her way into college in a Red Table Talk interview with Jada Pinkett Smith, where she admits she didn’t think there was anything wrong with college bribery but now realizes that it’s wrong and that her family ‘messed up’.
Olivia Jade, 21, repeatedly described feeling ’embarrassment’ and ‘shame’ over her parents paying $500,000 to get her and her older sister into USC by posing as crew stars. She said she now wants a ‘second chance’ and feels she deserves one because she’s so young.
Her mother and father, Mossimo Giannulli, are both currently behind bars serving two and five month sentences respectfully. It’s unclear if either of them know whether she was participating in the interview- she said she hadn’t spoken to either of them since they went into prison.
Olivia Jade awkwardly admitted that when the scandal first erupted in 2019, she couldn’t understand ‘why people were mad’ that her parents had cheated her way in.
‘When all this first happened and it became public I remember thinking, “how are people mad about this?” It sounds so silly but in the bubble that I grew up in, a lot of kids’ parents were donating to schools.
‘It’s not and it’s not right but it was happening. So at first I was like, “I don’t really understand what’s wrong with this. I was like, “this is what everybody does and my parents work really hard”‘.
She was savaged by Pinkett Smith’s 67-year-old mother Adrienne who admitted at the start of the show she didn’t want Olivia Jade to have a seat at their table because she felt she was using ‘three black women’ for her redemption story.
She said she hasn’t spoken to either of them since they began their sentences because they are quarantining for COVID.
Olivia Jade on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk that will air on Tuesday
Ups and downs: There have been varying reports about how the scandal has impacted Lori’s relationship with Olivia and her older sister Bella (pictured with their mom in 2019)
‘There is no justifying or excusing what happened.
‘What happened was wrong. 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 for me now is to learn from the mistake and not be shamed and punished and never given a second chance.
‘I am 21. I feel like I deserve a second chance to redeem myself, to show I’ve grown.’
She said she hadn’t yet spoken to either of her parents since they went behind bars but was ‘extremely close’ to them beforehand.
‘I haven’t spoken to either of them. There’s a quarantine phase just cause of COVID…
‘I think that’s the reason, I just haven’t heard anything. I think that’s the reason. It’s so, 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 hard not being able to talk to her- I know she’s strong. It’s a good reflection period. I’m trying to look at the positives – I know it’s a positive that she’s in there right now,’ she said.
She said she was on Spring Break when she first learned about her parents being charged and that she felt instant ‘shame’.
I’m not trying to victimize myself. I don’t want pity, I don’t deserve pity, we messed up
‘I was sitting with a group of friends and I knew any second everybody was going to know too if they didn’t already I just remember freezing and feeling so ashamed. I went home and hid myself for like three or four months,’ she said.
She said she was ‘too embarrassed’ to go back to USC.
‘I shouldn’t have been there in the first place clearly so there was no point in me trying to go back.’
She also said she was not trying to win sympathy but wanted to clear up what she says is an inaccurate portrayal of her as a ‘brat’.
‘I’m not trying to come across like.. I’m not trying to victimize myself. I don’t want pity, I don’t deserve pity, we messed up.
‘I just want a second chance to be like, I recognize we messed up.
‘For so long I never got a chance to talk about this because of the legalities behind it… I never got a chance to say “I’m really sorry that this happened” or “this was a really big mess up on everybody’s part” but everybody feels that way in my family right now,’ she said.
Later, she apologized for ‘contributing to these social inequalities, maybe even without realizing it at the time.’
She said that growing up in her ‘bubble’ meant she did not at first realize what was wrong with what her parents had done, nor did she understand why people were angry with her.
‘I felt like mostly embarrassed and ashamed of everything that’s happened. Looking from the outside you could say I lost brand deals or followers but I really felt most moved by the fact that we did all of this and were so ignorant.
The 21-year-old appeared on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk for a 30-minute interview that aired on Tuesday
‘It’s hard for me to care’: Jada’s mother Adrienne savaged Olivia, saying it was ‘ironic’ that a young, white privileged girl would go to three black women ‘for her redemption story’
Olivia nodded awkwardly as Jada’s mom laid into her. She said she ‘understood’ her point of view
‘I feel like when a big part of privilege is not knowing you have privilege and so when it was happening, it didn’t feel wrong. It didn’t feel like “that’s not fair, a lot of people don’t have that.”
‘I was in my own little bubble, focusing on my little comfortable world. I never had to look outside of that world. I also felt very misunderstood.
‘The picture that has been painted of me is not who I am. I’m not this bratty girl who doesn’t want to change anything….I understood people were upset and angry and maybe it took me a little longer to understand what for but man am I glad I did realize.
‘Better late than never,’ she said.
Before bringing Olivia Jade onto the set, the women revealed they deliberated over whether or not to allow her onto the show.
‘I fought it tooth and nail. I just found it really ironic that she chose three black women to reach out to for her redemption story.
‘I feel like here we are, white woman coming to black women for support when we don’t get the same.
‘It’s bothersome to me on so many level. Her being here is the epitome of white privilege to me,’ Adrienne said.
She went on: ‘It’s not our responsibility to raise her consciousness. Once Olivia had sat down, she went further.
‘Do you understand why different people in the community would be upset, do you have any understanding of why I would be upset at your being here and what you all did?’ she asked.
Referring to the backlash as a ‘good learning thing’, the social media star insists that she ‘understands how wrong it is’, telling Adrienne that she ‘would love to hear’ her criticism.
‘I would also love to hear it from you because I feel like it’s a good learning thing,’ she says. ‘I think I can understand how wrong it is, and we had the means to do something and we completely took it and ran with it.’
Adrienne replied: ‘There is so much violent dehumanization that the black community has to go through on a daily basis.
Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are both in prison. They are pictured last April outside court
Controversy: In April, prosecutors revealed images of Lori and Mossimo’s daughters posing on rowing machines as part of their bid to bribe their way into the prestigious school
‘There is so much devastation, particularly this year, 2020, with the pandemic and everything being brought to the table with there’s so much inequality and inequity.
‘When you come to the table with something like this, it’s like, child, please.
‘I am exhausted. Exhausted with everything that we have to deal with as a community and I just don’t have the energy to put into the fact that you lost your endorsements.
‘Because at the end of the day, you’re going to be OK. Your parents are going to go in and do their 60 days and they’re going to pay their fine and you guys will go on and be OK and live your life.
‘There’s so many of us it is not going to be that situation It just makes it very difficult for me right now to care,’ she said.
It is the first time that she has publicly discussed the scandal, and comes as both of her parents remain behind bars serving out sentences for paying $500,000 in bribes in order to get the former YouTuber and her older sister Bella, 22, into USC.
At the start of the interview, Olivia Jade said she wanted to speak to them because she felt ‘safe’ and wouldn’t be ‘attacked’.
‘I’ve watched the show and I think you guys are all amazing, and it feels really safe,’ the social media star is heard saying as a clip of her sitting at the infamous red table flashes up.
‘But it also feels honest and it feels like we’re all going to lay it out here, and it’s going to be an open conversation.’
The interview comes six months after her mother Lori, 56, and father Mossimo, 57, pleaded guilty to paying half a million dollars to have their daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as recruits of the crew team, despite neither of their children ever taking part in the sport.
In August, Lori was sentenced to two months behind bars, and was also ordered to pay a fine of $150,000, and complete 100 hours of community service after her release.
Her husband Mossimo was given a five-month sentence, and was also ordered to pay a $250,000 fine and complete 250 hours of community service.
‘It is wrong’: Olivia, seen with her parents at her high school graduation, admits to Jada and her mother Adrienne that she ‘understands how wrong it is’ that her parents bribed her into USC
‘I went along with a plan to give my daughters an unfair advantage in the college admissions process. In doing so, I ignored my intuition and allowed myself to be swayed from my moral compass,’ Lori said at the time of her sentencing.
Since news of the college admissions scandal first broke, there have been varying reports about how Lori and Mossimo’s involvement has impacted their relationship with their daughter, with sources initially suggested that Olivia was incredibly ‘upset’ with her mother and father and was refusing to speak to them.
However, it has been claimed more recently that the scandal has actually helped to strengthen the couple’s bond with both of their children, particularly when it was made clear that Lori and Mossimo would be spending time in jail.
The person added that Olivia and Bella are both ‘worried’ about their mother, particularly amid the rise in coronavirus cases, which is said to be causing ‘huge stress’ for Lori.
But while sources have offered insight into the ups and downs of Lori and Mossimo’s relationship with their daughters, this Red Table Talk interview will mark the first time that Olivia has actually spoken out herself about the scandal.
In the wake of the news breaking however, several of Olivia’s YouTube videos were resurfaced, including a May 2018 clip in which she claimed she was ‘literally never at high school’, and another, posted later that same year that saw her admitting she ‘didn’t really care about school’.