Entertainment

From ‘Full House’ To The Big House: Lori Loughlin’s Quest For Redemption

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Actress Lori Loughlin recently made her return to television after leaving in disgrace. 

While the 57-year-old star was once known for playing Aunt Becky on “Full House,” her reputation was seriously damaged following a college admissions scandal with her daughters. Loughlin maintained her innocence for months before pleading guilty and serving two months behind bars.

Loughlin began her career as a young girl, beginning with scoring a modeling contract at the age of 11. “My mom had a friend that was going into Manhattan to meet with an agency for modeling,” she said of the experience during a 2004 interview with The Washington Post. “My mom reluctantly let me go, but I don’t think she ever thought anything would come of it. And I went in and they handed me a contract and said, ‘We’ll take you.’”

When she was 15, the actress made her acting debut on the ABC soap opera “The Edge of Night.” Five years later, Loughlin had officially made it in Hollywood after landing the role of a lifetime portraying Aunt Becky in “Full House,” as detailed by US Weekly

The actress starred alongside Bob Saget, John Stamos, Dave Coulier, Jodie Sweeten, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Candace Cameron Bure for seven seasons of the show from 1988 until 1995. “Full House” became a national sensation, and Loughlin played a big part in the show’s success. It was such a hit that more than two decades later, most of the cast reunited for the reboot series, “Fuller House,” in 2016.

If “Full House” made Loughlin famous, then her criminal actions made her notorious. In 2019, the actress and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were among 50 people charged by the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office for fraud and bribery-related offenses as part of a college entrance exam cheating scandal.

She wasn’t the only celebrity involved in the scandal. Dozens of prominent people including “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman and more than 30 other wealthy parents were accused of paying bribes to get their children into prestigious colleges.

According to law enforcement, Loughlin and her husband paid $500,000 to Rick Singer and the Key Worldwide Foundation, pretending it was a donation, to ensure the University of Southern California would think their two daughters, Isabella Rose and Olivia Jade, were part of the rowing team – therefore gaining their daughters’ admissions to the school. The girls received scholarships despite not participating in the sport. 

Loughlin and Giannulli were charged with fraud, money laundering, and bribery. The couple maintained their innocence vehemently before eventually accepting a plea deal in May 2020. They both were sentenced with community service, brief stints in jail, and supervised release.

The actress spent two months in federal detention in Dublin, California that year. She was released in December. However, even after her time served, Loughlin caught heat from critics who pointed out that she kept popping up at fancy resorts, like the Madison Club in California, and went on a jaunt to Cabo San Lucas with the permission of her probation officer, per Page Six. Critics have stated that her lavish lifestyle makes her look less than contrite.

The “When Calls the Heart” alum quietly returned to television two years after serving time. Per Deadline, Loughlin reprised her role as Abigail Stanton in the “When Calls the Heart” spinoff “When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas.” 

“When Hope Calls” executive producer Brian Bird said Loughlin joining GAC Family was all about second chances.

“Taking this photo lifted my heart in so many ways. Offering second chances in this messed up world are [sic] just a better way to live. Love seeing Lori Loughlin back on screen as Abigail Stanton… this time in Brookfield and #WhenHopeCalls,” he shared ahead of the December premiere. Loughlin getting hired at GAC Family is a curious turn of events that could mean the renaissance of her career. 

GAC Family CEO Bill Abbott is a former Hallmark executive who has been poaching top stars from his old job to create a family-friendly alternative to Hallmark, which has been debuting more progressive themes lately. 

“At GAC, we’re focused on creating strong brands, compelling programming and a consistent family friendly viewing experience across multiple genres,” Abbott said in a statement when the network launched. “The launch of GAC Family and GAC Living is the next phase in our strategy to bolster the company’s portfolio with networks that deliver on the promise of safe and entertaining storytelling that enriches lives.”

Besides Loughlin, one of the most buzzed-about acquisitions for GAC is fellow “Full House” alum Candace Cameron Bure, who also became a mainstay on the Hallmark Channel.

It’s not just GAC discussing second chances. Loughlin’s daughter Olivia Jade also pleaded for forgiveness and second chances during a conversation with Jada Pinkett Smith on Red Table Talk in 2020, per BBC News. 

“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,” she said at the time. “It’s not fair and it’s not right but it was happening.” 

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

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

Loughlin also made a public apology in August ahead of her sentencing.

“I made an awful decision. I went along with a plan to give my daughters an unfair advantage in the college admissions process,” she said at the time, according to Fox News. 

“In doing so, I ignored my intuition and allowed myself to be swayed from my moral compass,” she continued. “I thought I was acting out of love for my children, but in reality it only undermined and diminished my daughters’ abilities and accomplishments.”

“That realization weighs heavily on me and while I wish I could go back and do things differently, I can only take responsibility and move forward. I have great faith in God and I believe in redemption,” Loughlin concluded. “I will do everything in my power to redeem myself and use this experience as a catalyst to do good and give back for the rest of my life.”

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire. 

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