Family Healing, Low-Key Living and a Decidedly United Front: Inside Lori Loughlin's Life in Limbo

"The uncertainty is a lot to deal with."

By Billy Nilles Sep 28, 2019 2:00 PMTags
Watch: Lori Loughlin's Daughters Break Their Instagram Silence

It's been six months since Lori Loughlin's life irrevocably changed.

The Full House actress and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were two of several parents arrested in March of this year in connection to an alleged nationwide college exam cheating scandal—dubbed Operation Varsity Blues by the Feds—and indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. The indictment alleged that Loughlin and her husband had "agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters [Isabella Rose Giannulli, 20, and Olivia Jade Giannulli, 19] designated as recruits to the USC crew team—despite the fact that they did not participate in crew—thereby facilitating their admission to USC."

After rejecting a plea deal that would've required both to spent two years in prison—a route fellow accused actress Felicity Huffman went down, leaving her to sentenced weeks ago to 14 days in federal prison, plus supervised release for one year, a $30,000 fine and 250 hours of community service—the couple were hit with a new superseding charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering and now face up to 40 years in jail. Both formally pleaded not guilty on April 15. 

Lori Loughlin Pleads Not Guilty In College Admissions Scandal

When news of the scandal was still fresh, Loughlin's life was, predictably, turned upside down. Hallmark cut ties completely with the actress, editing her out of the sixth season of When Calls the Heart, which had already completed filming, and canceling her Garage Sale Mysteries film series outright. Netflix followed suit shortly after, leaving Fuller House to figure out how to explain Aunt Becky's absence for the entirety of its fifth and final season, due later this year.

Her home life was said to be equally distressing, with younger daughter Olivia, a burgeoning beauty influencer, said to be "furious" with her parents as their alleged misdeeds brought an abrupt end to what was poised to be a promising and lucrative career, leaving a once-tight family bond on the rocks. "Olivia is furious with her parents and it's going to take a lot to repair their relationship," a source shared with E! News at the time. "She blames them entirely and feels they have ruined her career."

Rob Latour/Shutterstock

Both daughters went into crisis mode, leaving their many followers on social media in the dark as they sent their accounts into prolonged hiatuses. "The girls are devastated and scared for their parents to take the fall," an insider previously shared. "They have been advised not to talk to anyone and are only in communication with their lawyers and their family."

While Olivia moved out of the family home in May to focus both on her mental health and "rebuilding her business," as a source explained at the time, Loughlin and her husband were facing strain in their marriage, as well. Despite both pleading not guilty, "they are blaming each other and disagreeing on things," an insider revealed. "They are starting to turn on each other and there is incredible stress and tension." Noting that this is "their worst nightmare that they can't wake up from," the insider added, "There have been dark and tense moments. But they know that their backs are up against the wall and they are hoping to get through this together."

Lori Loughlin's Life in Pictures Since the College Admissions Scandal

As they awaited the trial, Loughlin and her family have had to spend their summer living under the shadow of an uncertain future. "It's been a long and slow process. The uncertainty is a lot to deal with. They have made an effort to be very low key and don't go out much," a source previously told E! News in July. "Mossimo plays golf and Lori goes to yoga. They go down to Orange County to see friends or away for the weekend. The next court date isn't for a while and Lori obviously feels like their future is up in the air. They haven't made any plans and their lives are on hold while they are dealing with this. She is looking forward to knowing her fate and being able to deal with it. Right now they are just in limbo."

Despite the uncertainty of it all, life has had to go on. And that meant celebrating Loughlin's birthday—the disgraced actress turned 55 on July 28. What might have once been an occasion to go all out gave way to something a bit more demure. "She went to church in the morning with Mossimo and then had a small gathering at her house with family and a few friends," an insider revealed. "The community of people at church have been supportive and very important to them. Friends dropped by the house in the afternoon and stayed until evening. It was very low key and quiet."


And while tensions were once running high between Loughlin and her daughters, there was some good news to report. "Both girls were there and everyone seemed happy to be there," our source added. In fact, both Bella and Olivia returned to Instagram after months of complete radio silence for the occasion, wishing their mom a happy birthday. 

"They are just trying to get back to normal as much as they possibly can while they wait for the trial," our insider explained. "The girls took a social media hiatus but they are ready to move on and to live their lives again. They love their mom and dad and want to get back to all the things they were doing before this happened. They are trying to put this behind them and get on with their lives. They don't want to sit around and think about it anymore."

John Stamos Calls Lori Loughlin's College Scandal a "Difficult Situation"

While the family is trying their hardest not to dwell on the potential bad news coming their way once the trial gets underway, Loughlin has found that she has a support system of ride-or-dies, her Fuller House family included, who aren't going anywhere—regardless of what happens. "Lori has friends and family who are supportive and will always love her no matter what," our source shared. "They may have made mistakes but her friends for life are still always going to be there for her."

As for her relationship with her husband, recent court documents filed in the U.S. District Court in Boston have given us some insight into how their relationship is faring—at least as far as the case is concerned. And despite their earlier tension and blaming of one another for their current nightmare, neither are taking the opportunity to turn on the other to save themselves. Rather, they've waived their right to separate attorneys and stated that they understand the potential for conflicts of interest.

"Giannulli and Loughlin are innocent of the charges brought against them and are eager to clear their names," the documents state. "And they believe their interests will be advanced most effectively by presenting a united front against the Government's baseless accusations."

Whether that'll lead them to the outcome they're hoping for remains to be seen.

And in spite of recent divorce reports, we've learned Loughlin and her husband have no intention of splitting. "It's been very stressful and the most challenging year of their lives. It's been hard on their marriage because of all the decision making and not always seeing eye to eye. There's been a lot of sleepless nights and rough days," a source told us earlier this month. "It's not perfect and they don't always agree on things, but they also know that they have to stay united through this process," the insider explains. "They are in this together and know they have to stay strong. They support one another and are a team."

The whole situation has left Bella and Olivia, who celebrates her 20th birthday in the midst of all this on September 28, rather shaken, which, in turn, has drawn them back home despite any potential lingering feelings of resentment. (Neither daughter returned to to USC this fall to complete their educations at the university.)

"The girls are spending more time with their parents and things are better. They are concerned for them and want to be there to support them regardless of who did what," a source tells us. "They know that their parents are in a very bad spot and they are scared for them. Bella spends more time at the house than Olivia, but things are overall better than they were. It's taking time to rebuild but right now the girls have put their feelings aside and are coming together for the family."

While it's unclear how Loughlin spent Huffman's sentencing day a few weeks back—one source tells us she was following "very closely," while another insists she isn't following "on pins and needles"—there's no denying that she's growing worried about her own fate. "She is very nervous," the first source adds. "Felicity's sentencing is a nightmare for her. She is worried how a jury will react. She knows she will get years in jail if she is convicted. She's really pressing her luck now. She's trying to focus on her defense and showing that she is not guilty of the crimes she's charged with. It's a roll of the dice and she is constantly second guessing herself."

And until then, life in limbo goes on.

(This story was originally published on July 30, 2019 at 10:04 a.m. PT.)