This past weekend, Lori Loughlin went to a yoga class in Los Angeles. When she left, TMZ cameras were waiting at her car. “Lori, do you regret the way you handled your kids’ education?” a cameraman called out.
Loughlin, wearing sunglasses and a visor, remained composed. “I’m sorry, I can’t talk to you,” she said, her voice straining with politeness. “You can follow me around all day if you want, but I just can’t comment right now. But thank you for your time.”
Undeterred, the cameraman continued as Loughlin tried to find her keys in her purse. “Are you afraid of going to prison? Do you think you’ll reestablish a relationship with your daughters?” he asked, until he finally gave up. “Wish you the best, Lori, I really do.”
“You have a beautiful day. Thank you so much,” Loughlin said, as she unlocked her car and escaped.
It was the first time Loughlin had been “interviewed” since the stunning college admissions bribery scandal that broke last month. While dozens of wealthy parents were charged after allegedly using illegal means to get their children into prestigious colleges and universities, Loughlin and fellow actress Felicity Huffman have faced the harshest spotlight. The celebrity angle is irresistible. (Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 for their daughters to be accepted to the University of Southern California under the false guise of being crew team recruits; Huffman allegedly paid $15,000 to have her daughter’s SAT scores altered.)
Loughlin appeared equally chipper when she arrived in Boston on Tuesday before a federal court appearance; she signed autographs for fans outside her hotel. Huffman was also photographed going into the courtroom Wednesday, where both stars appeared briefly. Both Loughlin and Huffman appeared very briefly in front of a judge, who warned the parents to be careful what they discuss with their children about the case. According to The Washington Post reporter who covered the hearing, all the defendants forfeited their passports as a condition of release and are allowed to travel internationally for work only.
While Huffman has been the focus of much coverage (particularly the fact that her husband, fellow actor William H. Macy, wasn’t indicted), Loughlin has received the majority of the headlines. This is partially because her youngest daughter, Olivia Jade Giannulli, is a YouTube star with millions of followers whose stories about college life helped fuel her brand. Us Weekly has near-daily depressing updates from unnamed sources: Olivia Jade “blames her mom and dad”; she “feels lost”; she now has a “strained” relationship” with her older sister, Bella. In the wake of the scandal, Olivia Jade lost multiple partnerships, including a makeup palette with Sephora.
But it’s also because Loughlin is the face of the Hallmark Channel, including the star of its drama “When Calls the Heart,” though the channel has since announced she has been dropped from all future projects. Of course, she’s also a recurring star on a very popular TV show, Netflix’s “Fuller House,” the spinoff of an even more popular ’90s sitcom. That means her co-stars are out and about, and the pressure has ramped up on them to comment.
Candace Cameron Bure offered a vague yet pointed speech at the Kids’ Choice Awards two weeks ago, when the “Fuller House” cast won the trophy for favorite funny TV show. “A loving family sticks together no matter what. They stick together through the hard times, they support each other, they encourage one another, they pray for each other — and they stand by their side no matter how tough it gets,” she told the crowd.
Bure and her co-star Jodie Sweetin also appeared on the “Today” show this week to play a “TV duo showdown” game — and the hosts had to ask them about Loughlin. Hoda Kotb mentioned Bure’s speech and asked, “Is there anything you wanted to add to that?”
Obviously, Bure declined. “It’s too personal to us, and you never want to talk about someone that’s such a dear and close friend,” she said as Sweetin nodded beside her. “I’ve already said that we are family, and we stand by each other and pray for each other. And we’ll always be there for each other.”
And although Bob Saget and John Stamos escaped comment last month, TMZ cameras caught them again last week. “Are you upset with Lori for maybe putting the show in jeopardy?” the TMZ camera operator asked, though it was a moot question; “Fuller House” was renewed for a fifth and final season many months ago.
Saget tried to evade the question at first, joking, “I usually don’t do interviews on the street. . . . maybe on a talk show.” But he finally responded that “you love who you love in life” and referred to Bure’s speech. “You love who you love,” he said again. “But life’s complicated. I don’t like talking about it.”
Later, the cameras also caught up with Stamos leaving a restaurant, and the videographer asked, “Are you still on Lori’s side in this?”
Stamos smiled but made it known that he couldn’t comment. “I will at some point,” he said. “I’m just not ready to talk about it.”