Lori Loughlin’s daughter Bella has made a return to social media to wish her mother a happy birthday, after disappearing from Instagram for six months in the wake of her parents being charged in the college bribery scandal.
The 20-year-old shared a sweet tribute to her actress mother on the social media site, including an old black-and-white image of the two of them while writing: ‘Happy birthday mama. I love you.’
It is the first image that she has posted on her Instagram account since January 26, when she shared a photo of herself and her YouTube star sister Olivia Jade, 19, who also broke her social media silence in order to comment on Bella’s birthday tribute to their mother.
Back in action? Lori Loughlin’s daughter Isabella, 20, returned to social media after a six-month break to wish her mother a happy birthday on Sunday
Following suit: Bella’s younger sister Olivia Jade, 19, did not share her own image, however she posted a sweet comment on her sibling’s post, having last posted on Instagram in February
Although she did not share her own photo tribute, Olivia wrote: ‘My people,’ alongside her sister’s post, while adding a red heart emoji for emphasis.
The last image posted to Olivia’s Instagram account was done so on February 28, days before both of her parents, Lori and designer Mossimo Giannulli, were first implicated in Operation Varsity Blues, a scandal that saw the entire family come under intense public scrutiny and criticism.
Lori, 55, and Mossimo, 56, have both been accused of paying $500,000 in bribes in order to secure both of their daughters coveted spots on the University of Southern California crew team, thereby guaranteeing them a place at the elite college.
Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges, however the family has been rocked by the fallout from the scandal, with reports quickly surfacing of a bitter rift between the parents and their youngest daughter Olivia, who was said to have moved out of the family’s sprawling Bel Air home.
In May, it was reported that Olivia had ‘barely spoken’ to either of her parents for months, with several media outlets suggesting that she had been staying with friends while she looked for her own permanent residence away from her parents.
Olivia’s decision to withdraw from social media was also a very clear indication of her desire to take a step away from the scandal and her involvement in it.
In the days and weeks following her parents’ implication in Operation Varsity Blues, many of Olivia’s old YouTube videos were dragged through the mud as critics scrutinized her seemingly-nonchalant attitude towards her college education, while dozens of other social media stars shared videos and Instagram posts focusing on the scandal.
Celebrations: Olivia and Bella do not appear to have joined their parents, Lori, 55, and Mossimo Giannulli, 56, when they attended church on the Fuller House star’s birthday
Hurt: In the weeks following the scandal broke, reports of a bitter rift between Olivia (left) and her parents began to surface, with sources suggesting both sisters felt heartbroken by it
Olivia had been working as a professional influencer for several years before the scandal broke, and boasted millions of dedicated fans across both her YouTube and Instagram accounts, where she frequently shared sneak peeks into her privileged lifestyle.
In the wake of Operation Varsity Blues however, many of the brands that had once been desperate to sign the youngster up as a spokesmodel cut ties with Olivia, with both TRESemmé and Sephora stating that they were no longer working with her in the days after her parents’ involvement in the scandal was made public.
However, the siblings’ latest display on social media suggests that the family has at least begun to mend any rift caused by the college bribery scandal – and the girls may well be preparing to support their parents as they prepare to face another court hearing.
Olivia and Bella do not appear to have joined their parents for the first part of Lori’s birthday celebrations on Sunday, when she and Mossimo were snapped attending church in Southern
Lori, who is best known for playing Rebecca ‘Aunt Becky’ Katsopolis on Full House and its
She accessorized with a tan fedora with black band and a tote bag with black and white horizontal stripes and reflective sunglasses.
Mossimo wore a navy blue linen button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up, white pants with Gucci loafers, black sunglasses with a watch.
The actress and fashion designer, who were engaged in chatter, have had to face constant media scrutiny over the past five months since being named among the 50 people federal prosecutors in Massachusetts were targeting as part of Operation Varsity Blues.
Taking a break: Bella last posted an image on her Instagram on January 26 (left), while professional influencer Olivia has not shared anything on her account since February 28 (right)
The operation was focused on parents, counselors and coaches who had engaged in purported fraud to help grease the admissions process. Actress Felicity Huffman was also charged in the operation, and has since pleaded guilty to mail fraud and honest services mail fraud and is awaiting prison.
Authorities said Loughlin and Giannulli paid around $500,000 to have daughters Isabella Rose, 20, and Olivia Jade, 19, recruited to the University of Southern California’s rowing team, despite the fact neither were involved with the sport.
Loughlin and Giannulli, who have pleaded not guilty in the case, said in recent court docs that they’ll present a ‘united front’ in the case against them, the
‘Giannulli and Loughlin are innocent of the charges brought against them and are eager to clear their names,’ lawyers for the pair said in court docs. ‘And they believe their interests will be advanced most effectively by presenting a united front against the Government’s baseless accusations.’
Loughlin and Giannulli are slated to return to court August 27.