Lori Loughlin’s daughters Olivia Jade and Bella have made a return to social media to wish their mother a happy birthday, after disappearing from Instagram for six months in the wake of their parents being charged in the college bribery scandal.
Influencer and YouTube star Olivia, 19, shared her birthday tribute one day late, posting a throwback image of herself as a little girl with her mother on July 29, the day after her mother turned 55. .
Meanwhile Bella, 20, 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.’
Making her return: Lori Loughlin’s influencer daughter Olivia Jade, 19, has shared her first post on Instagram in five months, wishing the Fuller House star a happy birthday in a sweet tribute
Back in action? Olivia’s sister Isabella, 20, also returned to social media after a six-month break to wish her mother a happy birthday on Sunday
Following suit: Hours before sharing her own photo, Olivia posted a sweet comment on her sibling’s photo
The images are the first posts to be shared on the siblings’ individual accounts in months, and appear to suggest that the girls may well be getting ready to return to Instagram after taking an extended break from social media in the wake of their parents’ implication in the college bribery scandal.
Olivia, who has 1.4 million followers on Instagram, last posted an image on her account five months ago, when she shared a photo of herself at a Women’s Cancer Research Fund event on February 28.
However she made an emotional return to the site on Monday morning when she shared an old photo of her mother cradling Olivia as a baby, along with the caption: ‘one day late. happy birthday. i love you so much.’
And it seems her million-strong following was delighted to see the influencer return; her post racked up an impressive 63,000 likes in just 30 minutes, while also amassing hundreds of comments – including one from her sister, who simply used a red heart emoji to show her feelings about the image.
The photo came less than 12 hours after Bella shared her own heartfelt tribute almost six months to the day after she last posted something on her account – a photo of herself and her sister raising their middle fingers to the camera, which was uploaded on January 26.
Just like Bella, Olivia showed support for her sister’s social media return, posting a comment on the black-and-white photo of her sibling and mother that read: ‘My people,’ along with a red heart emoji for emphasis.
The posts suggest that the girls may be preparing to offer their full support to Lori and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, four months after they were first named by the FBI for their involvement in Operation Varsity Blues, a scandal that has seen 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.
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
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.
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.
But despite past reports of bitter tension in the family, the siblings’ latest display on social media suggests that they have at least begun to try and 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.
However 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 California.
Lori, who is best known for playing Rebecca ‘Aunt Becky’ Katsopolis on Full House and its Netflix reboot, donned a grey jersey dress with grey Birkenstocks.
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.
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)
Their outing came as it was reported that the couple plan to put on a ‘united front’ at their next court appearance on August 27, with sources claiming that they are likely going to waive their rights to separate attorneys.
In court documents, the couple’s lawyers rejected arguments by prosecutors that a joint representation by law firm Latham & Watkins LLP puts their clients at risk of any potential divided loyalties.
‘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.’
The actress and fashion designer 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.
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 Mercury News reported.
‘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.