Lori Loughlin Seemingly Addresses College Admissions Scandal With Emotional TV Message

Lori Loughlin's world was turned upside down in March 2019 when she and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, found themselves at the center of the "Varsity Blues" college admissions scandal that rocked Hollywood. The pair was accused of paying $500,000 to ensure that their daughters, Olivia Jade and Bella, were accepted into the University of Southern California, per Us Weekly. They denied all allegations and initially pleaded not guilty, but a year later, they decided to accept a plea deal, per Us Weekly. Both Loughlin and Giannulli pleaded guilty and the actor was slapped with two months of prison time, plus a $150,000 fine, 100 hours of community service, and two years of supervised release. To make a bad situation worse, she was forced to serve her sentence during the height of COVID-19 — but the "Full House" alum didn't complain and paid her dues.

Loughlin was released from prison in December 2020 and immediately, folks wondered if she would ever return to acting. Remember, the Hallmark Channel cut ties with her in March 2019, per Us Weekly, and swiftly wrote her out of "When Calls the Heart." However, they appeared willing to give her a second chance and, in December 2021, she was allowed to reprise her "When Calls the Heart" role, playing Abigail Stanton in a two-part, two-hour holiday special of the show's spinoff, "When Hope Calls." However, after that, she didn't appear on the small screen again and she avoided addressing the scandal head-on — until now.

Lori Loughlin fights back tears during rare TV appearance

Lori Loughlin has kept a low profile, but on July 23, she returned to the small screen for a special cause. The actor joined Project Angel Food's "Lead With Love 3" telethon to help raise funds for the nonprofit, which prepares and delivers medically tailored meals to folks around Los Angeles dealing with illness. Speaking about her experience volunteering, Loughlin shared how she's been delivering food for a year-and-a-half — much longer than the 100 days she was ordered to serve as part of her sentence. Indeed, she completed that in February 2021, but it seems she can't stop helping. As a Project Angel Food spokesperson told Entertainment Tonight, "A court cannot order the level of excellence, hard work, and kindness Lori Loughlin brought to her community service."

It's given her a lot in return, too. As the actor enthused, "It's been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life." Noting how she always has the same route, the "Full House" alum said she's been able to make real, long-lasting connections with the people she delivers to. She also called the team a family and, in a surprising turn, publicly addressed the admissions scandal for the first time. Visibly tearing up, she told viewers how Project Angel Food helped her. "They have welcomed me with such open arms at a time when I was feeling particularly down and broken," she said, adding, "That's how I found a home here, and that's what I feel like they did for me."