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Mary Kay LeTourneau, the former teacher who pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old student and then having a child from the affair, sits in a courtroom at the Regional Justice Center in Kent, Washington, before being sentenced to six months in prison for the crime. (HB/ME/Pool)

Forbidden love

Man who married Mary Kay Letourneau, teacher he met in 6th grade, files for legal separation

May 31, 2017

Former teacher Mary Kay Letourneau met her future husband, Vili Fualaau, in a school classroom in 1996. At the time, Fualaau was only 12 years old. Letourneau, then 34, was already married and a mother of four children when she began her relationship with Fualaau. Despite being sent to prison multiple times over the affair, Letourneau went on to have two children with Fualaau, to publicly televise their 2005 marriage, and even to co-author books about their forbidden love. After over 20 years, however, their relationship appears to have run its course. According to reports from TMZ and People magazine, the controversial couple is currently in the midst of a legal separation.

Letourneau was first arrested in March 1997, after a relative of her husband exposed her predatory relationship with Fualaau to police. Letourneau gave birth to her first child with Fualaau while on bail, and ultimately pled guilty to two counts of second-degree child rape. Only two weeks after Letourneau was released on parole after serving three months of a six month sentence, she would be caught having sex with Fualaau in a car. Back in court once more, she was sentenced to seven years in prison for violating parole. While in prison, Letourneau gave birth to Fualaau’s second child.

Despite the controversy surrounding his romantic partner, Fualaau married Letourneau just a year after her release from the Washington Corrections Center for Women in 2004. Prior to her release, the couple co-authored a book in France titled, “Only One Crime, Love.” Unrepentant, they even hosted a “Hot for Teacher” night at a nightclub in Seattle in 2009, where Fualaau DJ-ed and the couple took photos and signed t-shirts with guests.

Some, including New York Times writer Robin D. Stone, had criticized coverage of the pair, claiming that media portrayed Letourneau sympathetically as a victim of love — rather than as a predator — because she was a woman. According to People magazine, a source close to the Letourneau and Fualaau revealed that the couple had been trying to work through issues for some time “but it didn’t work.”

Speaking with People magazine in 2006, Fualaau appeared to imply that it was he who made the first move on his teacher.

“I think, ‘What would my life have been like if I had never made a move on Mary?’” said Fualaau. “What if I had kept it as a crush and left it at that? Where would I be and where would she be — what would life be like?”

Two years ago, Barbara Walters interviewed the unlikely husband and wife as they celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary and opened up about the unusual beginnings of what they admitted was an unusual but genuine relationship. “I don’t know if enough time will ever pass where it will take away what the media did to our story,” Letourneau said. “Because it was so big, and they ran with it so fast. There’s a story of us that has a life of its own, but it’s not our story.”

Letourneau’s lawyer, David Gehrke, confirmed to People that Fualaau had filed for separation, but, according to E! News, Letourneau is contesting the separation motion. Meanwhile, another report by Radar Online claims Fualaau said he only filed for separation to pass a background test and that “everything is fine” between them.

Read the full story at The Washington Post and People.


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