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By Clemence Michallon For Dailymail.
As far as shocks go, it wasn't the biggest, but when the news came in, it was certainly surprising: Former teacher Mary Kay Letourneau had passed at the age of 58, following a six-month fight with metastatic cancer few realized she'd had. Mary fought tirelessly against this terrible disease," eldest son Steven Letourneau Jr.
That list would include her other three children with first husband Steve Letourneau and two more with Vili Fualaauthe estranged husband she had officially separated from last year after several long months in are-they-or-aren't-they limbo. Theirs was a relationship that spanned decades and captured the attention of the world, its existence dissected at water coolers across America and in more than a made for TV movies.
Because their boy-meets-girl story started when Fualaau, 37, was an actual boy. And Letourneau had been his teacher. Their older daughter was born while Letourneau was on trial for child rape, and their younger daughter was born while she was in prison. It just I knew it just didn't Born Mary Kay Schmitz, she had been married to Steve Letourneau sincethe pair deciding to marry while students at Arizona State after she got pregnant. They had four children between the ages of 11 and 2. Letourneau's father, John Schmitz, was a former Republican state senator and congressman representing Orange County—who, it was discovered inhad extra-maritally fathered two children with a former student of his from when he taught at Santa Ana College.
The known conservative, whose views proved too extreme for the John Birch Society, embarked on the affair inthe same year his 3-year-old son Philip accidentally drowned in the family pool.
Schmitz died instill married to Letourneau's mother, Mary, after 47 years. Letourneau had known Vili Fualaau since he was 8 years old and in her second-grade class. Vili's parents were divorced and he lived with his mother, Soona.
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His dad, in prison at the time for armed robbery, had been married five times; Vili had 17 siblings. Letourneau knew his mom and other members of the family. Fualaau was barely 13 and had just finished sixth grade, again having been in Letourneau's class, when their sexual relationship began. They were both taking the same art class at a community college that summer and she encouraged his drawing and poetry writing. Letourneau claimed that she was separated from her husband when the affair began, that she would still have had feelings but would have resisted acting on them if she knew it was a felony.
She described the build-up to the affair as "a million moments that just kept building something very beautiful and scary at the same time. She wasn't looking to fall in love, she said. She later told Larry King that she and Villi had a "really compatible sense of humor" and a similar "perspective on life. Vili had begun his adolescent advances after making a bet with his cousin that he could "get" Mary. He objected to being called a victim. Police came across them sitting in Letourneau's van one evening, parked near the marina, but a quick phone call to Fualaau's mother confirmed that the child was with a trusted adult.
Steve Letourneau discovered the illicit relationship in February when he came across love letters his wife had stashed away. He didn't know just yet that she was six months pregnant.
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A relative of her husband reported her to the police, and Letourneau was arrested and charged with rape of. The argument that the tween-age boy pursued her and she didn't know that what she was doing was a crime, and that they were so in love, roundly fell on deaf ears. Meanwhile, when you look at all the press coverage from the time, Vili is frequently referred to as "the boy," or "the student," because names of victims or alleged victims of sex crimes aren't generally published, especially when they're minors. Apparently the affair wasn't exactly a secret at the school, according to Gregg Olsen, author of If Loving You Is Wronga book about the case.
Other teachers saw them kiss," he told CBS News. Vili said in a court deposition that they snuck up to have sex one night on the roof of Letourneau's house. During the trial, in MayLetourneau gave birth to her first child with then year-old Vili, daughter Audrey Lokelani. She ended up pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree child rape, telling the judge, "Your honor, I did something that I had no right to do, morally or legally.
It was wrong.
And I am sorry. I give you my word that it will not happen again.
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Please, please help me. Help us, help us all. She was given a suspended month prison sentence and ordered to spend six months in jail, including credit for time served. She was released on Jan. Barely a month later, however, police spotted the year-old woman and year-old boy in a car parked in front of her house.
She had purchased a r for Vili to get in touch with her. Child Protective Services were alerted by Vili's therapist that they had d their sexual relationship although contrary to some rumors at the time, they weren't having sex in the car when the cop saw them. Back in custody, Letourneau was put on suicide watch. Her attorney argued that she suffered from bipolar disorder and had stopped taking her medication after leaving jail, prompting her to take "really stupid risks. Whether it's true love, whether it's sick love, whether it's an obsession or whatever, you can't start her in treatment one week and say, 'You're cured.
Meanwhile, Steve Letourneau divorced her and moved with their four kids to Alaska.
That's what it was all about. I call it media carnage. Road kill. For the seven and a half years Letourneau was in prison, she was allowed no visits from or contact from Fualaau, though they managed to get messages to each other. She ran a math lab and says she had an overall OK time with her fellow inmates, though some of the staff were verbally cruel.
One of the biggest blows was not being allowed to attend her father's funeral in But I know that I do love her. During her time away, Fualaau had dropped out of high school, though in said he was working on his GED. Too many hangovers. Two months after her release, Letourneau told Larry King in her first interview since being back on the outside that she and Fualaau were engaged.
They had to petition a judge to dissolve a no-contact order first. Recalling the lead-up to the scandal being national news, Letourneau said that neither she nor Fualaau ever considered not having the baby when she got pregnant the first time.
She encouraged him to stay in school and she planned to take maternity leave and pursue a new career. But when her husband found out, the plan unraveled.
She insisted Steve's anger had more to do with her having an affair than with Fualaau's age—but the reality was, it didn't matter. She had committed an egregious crime. Asked if the children, whom she did get to see while she was locked up, knew anything about what was going on, she explained to King, " I mean, the story is that their mother was away at prison. And now, finally, their mommy and daddy are back together.
And that's the story. And I've told my oldest one, at least, that, you know, mommy's doing a time-out.
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Her four eldest children had visited from Alaska four times a year. Gehrke's wife, Susan, would drive Audrey and Georgia to the prison twice a month to see her. Steve Letourneau eventually remarried. I'm very sensitive to each of my older children's developmental level and their understanding right now I'm there for them right now.
They're in Alaska, but I stay very close in touch with them. And it's not—it hasn't been appropriate to talk with my 10 and year-old right now. I'll do that with their father, knowing, you know, that Letourneau said that she didn't consider her life to be "tumultuous," a word King used. Rather, it was "blessed. My children are healthy. And I still have a mother. And I come from a very loving family. And I have Vili," she said.
At the time, she was not allowed to leave the state of Washington without permission. She could teach again, she said, just not in the public school system.
Letourneau, 43, and Fualaau, 21, got married in May at a winery in Woodinville, Wash. They set up registries at Williams Sonoma, Macy's and Tiffany. Their daughters were flower girls. They remained in the Seattle area to raise their. Fualaau is an aspiring DJ—Letourneau even hosted a "Hot for Teacher" night at a bar where he was deejaying in As of late Letourneau was working as a legal assistant—something she had expressed her desire to do upon her release from prison—while Fualaau was employed at a home and garden center. She paid a fine after showing proof of her renewal.
From my family, from anyone in general. I mean, my friends couldn't help me because they had no idea what, what it was like to be a parent, I mean, because we were all 14, Being barred from talking to Letourneau, the mother of his kids, was difficult. The fractured fairy tale appeared to be coming to an end when Fualaau filed for a legal separation in May However, he told Radar Online afterward"It's not necessarily what you think.