Mary Kay Letourneau has become incredibly famous, but not for something positive: the now 55-year-old began courting her now 33-year-old soon-to-be ex-husband, Vili Fualaau, when he was in the sixth grade. While sexual relationships between individuals who have large age gaps aren’t all that uncommon, the fact that she began pursuing one when he was in junior high school is not only not all that common, but also totally illegal.
Their sexual relationship began when Fualaau was just 12, and the pair conceived two girls before he was even 15.
A family friend confessed to People that they have learned to accept the bizarre relationship and that they don’t believe Mary Kay Letourneau is a predator because she stayed with Fualaau into adulthood.
“What she did was wrong. But that was a long time ago. She and Vili have been together for, what, 20 years? She doesn’t discount the seriousness of what the situation is. But she’s not a pedophile because she’s not with the next 13-year-old,” the family friend stated.
Mary Kay Letourneau eventually spent seven-and-a-half years behind bars due to her relationship with her student. She was released in 2004, but their relationship endured through her time behind bars. They married in 2005 with 250 guests in attendance.
Their daughters, Audrey, 19, and Georgia, 18, were born while Mary Kay Letourneau was in prison.
On their tenth wedding anniversary, Fualaau admitted he was surprised he had made it through “dark times,” especially because he was a very young single parent raising children without much support.
“I’m surprised I’m still alive today. I went through a really dark time… I don’t feel like I had the right support or the right help behind me. My friends couldn’t help me, because they had no idea what it was like to be a parent. I mean, because we were all 14 and 15,” he confessed to Barbara Walters in an interview.
The pair actually seemed to achieve some kind of normalcy, and neighbors and friends ended up accepting them as one of their own.
“They were really happy, organized and did things together and always planned things around the kids. They were a sweet family,” one neighbor stated.
The neighbor continued singing their praises, which seems to be out of place considering the sordid way in which their relationship began.
“I can’t even imagine them getting divorced. With his personality and her personality, they are not going to do anything to harm those children. They are always going to be friends. There is nothing that is going to separate them as friends forever,” she said.
Mary Kay Letourneau split from her ex-husband in 1999, two years after she was arrested for child rape.
She and her ex share four children, one of whom was the maid of honor at her marriage to Villi Fualaau. However, during her time in prison, she didn’t have much contact with them, which marred their relationship a little bit. However, time has healed the wounds, and Letourneau has stated that she is so happy that all of her children are currently in her life.
Letourneau confessed that originally, there was discord with her children and Fualaau, mainly because her children were not that much younger than her new husband.
“It’s an awkward feeling, for sure to be close in age with someone who’s technically your stepson or stepdaughter. But we have a good relationship now,” Fualaau told Barbara Walters in 2015.
Some of Letourneau’s children moved in with the pair and their younger half-sisters, while others mainly lived with their father and visited the couple regularly.
Mary Kay Letourneau’s ex has not commented on the split and instead has stated that he has moved on from everything he’s experienced.
[Featured Image by Alan Berner/AP Images]