Sometimes in life, people make decisions that most of the world doesn’t exactly understand. Take former school teacher Mary Kay Letourneau who made headlines in 1996 when she began a romantic relationship with one of her sixth-grade students.
The student, named Vili Fualaau, was 12-years-old at the time. Although he was pursuing a crush when he was younger, he no longer supports large age gaps in marriages.
Over ten years after their illegal get-together, the couple is now filing for separation. They had been having issues for a little while. They were still, however, intent on being dedicated parents to the children they share.
Here is the complicated story of what happened in that taboo romance.
The initial affair started when Mary was a 34-year-old schoolteacher. They sparked controversy when they made headlines and the cover of a 1997 People magazine.
The couple had one child together and Mary was pregnant with another child. After breaking an order to stay away from each other and admitting to their relationship, Mary was sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison.
When she was released in 2005, Mary and Vili–who was too young to have his name revealed at the time they first got together–were married. They share two children together.
A close friend of Mary’s told People that if she wasn’t carrying life inside of her during some of her time in prison, she would have cracked. Although some people probably think that she already has.
The same friend explained that the couple was drawn together like magnets and simply didn’t care that what they were doing was considered wrong.
In 2006, the couple sat down with People to discuss where they were at in their relationship now that they had been married for a year.
At 22, Vili explained that he did sometimes ask himself what his life would be like if he hadn’t gotten with a woman over 20 years his senior.
‘What [if] I had kept it as a crush and left it at that?’ he told People. ‘Where would I be and where would she be? What would life be like?’
A decade later in 2015, the couple met again with ABC’s Barbara Walters where they spoke about the developments in their relationship, parenting, etc.
When asked how he would feel if his daughters came home and said they were sleeping with the teacher, Vili had a surprising opinion.
‘I don’t support younger kids being married or having a relationship with someone older. I don’t support it.’ he said.
But it appears that although they have tried to work through their differences, they are no longer happy in their marriage.
Sources say that there is no third party involved in the relationship and that it was Vili who filed for the separation.
Mary’s defense attorney, David Gehrke, explained that ‘she could try to contest it, but that’s legally tough to do,’ he said. ‘When one person is unhappy in the relationship, the other person can’t be happy either.
Since there are two people in this relationship, it looks like the best thing that they can do is to separate.
Perhaps this should be taken as a lesson that teacher-student relationships are predatory, wrong, and most importantly illegal, for a good reason. Despite living together happily for some time and doing normal couple things, this was a mother who spent a huge chunk of her children’s lives away from them and a young boy who lost a huge chunk of his childhood by growing up too fast.