Mary Kay Letourneau, who grabbed headlines in the mid-1990s for having sex with her sixth-grade student and later giving birth to two of his children, passed away on Tuesday after a battle with stage four colon cancer. She was 58.
Letourneau was on the front page of every newspaper in 1997 after she was arrested and imprisoned over her sexual relationship with her 12-year-old student, Vili Fualaau. Despite their age gap and the scandal surrounding their relationship, Fualaau and Letourneau married each other in 2005 after having two children together.
Although the couple went their separate ways in 2017, their relationship was one of the first major national cases of a teacher having sexual relations with a minor student. Here are some of the things to note about the controversial Washington state elementary teacher:
Mary Kay was married to fellow Arizona State University student Steve Letourneau and the pair went on to have four children. She had revealed in numerous interviews that she had an unhappy marriage with Steve and was forced to tie the knot with him after being urged by her parents to do so.
They legally divorced in 1999, two years after Mary Kay's scandal with Fualaau broke and while she was in prison. Steve was given custody of their kids, two of whom ended up attending their mother's 2005 wedding to Fualaau.
Child Rape Conviction
Mary Kay was convicted of child rape after having sex with Fualaau. The elementary school teacher was 34 years old at the time while Fualaau was just 12. Their relationship went from platonic to sexual in the summer of 1996 when he was one of her sixth grade students at Shorewood Elementary School in Burien, Washington. They were caught having sexual intercourse in a parking lot.
She pleaded guilty to two counts of felony second-degree rape of a child and reached a plea agreement for six months in jail, with three months suspended, and no contact with Fualaau for life among other conditions. However, two weeks after she was released, the two were caught in a car and she was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for child rape.
Children with Fualaau
Mary Kay gave birth to Fualaau's first child, a daughter named Audrey, in May 1997 while awaiting sentencing in her case. She gave birth to their second daughter Georgia in October 1998 while behind the bars.
Once Mary Kay was released from prison in 2004, Fualaau — then 21 — petitioned the court to allow them to see each other. While the restraining order was dropped, Mary Kay's scandalous affair remained a national discussion and she was still a registered sex offender in Washington state.
Mary Kay and Fualaau's Marriage
After Mary Kay completed her full prison term in August 2004, she and Fualaau exchanged vows at a Washington state winery in front of more than 200 guests. At the time, she was 43 while he was 22 years old. The pair's 12-year marriage came to an end when they split in 2017 after Fualaau filed for legal separation. Their divorce was finalized last year.