Mary Kay's Childhood Years:
Mary Kay Letourneau was born on Jan. 30, 1962 in Tustin, Ca. Her parents, Mary and John Schmitz, were strict Catholics with conservative political beliefs. After Mary was born, John Schmitz entered politics and by 1972, he was elected as the presidential candidate for the American Independent Party. After losing the election, the family relocated to an exclusive area in Southern Carlifornia. The Schmitzes, both attractive and well spoken, enjoyed their political work and social standing.
A Family Tragedy:
During a family party, Mary (11) was asked to watch her younger brother, Phillip (3), but she became distracted and wandered away. The Schmitzes found Philip dead in their swimming pool. Friends of Mary say that she always felt her parents blamed her for her brothers death even though they said it was no ones fault. Mary, in spite of the tragedy seemed to grow into a well-balanced and happy teenager. She was attractive and popular at the Catholic high school she attended.
The First Scandal:
Mary Kays mother became well known while working as a political debater on a television program. Her look and carriage equaled her conservative political opinions. She was vocal about the need for better family values. Around that time, John Schmitz was exposed for his long-term affair with a former student, and fathering her two children. The scandal ended their politcal careers, but not their marriage. Mary defended her father, saying that her mother was cold and drove him to do it.
The Letourneaus' Troubled Marriage :
Mary Kay, seemingly unscathed by her familys scandal, was in college, busy dating and partying. At one such party, she met Steve Letourneau, and the two shared an immediate physical attraction to one another. By 1985, Mary was pregnant with Steves child. They quit college and married. The marriage was troubled with money problems and Steves infidelity, but the couple remained together. By 1989, they had four children. After obtaining her degree, Mary Letourneau became a second-grade teacher.
Mary Kay Finds Teaching to be Her Calling:
When Mary began teaching, she felt she had found her calling. She loved the children in her classroom and took pleasure from working close with those who showed exceptional talent. Vili Fualaau, was one of those students. He demonstrated an artistic ability and Mary, aware of his impoverished home life, worked closely to help him develop his skills. Vili lived with his mother, in a poor neighborhood. His father, in prison for armed robbery, offered no financial assistance.
Her Fifth Grade Boyfriend - Vili Fualaau :
In 1995, Letourneau was promoted to teaching fifth and sixth graders. Her elation over the promotion was shadowed by a miscarriage and the news that her father had cancer. Steve, who was still involved in extramarital affairs, offered her no emotional support during this difficult time. Mary Kay found solace in teaching, especially when working with 11-year-old Vili Fualaau, who was once again in her classroom. As the year progressed, so did their friendship, and the bond that they shared.
Mary Kay Discovers Her "Soul Mate":
Vili began spending time at the Letourneau residence and even went along with the family on a trip to Alaska. By the end of 1996, fellow teachers described the relationship as being more like two kids flirting then that of teacher and student. Mary admitted to a close friend that she felt she had met her soul mate, although they had not had sex. But it was not long before Mary called her friend again, informing her that she was pregnant with her soul mates child.
Steve Discovers the Truth:
Steve, suspecting for some time that Mary Kay and Vilis relationship had become physical, found a love letter from Mary to Vili. For the first time in their relationship, Steve became physically abusive, punching Mary in the stomach in an attempt to make her miscarry. Both Steve and Marys mother suggested she have an abortion but she refused. A relative that Steve had confided in called the authorities and reported Mary Kays behavior with her, by then 12-year old, student.
Second Scandal Mirrors Her Father's Past:
The police questioned Vili and he admitted to having a sexual relationship with Mary. Letourneau was arrested, handcuffed, escorted from the school, and charged with statutory rape. When she returned home, Steve and the children were gone. The scandal hit the national news and people watched in disgusted disbelief. In the meantime, Letourneau ignored a court order to stop seeing Vili Fualaau. After she gave birth to their child in May 1997, he visited her regularly.
Mary Kay Defies Court Orders:
At her trial, she pled guilty to child rape, and admitted that her actions were wrong and asked for help. The judge gave her a seven year sentence of which she was to serve three months under certain conditions, one being that she would never again have any contact with Vili Fualaau. Mary Letourneau agreed and went off to prison.
Mary Kay Gets the Maximum Sentence for Child Rape: In Jan. 1998, she was released from prison, but it was short lived. On Feb. 3, the police caught Letourneau and Vili inside a steamed up car. Mary Kay was sent back to prison for seven and a half years, the maximum for child rape. Once at prison, she discovered she was pregnant with her sixth child, Vilis second. After the baby was born, she was placed with her sister, under the custody of Vilis mother.
Even in prison, Letourneaus defiance of her court order to stop communicating with Vili, continued. At one point, she spent 6-months in solitary confinement after the authoritys intercepted letters she was attempting to send to Fualaau.
Released From Prison After Seven Years:
On Wednesday August 4, 2004, at age 42, Mary Letourneau was released from prison. By Friday, Vili had the no-contact order lifted allowing the two to visit each other legally. Throughout the seven years, Vili Fualaau has said publicly, that he was not a victim and and the he loved Letourneau. However, at other times he has said that his feelings for her were gone. After her release, both have said that they expect to marry each other one day.
In a live interview with Barbara Walters in Sept. 2004, Letourneau, spoke about the relationship - past, present, and future.
Mary Kay told Barbara Walters, "I just, I can't imagine traveling and seeing something without him, learning together, being with him, supporting him for what he would like to do in this life."
Update - Feb. 15, 2005 - Letourneau and Fualaau Set Wedding Date