Mary Kay Letourneau’s infamous affair with her student Fruit grinder It made headlines in the 1990s — and the scandal continued to grip the nation.
Letourneau’s personal life became a major topic of discussion in 1996 when news emerged about her relationship with Fualaau, who was a sixth-grader at the time. The former teacher pleaded guilty in 1997 to two counts of felony second-degree rape of a child and spent three months in prison. However, Letourneau continued to maintain contact with Fualaau despite a court order not to do so, resulting in him being sentenced to six years in prison.
After welcoming two children with Fualaau, the controversial couple married after Letourneau was released from prison. They were together for more than a decade before announcing their split in 2019.
The troubling relationship between Letourneau and Fulaau gained national attention as they tried to stay out of the public eye. Their life story has since become the inspiration for the Netflix film, May Decemberwhich follows a fictional love story between a woman and an underage boy and the personal repercussions they face surrounding the truth about their situation years later.
Scroll down to revisit the scandal and for updates on Letourneau and Fulaau:
How did the scandal unfold?
Letourneau met Fualaau when she was his second-grade teacher at an elementary school in Burien, Washington. Mary Kay was married to Steve Letourneau — with whom she shared four children — when she was later caught spending time with Fualaau, then 12, outside of school. She was arrested in March 1997 and pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree rape of a child. Mary Kay gave birth to her first child with Fualaau, daughter Audrey, later that year.
Mary Kay was sentenced to six months in prison and three years’ sex offender treatment in the rape case. She was released after completing half time and ordered to have no contact with Fualaau. However, Mary Kay was found in a car with Fualaau two weeks after completing her prison sentence and her original seven-and-a-half year prison sentence was reinstated.
While serving her second term behind bars, Mary Kay welcomed her second daughter into the world in Fualaau, Georgia, in October 1998.
What happened after Mary Kay was sentenced to prison?
After the scandal, Fualaau dropped out of high school and his mother gained custody of his two children from Mary Kay. Fualaau petitioned the court to drop the no-contact order against Mary Kay once he was over 18 and they officially continued the relationship. (Meanwhile, Mary Kay had to register as a Level 2 sex offender.)
Fualaau and Mary Kay co-authored the 1998 book Crime On Seoul, L’Amour (Only One Crime, Love)Which covered their individual accounts of their relationship.
Did Mary Kay and Philly remain in a relationship?
The couple married in May 2005 and have raised their two daughters while remaining largely out of the public eye. Fualaau filed for separation in May 2017 after 12 years of marriage, but then withdrew the request.
In 2019, Fualaau and Mary Kay finalized their legal separation.
What did Mary Kay say about the controversial relationship?
During a joint interview with Barbara Walters in 2015, Mary Kay spoke about whether she felt “guilty” or “disgusted” for Fualaau’s abuse. “I liked it so much, I kind of thought: Why not just have it be a kiss at all?'” she said. “The incident happened late at night, and it didn’t stop with a kiss. I thought that would happen, but it didn’t.”
For his part, Fualaau noted that his mental health took a turn for the worse amid the scandal. “I’m amazed I’m still alive today. I had a really dark time,” he noted of not having a support system when Mary Kay gave birth to her children while in prison.
What happened to Mary Kay?
In 2020, Mary Kay was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and died later that year at the age of 58.
“Mary fought tirelessly against this terrible disease,” her family said in a statement. “Mary, and all of us, have found great strength in bringing our immediate and extended family members together to join her in this arduous struggle. We did our best to care for Mary and each other as we kept her close and we stayed close to each other.
What happened to Philly?
Fualaau reflected on Mary Kay’s inappropriate behavior toward him during a 2020 appearance The Dr. Oz Show. “I couldn’t look at a 13-year-old and be attracted to him because he’s not on my mind. There’s nothing that I’m attracted to. I mean we all have our preferences, and that’s not something I would go for,” he said after being asked what he would do if he was attracted to a minor. Maybe I’ll go and get some help.”
In March 2022, Fualaau and Mary Kay’s daughter, Georgia, confirmed that her father had welcomed a third child.
“Hi Sofia, I’m your big sister! You’re so beautiful, I can’t wait to watch you grow. I’ll be here for you no matter what! I love you 💕,” she wrote on Instagram along with a photo with the newborn. Details about the baby’s mother have remained private since the news broke.
Meanwhile, Fualaau and Mary Kay’s eldest, Audrey, announced in August 2023 that Georgia is expecting her first child. Georgia confirmed that she is pregnant with a boy the people After one month. She detailed her six-year relationship with the child’s father, but chose to keep him out of the spotlight.
Why has the scandal made headlines again?
The Letourneau rape case – and subsequent relationship with Fualaau – was the inspiration behind it Todd Haynes“A critically acclaimed film May December. movie stars Natalie Portman As an actress named Elizabeth travels to meet and study Gracie’s life (Julian Moore), which she is scheduled to play in the project. Gracie’s infamous romance with Joe (Charles Milton) who is 23 years her junior, is the subject of the fictional film.
“I really found myself honoring this distinction [screenwriter] both of them [Burch]Text from some famous examples of these popular stories such as Mary Kay Letourneau. “I was really looking for some kind of cinematic coherence because the nature of the script is that you’re left in a state of uncertainty about what to think about these people,” Haynes said. Hollywood Reporter In May 2023. “The reliability you initially attribute to Elizabeth, the character played by Natalie Portman, begins to waver as the film unfolds. You are in a constant state of re-evaluation.”
“So, I was more interested in how to tell this story and make all the ways to read the movie interesting and allow the audience to feel like it’s going to be a fun movie to navigate,” he continued.