The illicit liaison between Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau resulted in Letourneau serving two jail terms and surprisingly developed into a more than 10-year marriage.
Their saga began in 1996 when 34-year-old Letourneau was Fualaau's sixth-grade teacher. By July of that year, the two were having sex, making Letourneau a child rapist as Fualaau was only 12.
There aren't a lot of female pedophiles, so when Letourneau was arrested in 1997, the news not only rocked the state of Washington, where it took place, but the rest of the U.S. as well.
In a 2015 interview with Barbara Walters, Letourneau, looking back at that time, told the reporter, "The incident was a late night that didn't stop with a kiss. I thought that it would and it didn't." She goes on to say that she loved Fualaau very much, adding, "And I kind of thought, 'Why can't it ever just be a kiss?'"
For Fualaau, it was also a life-changing event, which got worse when Letourneau was jailed and he wasn't allowed any contact with her. Plus, he had their two baby daughters to raise, and no one to turn to.
He told Walters, "I don't feel like I had the right support or the right help behind me. From my family, from anyone in general. I mean, 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, 15."
The couple lived a relatively normal life in Seattle, where it all began, for over a decade with their teenage daughters, but their marriage ended in 2017 when Fualaau filed for a legal separation. Here's a detailed look at the Letourneau/Fualaau connection from the very beginning:
1984: While attending Arizona State University, Mary Katherine Schmitz and Steve Letourneau marry. She is pregnant with the first of four children the couple will have.
1989: Letourneau gets her teaching degree from Seattle University, and is hired by Shorewood Elementary School in Washington.
Sept. 1991: Fualaau becomes a student in Letourneau's second-grade class.
January 1996: Fualaau is now 12 and in Letourneau's sixth-grade class. She begins spending time with him to help him develop his drawing skills. He even visits her home and becomes friendly with her son Steve.
June 1996: Fualaau is still only 12 when the relationship becomes sexual.
June 1996: Police discover Letourneau and Fualaau in a minivan parked at the Des Moines Marina. Letourneau tells the police he is 18. The two are taken to the police station and later released after claiming there was no improper conduct.
September 1996: Fualaau enters seventh grade at Cascade Middle School. Letourneau is pregnant with his baby.
February 1997: Steve Letourneau discovers love letters between his wife and her student.
March 4, 1997: Following a tip from a relative of Steve's, Letourneau is arrested for second-degree child rape. She is released on bail.
May 23, 1997: Letourneau gives birth to daughter Audrey.
August 7, 1997: Letourneau pleads guilty to child rape in exchange for a three-month jail sentence and probation. King County Superior Court Judge Linda Lau approves the plea bargain on condition that Letourneau has no further contact with Fualaau.
January 6, 1998: Letourneau finishes up her three-month jail stay, and is entered into the sex offender registry.
February 3, 1998: Police once again catch Letourneau and Fualaau together in a vehicle, and arrest Letourneau for a parole violation. The police discover $6,200 in cash, baby clothing and her passport inside the car, leading authorities to speculate that the couple was planning to flee the country.
Winter 1998: Letourneau is pregnant for the second time with Fualaau's baby.
February 6, 1998: Letourneau once again appears before Judge Lau, who tells her that she had given her "an opportunity that you foolishly squandered." She then sentences Letourneau to the full 7-1/2 years she had initially avoided through the plea bargain.
October 1998: Letourneau gives birth to Georgia, her second daughter with Fualaau, behind bars.
1998: Fualaau lives with his family. Both daughters are in the custody of his mother, Soona. In the 20/20 Walters interview, Fualaau reveals that during this time he struggled with depression. "I'm surprised I’m still alive today," he said. "I went through a really dark time."
1999: The Letourneaus divorce. All four children from their marriage remain in the sole custody of their father, who moves with them to Alaska.
2002: Fualaau sues the Highline School District for negligence for not recognizing the damaging sexual contact between him and his teacher. A jury rejects his claim, and the case is dismissed.
August 4, 2004: Letourneau is released from the Washington Corrections Center for Women, having served her full sentence for child rape. Fualaau, then age 21, files a motion in court, requesting a reversal of the no-contact order against Letourneau.
August 7, 2004: Judge Linda Lau grants his motion.
February 2005: Letourneau and Fualaau set a wedding date.
May 20, 2005: Letourneau, who takes Fualaau as her surname, and Fualaau get married at a winery in Washington in front of 250 guests. She is 43; he is 22. Their two daughters are flower girls. Two of Letourneau's children from her first marriage attend.
May 20, 2015: Letourneau and Fualaau celebrate their 10th anniversary. Their daughters are now teenagers: Audrey, 17, and Georgia, 16.
May 2017: Fualaau files for separation from Letourneau.
July 2020: Letourneau passes away from cancer. Faulaau was by her side.