How Mary Kay Letourneau Went From Having Sex With a 6th Grader to Becoming His Wife

Mary Kay Letourneau earned national attention for a teacher-student sex scandal.

ByABC News
April 9, 2015, 5:18 AM
In an exclusive interview with Barbara Walters, Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau and Vili Fualaau sit down together on the eve of their 10th wedding anniversary.
In an exclusive interview with Barbara Walters, Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau and Vili Fualaau sit down together on the eve of their 10th wedding anniversary.
Heidi Gutman/ABC

— -- intro: Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau made national headlines in 1997 when she became pregnant with the child of her then-13-year-old student, Vili Fualaau.

After their affair was made public, Mary, a former teacher in Seattle, went to prison for nearly eight years and gave birth to two of Vili’s daughters, one of which was born behind bars. Vili was just 15 years old when their second child was born.

The couple married in 2005, just 10 months after Mary was released from prison, and they will soon be celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary. Mary is 53 and Vili is 31.

They sat down for an exclusive interview with Barbara Walters, in which they talk about raising their two now-teenage daughters, and how their relationship has changed.

“I don't think there's ever a full 10 good years of marriage,” Vili Fualaau told Walters. “You have your ups and downs in marriages. But, you know, what matters is how you pull through all the bad times.”

This interview is a part of Barbara Walters' upcoming new series, "American Scandal," on Investigation Discovery, which revisits some of her most famous interviews.

Below is a timeline of their relationship.

quicklist:1title:Early '90s: Vili Becomes Mary's Student media:30165042text:Mary Kay Letourneau first got to know Vili Fualaau in fall 1991 when he was a 7-year-old boy in her second-grade class at an elementary school in Seattle. At the time, she was married with four young children.

Then, five years later, Vili became her student again when he was in her sixth-grade class.

She was 34. He was 12 -- just a year and a half older than Mary's oldest son.

quicklist:2title:1996: An Affair Begins, and Then Goes Public media:30164781text:As Vili's sixth-grade school year passed, Mary spent more and more time with him, helping him work on his art. She even arranged with his mother to drive him to a community college for classes.

By the end of the school year, Mary said the two had bonded.

They started having a secret affair, but when Mary became pregnant, they had to go public with their relationship.

The story of the Seattle teacher-student sex scandal caught wide national attention. She gave birth to her and Vili’s first child, Audrey, on May 29, 1997. Three months later, Mary pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree child rape. On Friday, Nov. 14, 1997, she was sentenced to 89 months in prison.

quicklist:3title:1998: Mary Is Sent Back to Prison media:30163162text:Mary was paroled after serving 80 days in prison on the condition that she would stay away from Vili and attend counseling for sex offenders.

But after being on parole for about a month, the couple was caught together in a car, seen here, with passports, money and baby clothes.

Mary was sent back in prison for ignoring a court order not to go near Vili. In her brief time on parole, she became pregnant again with his second child. When she gave birth to their second daughter Georgia on October 16, 1998, Vili was 15 years old.

quicklist:4title:2005: The Couple Gets Married After Mary’s Releasemedia:text: Mary was released from prison in August 2004 and was forced to register as a sex offender. Her teaching license was also revoked.

She and Vili were married 10 months later when Vili was 21 in a lavish ceremony at a winery in Washington state. Their two younger daughters served as flower girls.

“The wedding -- it was fun to plan,” Mary said. “Any bride-to-be loves the planning part. ... And I loved that.”

The couple reportedly sold the rights to their wedding video for a rumored $750,000.

quicklist:5title:2015: Mary and Vili Celebrate 10th Wedding Anniversarymedia:30144079text: Mary and Vili are still together, living in Seattle with their two daughters, Georgia and Audrey, who are now 16 and 17 years old and go to the same school district that Mary used to teach in.

In a new exclusive interview with Barbara Walters, which will air in full on “20/20” on Friday, April 10, at 10 p.m., Mary explained why they decided to emerge from their private lives to share their story again.

“It is our 10-year anniversary, and we already know that no matter how protective we are, that there's going to be a wave of intrusion in our life right now that we can't stop,” she said. “So it's about doing the most responsible thing to protect our girls for the inevitable.”

Vili works at a home and garden center, but his passion is working his night job as a DJ -- his DJ name is “DJ Headline.” He said he has struggled with the past few decades, having children when he was still a child, and not feeling like he had the support of his family.

“It was a huge change in my life, for sure," he said. "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, what it was like to be a parent, I mean, because we were all 14, 15."

Mary is working as a legal assistant but said she hopes she can return to teaching. She has started tutoring and giving piano lessons. She is still registered as a sex offender, but is trying to get her name lifted from the registry.