Mary Kay Letourneau, now single, is hoping to find love again — but realizes that she has 'more baggage than most women'

By Steve Helling
April 21, 2020 02:05 PM
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Months after the legal separation between Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau, the former teacher imprisoned for raping her former student is looking online for love — and hoping to find someone closer to her age.

“She’s on at least one dating site that I know of,” a source close to Letourneau tells PEOPLE, “but she also has been on the apps. She’s just casually looking around to see if there’s anyone. She’s not someone who does well by herself.”

The controversial couple headed for a split in 2017, after Fualaau filed for legal separation. Despite several reconciliation attempts since then, the case moved to private arbitration in February 2019. The separation became official late last year and the two no longer live together.

And now, the 58-year-old teacher finds herself single for the first time in many years.

“She’s been talking to a few guys, and she’s interested in someone who is age-appropriate,” says the source. “She knows that her best shot at happiness is someone who is close to her age.”

“She’s had a lot of time to reflect on mistakes she’s made, choices that led to problems,” the insider continues. “She’s at that age where she thinks about her past and wonders what her future will look like. It’s very uncertain.”

The couple’s relationship began when Fualaau was just 12 years old and Letourneau was his sixth-grade teacher. They soon began to have sex. Ultimately, she was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for child rape in connection with their relationship. She twice became pregnant with Fualaau’s children before he was 15, despite court orders aimed at keeping them apart.

By the time she was released from prison, Fualaau was an adult — and he petitioned the court to allow them to see each other. A restraining order against Letourneau was dropped, but Letourneau remains a registered sex offender in Washington state.

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The couple married in 2005, despite the criminal history of their relationship.

But it ultimately didn’t last. Letourneau, 58, and Fualaau, 36, often slept in separate rooms before the split. “The intimacy was gone,” the source previously told PEOPLE. “That’s not to say they didn’t love each other, but it wasn’t what it used to be.”

The source, who has known Letourneau for years, says the marriage began to deteriorate several years prior to their separation but that the couple continued to work towards reconciliation.

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“For years, there was hope it would work,” says the source. “There was hope up until the time where it was clear that the hope had faded away.”

“I’m not surprised that they got married,” Letourneau’s lawyer and friend David Gehrke told PEOPLE in 2017, after the couple first announced their plans to split before they later attempted to reconcile. “And I’m not surprised, in this day and age, that they are separating.”

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Even after the split, Letourneau and Fualaau still lived together. They were occasionally spotted out in the Seattle area. They both remain active in the lives of their two daughters, Georgia and Audrey.

But now, the couple is figuring out life after separation. And she’s looking for someone new.

“Whenever you date someone, you bring a lot of baggage,” the source says. “And she has more baggage than most women. It’s going to be hard for her to find someone. But she gets it: she isn’t looking for sympathy. She knows that a lot of her issues have been self-inflicted. She’s got times where she feels like she’s getting what she deserves. But at this point, she just wants to be happy for the rest of her life.”