Mary Kay Letourneau sexually abused her former student when he was just 12 years old -- but later married him

By Steve Helling
September 07, 2020 03:10 PM
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Before her July 7 death from stage 4 cancer, former teacher  and convicted child rapist Mary Kay Letourneau had to decide what to do with her personal belongings. Although she and former husband Vili Fualaau had legally separated, the 58-year-old Letourneau decided to leave her estate to him and their two daughters, Georgia and Audrey.

"She loved Vili to the end," says a source close to the former teacher. "She had built a life with him, and he deserved to inherit what little she had."

"He got the photos, the memories, a lot of sentimental things," the source continues. "They didn't have a ton of money, but he and the girls are going to divvy that up. They're more interested in the sentimental things, though."

Letourneau was a sixth-grade teacher in 1996 when she began sexually abusing Fualaau, who was her 12-year-old student.  Ultimately, she was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for child rape. She twice became pregnant by Fualaau before he was 15, despite court orders aimed at keeping them apart.

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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 remained a registered sex offender in Washington state until her death.

Vili Fualaau, Mary Kay Letourneau and daughters

The couple married in 2005, despite the criminal history of their relationship. They settled in Washington and raised their daughters. It lasted until 2017, when Fualaau filed for legal separation from his former wife.

AP Photo/Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer/AP

At the time, Letourneau was represented by David Gehrke, a high-profile attorney who got to know the couple well — and kept in touch with them for more than two decades. “I’m not surprised that they got married,” Gehrke told PEOPLE in 2017, “and I’m not surprised, in this day and age, that they are separating.”

As the split proceeded, Letourneau and Fualaau still lived together and were occasionally spotted out in the Seattle area. They both remained active in the lives of their daughters, who are now grown.

Mary Kay Letourneau, Vili Fualaau and daughters
Heidi Gutman/ABC

In a joint statement after Letourneau's death, the Fualaaus and Letourneaus said they were "deeply saddened" about the loss. They added that Letourneau died "peacefully" after a six-month battle.

But now, the insider tells PEOPLE, there will be no controversy over Letourneau's estate. "No one is going to fight over what she had," the source says. "They are all still mourning her death, and they family has drawn very close together. And now everyone is going to be able to move forward."

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.