April 02, 2018 06:16 PM

When Vili Fualaau was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in February, his wife — and former sixth-grade teacher — Mary Kay Letourneau reportedly stepped in.

According to court documents, the 34-year-old was driving his Mercury Mountaineer in Burian, Washington, when he hit two cars. When police arrested him, he allegedly had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and a dazed expression.

Fualaau began to take a field sobriety test but, according to TMZ, Letourneau arrived on the scene and advised him not to until their lawyer could arrive. (Authorities have declined to confirm or deny this version of events.)

A source close to Letourneau, 56, explains that such reported behavior — even though she and Fualaau separated last year after more than a decade of marriage — is not unusual in a relationship that has never seemed normal.

“When they got together, she was the adult,” says the insider, who speaks with Letourneau frequently. “And she has always been the responsible one in their relationship. She’s still making sure that things work out for him. She will always protect him, forever.”

Letourneau and Fualaau have long been a notorious couple. They began a sexual relationship when he was a student in her class. He was 12; she was 34.

Following a conviction for felony second-degree rape of a child, Letourneau was originally sentenced to six months in jail, with three months suspended, and told to have no contact with Fualaau for life. But she was unable to stay away from him and was re-arrested when she was caught having sex with him — again — in a car.

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From left: Vili Fualaau and Mary Kay Letourneau in 2015
Heidi Gutman/ABC/Getty

Letourneau was sent back to prison and was released in 2004. She twice became pregnant with Fualaau’s child when he was underage. The couple eventually married and raised their two daughters together.

“Their separation isn’t like other people’s separations,” says the insider. “It’s a very long story. You can’t know everything that happens in a marriage, and only the two of them know everything. But one thing that everyone in their circle of friends knows is that she’ll go to the ends of the earth to help him.”

“She’ll always be there for him,” the source continues. “Whenever something goes wrong, she’s the first person he calls — and she won’t let him down.”

According to authorities, Fualaau’s blood alcohol content was .08 when he was stopped in February and he had THC in his blood. He was booked on a charge of DUI and posted $10,000 bond. He has not yet entered a plea and is due in court later this week.

His attorney did not respond to PEOPLE’s messages seeking comment.

From left: Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau in an undated photo
Splash News Online

“Of course she’s going to stand by him through this,” says the Letourneau source. “That’s what Mary Kay does. And she’s happy to do it. She loves him; he’s the father of her children.”

The couple legally separated last year, after 12 years of marriage. Despite that apparent split, Fualaau and Letoureanu are still living together and have recently been spotted out together near their apartment in Des Moines, Washington.

He has recently worked at a home improvement store and as a DJ. She has worked as a legal assistant.

“They know what everyone thinks about their relationship,” says the source. “And they don’t care. They really never have. The wrong stuff that happened was so long ago. They are two grown adults who are living their lives now.”

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