Mary Kay Letourneau died on Monday after battling stage 4 cancer. She was 58.
The former teacher made headlines in the late ’90s (she was 34 at the time) after being convicted of raping her sixth grade student, 13-year-old Vili Fualaau, whom she would later go on to marry after serving over seven years in prison. A year after their affair started, the 2 (pictured above) welcomed their first daughter together, Audrey, while she awaited sentencing. In 1998, another year later, she gave birth to their 2nd child, Georgia, behind bars.
Letourneau and Fualaau wed after her release from jail in 2005, but filed for legal separation in 2017. The divorce was only finalized earlier this season.
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Mary Kay’s son, Steven Letourneau Jr., from her previous marriage, released a statement on her passing to NBC News with respect to the Fualaau and Letourneau families:
“We are deeply saddened to share the very difficult news that our beloved Mary passed away peacefully on July 6th 2020 after a six month battle since being diagnosed with stage IV, or metastatic, cancer. Mary fought tirelessly against this terrible disease. It is in that spirit that we ask for privacy and respect for our desire to focus on the road ahead for all of us who make up Mary’s collective family. We ask that our boundaries and need for privacy be honored with continued kindness and understanding.”
More words came from her heartbroken family, explaining how they looked after Mary Kay in her final days. Stating to writer Danielle Bacher, they shared:
“Mary, and all of us, found great strength in having our immediate and extended family members together to join her in this arduous struggle. We did our very best to care for Mary and one another as we kept her close and stayed close together.”
The family continued:
“We are endlessly grateful for the care and kindness received from the amazing professionals involved in Mary’s care. Likewise, the kindness and compassion of friends and others who learned of her condition along the way proved an uplifting gift to us all. It is in that spirit that we ask for privacy and respect for our desire to focus on the road ahead for all of us who make up Mary’s collective family. We ask that our boundaries and need for privacy be honored with continued kindness and understanding.”
Her attorney David Gehrke also spoke to Today, revealing Vili was still by her side as she battled cancer, saying:
“Vili moved back from California, quit his life there, and for the last 8 weeks of Mary’s life that he stood by her 24/7 taking care of her. So yes, they were divorced and they had their spats, but they were always in deep love with each other. [Fualaau] knew this was Mary’s end coming, fast moving, and for her sake and the family’s sake, and for his sake, he came ultimately back up and was with her, plus it meant the planet to her. And I understand it meant the world to Vili, as painful because it was.”
Mary Kay is survived by her four children with ex-husband Steve Letourneau, including Steven Jr., Claire, Nicholas, and Jacqueline, in addition to her two daughters with ex-husband Vili.
[Image via YouTube]