He was the student that cost former teacher Mary Kay Letourneau her job and her freedom.

Later on in their lives, they eventually fell in love and tied the knot.

That knot may be untied.

Vili Fualaau filed for separation from his wife of 12 years, according to KIRO-TV in Seattle and the Associated Press. Their story when they first met Fualaau when he was a student in her second-grade class at Shorewood Elementary School in Burien, a suburb of Seattle. Their relationship began in June of 1996 when police discovered that Letourneau, who was 34 at the time and married with four children was in a minivan parked at a local marina with Fualaau.  Picked up by the police, Letourneau said the boy was 18. The two were taken to a police station and later released. Later that Fall, she was pregnant with Fualaau’s first child. Following a tip, police interviewed Fualaau on Feb 25, 1997. Letourneau was pulled out of a teachers’ meeting and arrested for statutory rape.

She reached a plea deal with prosecutors in King County and she pled guilty in August 1997 to child rape in exchange for a 3-month jail sentence and probation. Judge Linda Lau accepted the deal on condition that Letourneau have no contact with
Fualaau. By that time, Letourneau had given birth to Fualaau’s daughter.

She was released after three months but Seattle police officers later found Letourneau and Fualaau in a car. Violating her probation in February 1998 and was pregnant with his second child that winter.

A judge vacated the plea bargain in February 1998 and sentenced Letourneau to 7 ½ years in prison. She was released in August 2004. Letourneau and Fualaau were married in Woodinville on May 20, 2005. She was 43 and Fualaau was 22.

Is the marriage over? Hard to say. Granted, they met under circumstances that were not ideal, let alone perfect. For the most part, it was a relationship that came into question and somehow survived this long. Mary Kay Letourneau will likely never be allowed to teach in a public or private school setting, given her criminal history but she’s no Pamela Smart. We hope they do well for their sake.

Let’s hope that Vili and Mary Kay can work this out and if they stay together, great; if they decide to part ways, let’s hope they do it in a civilized and adult manner and not smear each other in the press.

(photo courtesy Getty and the Associated Press)