Bad teacher, busted marriage: the ballad of Mary Kay Letourneau

Photo credit: ABC News

Photo credit: ABC News

When does a tale of obsession and taboos just become another married couple splitting up?

How should one feel about the news that Mary Kay Letourneau, the teacher who spent 7 years in jail for sleeping with her 12-year-old student, Vili Fualaau, is now divorcing from Fualaau, now 35, to whom she was married for 14 years? When does a tale of obsession and taboos just become another married couple splitting up?  What made Letourneau so repellently compelling over the years was her utter refusal to acknowledge she'd ever done anything wrong, coupled with her determination to be with Fualaau despite the threat of prison. Her devotion was fierce and scary. 

The couple stayed in the news because they kept bucking the script of the Doomed Couple. They married in 2005, raising two daughters. They were a legal couple, so why do we still care? Because they represent what we loathe and fear but also admire. We can't reconcile those feelings, so we've kept staring at this couple all these years. That won't end, even wth a divorce. 




Larry Hackett