What Vili Fualaau Would Have Done In Mary Kay Letourneau's Shoes
Mary Kay Letourneau’s death has caused her ex-husband to do some reflection on the nature of their relationship.
The romance between Letourneau and Vili Fualaau has long been a subject of fascination, but the relationship re-entered the public consciousness when the former teacher passed away after battling cancer back in July. In an interview with Dr. Mehmet Oz airing on Wednesday, Fualaau recalled her final moments — and pondered how things may have gone differently if the roles between them were reversed.
Noting that the 37-year-old is now about the same age that Letourneau was when she abused him, Oz asked Fualaau what he would do if he found himself attracted to a minor — as she did all those years ago. He replied:
“I’d probably go and seek some help.”
There it is. Now that he’s an adult, he’s seeing the whole thing from a very different perspective:
“I couldn’t look at a 13-year-old and be attracted to that, because it’s just not in my brain. It’s nothing that I’m attracted to. I mean, we all have our preferences, and that’s just not something that I would go towards.”
Seems like a pretty basic, logical reasoning — but we imagine this wisdom was hard won for Fualaau. No matter what their relationship was as adults, there can be no question that Letourneau abused and manipulated him as a minor. Living in a relationship like that for so long must undoubtedly warp your perspective.
Plus, we know that the manipulation continued in some form throughout their marriage.
In a clip from 2018 (which went semi-viral on Twitter after her death), Letourneau shifted the blame for their criminal relationship to Fualaau, despite the fact that he was only 13 years old at the time and she 34. During the Australian interview, Letourneau can be seen relentlessly asking Fualaau “Who was the boss back then?”, repeating the question until he concedes. (Relevant portion begins at 10:17):
Seems a lot like gaslighting to us!
What we’re saying is that it must be extremely difficult for Fualaau to separate what happened to him and the life he built with his late wife from Oz’s question — so it’s a good thing he’s able to correctly recommend someone in that situation seek professional help.
Still, Fualaau resisted being called a “victim” of Letourneau’s actions. In another Oz segment, he explained:
“I wouldn’t say I was ever a victim by her. I would say I was a victim by the way everything played out. … It was extremely depressing back then, and I became a victim from a lot of media … just putting her name out there, and a lot of people’s opinions… caused a lot of trauma.”
Of course Vili is entitled to feel however he wants to about his own life experiences. We just hope that he is able to experience peace and healing in the wake of Letourneau’s death.
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