Despite giving love another shot, Vili Fualaau and Mary Kay Letourneau – who served 7 years in jail after sleeping with him when he was only 12 – have decided to finalize their split.
Mary Kay Letourneau, 57, captured the attention of a stunned nation in 1997 when it was revealed she was in a sexual relationship with one of her students, the then-12-year-old Vili Fualaau. Though they would marry following her prison sentence, Vili, 35, and Mary Kay are splitting up, and this time, it seems like it’s for good. A legal filing with the King County Superior Court, obtained by PEOPLE, confirms the couple’s attempt at reconciliation has failed, and they will be moving forward with private arbitration to finalize the split.
“They really gave it the old college try,” a source close to the couple told PEOPLE. “They have a long history with two kids, but it really seems to have run its course. They worked really hard to fix things, but it still fell apart. The reconciliation just didn’t work. …They still love each other very much. They’re family and always will be. It just isn’t working, and they’re going to have to call it.”
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time this forbidden love affair faced its final curtain. Vili, who shares two daughters with Mary — Audrey, 22, and Georgia, 20 — filed for legal separation in May 2017. “I’m not surprised that they got married,” David Gehrke, a lawyer for Mary Kay and personal friend, told PEOPLE at the time,” Letourneau’s lawyer and friend David Gehrke told PEOPLE at the time, “and I’m not surprised, in this day and age, that they are separating. Vili was the one who filed a petition for separation, which is usually a precursor for filing for divorce. It gives legal notice to creditors and the like that the debts won’t be joint. She could try to contest it, but that’s legally tough to do.” Despite this filing, the couple still lived under one roof and was spotted together out in the Seattle area.
It seems that this second shot at love was not meant to be. Mary Kay and Vili struck up this forbidden affair in 1996 when he was her 12-year-old, sixth-grade student, per Biography. Her first husband, Steve Letourneau, discovered love letters between his wife and her student. After one of Steve’s relatives tipped off the police, Mary Kay’s affair became public when she was arrested on March 4, 1997. At that point, she was pregnant with Vivi’s child, Audrey, and gave birth to her while awaiting sentencing.
Mary Kay pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree child rape, and through a plea agreement, served three months (of a six-month sentence) in a county jail. However, one of the conditions of the plea deal was that she was never to contact Vili again.
On February 3, 1998, two weeks after completing her jail sentence, she was found having sex with Vili in her car. Mary Kay was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison for violating the terms of her probation. While in prison, Steve divorced her and she gave birth her second daughter with Vili, Georgia. She was released in 2004 and registered as a Level 2 sex offender. She and Vili, then age 21, persuaded the court to lift the no-contact order against her. They were married on May 20, 2005.