The Parents of Vili Fualaau Helped Raise the Daughters He Had With Mary Kay Letourneau

Jennifer Tisdale - Author
By

Dec. 4 2023, Published 1:47 p.m. ET

Vili Fualaau
Source: Getty Images

Vili Fualaau appears in court in SeaTac, Washington April 3, 2006 for a hearing to determine if he is to stand trial on a drunken driving charge

The Gist:

  • Mary Kay Letourneau, a 34 year-old teacher, engaged in a relationship with her then-12-year-old student in 1996.
  • Eventually, she went to prison, but not before she and her student, Vili Fualaau, had two children.
  • Fualaau's mother, Soona Vili, did not hate Letourneau but blamed her for ruining her son's life.
  • Soona helped raise her son's children while Letourneau was in prison for seven years but has stayed out of the public eye.
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Content warning: This article mentions sexual abuse of a minor.

A large corner of the internet is just now discovering who Mary Kay Letourneau is. Mary Kay Letourneau was a teacher who at the age of 34 sexually abused her 12-year-old student in the summer of 1996. What would follow is a story far stranger than fiction could ever conceive of, now played out on the small screen.

Letourneau would go on to have two children with Vili Fualaau, and the two eventually married in 2005. According to PEOPLE, "Fualaau filed for legal separation in May 2017" which means they spent over two decades together. They divorced in 2019 and less than a year later, Letourneau lost her battle with cancer. Throughout all of this, Fualaau's parents remained in the couple's lives. Where are they now? Here's what they know.

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Mary Kay Letourneau, Vili Fualaau, and their two children
Source: Getty Images

Mary Kay Letourneau, Vili Fualaau, and their two children in 2005.

Where are Vili Fualaau's parents now? They played a large part in raising their grandchildren.

In a July 1997 interview with the Seattle Times, Fualauu's mother Soona Vili described her son as "physically and emotionally old beyond his years," and said he was not your typical 13-year-old. She added that her son, who was 14 at the time of this interview, was very much in love with Letourneau. Perhaps she was trying to wrap her mind around the idea that a woman in her mid-thirties could be interested in a teenager.

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Despite making what seems like excuses, Soona was devastated by everything that transpired between Letourneau and her son. Although she questioned their closeness, Soona never could have imagined what was really going on in. Fualauu repeatedly told his mother nothing was happening, which made the discovery all the more painful. "Mary is a mother and I am a mother. And I assumed I could trust her with my son," she told the outlet.

After the birth of her first granddaugher, Soona was able to forgive Letourneau for all that she did to her son. "I don't condone what happened and have never condoned what happened," said Soona. "But it did happen, and it's something I have to accept and live with." Faulauu's father, Luaiva Fualaau, is not mentioned in this article and has not spoken out in the years following the abuse.

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 Soona Vili
Source: Facebook/Soona Vili

Vili Fualaau's mother Soona Vili

Vili Faulauu's mother blamed the school district and local police department for what happened to her son.

ABC News reported that in April 2002, Soona sued police and the school district where Fualaau attended school. She blamed their negligence in allowing a relationship between Letourneau and her son to blossom. Soona claimed they "failed to protect" Fualauu, who was a victim of rape. While on the stand in King County Superior Court in Kent, Wash., Soona said she was "shocked because she had let her son stay over at Letourneau's home and go on Letourneau family trips."

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Because of the love she has for her granddaughters, Soona did not hate Letourneau but does blame her for ruining Fualaau's life. She and Fualaau, who was 18 at the time of the legal battle, were suing Highline, Wash., School District and the Des Moines, Wash., Police Department for $1 million, claiming that officials should have noticed the warning signs around Letourneau.

One month after the lawsuit was filed, a jury rejected Soona's claims, per The Seattle Times. "Tears welled up in his mother's eyes when the verdict was read. Vili Fualaau was not in the courtroom," reported the outlet. While Letourneau was in prison, Soona had custody of Fualaau and Letourneau's two daughters. Since then, Soona has occasionally posted on her own Facebook page but has not made any more public statements.

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