Linda Bell Blue has covered a lot of weddings — Brad and Jen, J.Lo and Marc Anthony, Britney and Kevin — but when she got a tip that a woman named Letourneau was listed in a bridal registry in Seattle, the executive producer of Entertainment Tonight and The Insider thought she had a scandalous scoop.
Could this future bride be the Mary Kay Letourneau — the teacher who was released from prison last August after serving seven years for second-degree child rape? The woman who has two children by Vili Fualaau, the man she first had sex with when she was 34 and he was her 12-year-old student? Indeed it was.
Thus began the odyssey that led to ET's seven-part series on the infamous couple. Bell Blue had to hustle to find someone to introduce her to the controversial May-December pair. (That person's identity is a guarded secret.) "We didn't know what to expect," she says of the April 1 trip she took to Seattle to have dinner with the bride-to-be, now 43, and Fualaau, now 22. Still, by the time the meal ended at 1 am, Bell Blue and ET coexecutive producer Janet Annino had convinced the couple to give both ET and Insider exclusive interviews and access to the wedding. The first interview ran April 28. Wedding coverage starts May 23.
"Some people will be taken aback by their unique love story. Some people will remain judgmental," Bell Blue says. "It is not my job as a journalist to stand in judgment."
On April 8, ET correspondent Jann Carl and Insider anchor Lara Spencer flew to Seattle for a sit-down with Letourneau and Fualaau. Both journalists describe Letourneau as more emotional than Fualaau. While the two discussed their relationship, Spencer says, she noticed that "there are definitely remnants of the teacher-student relationship. [Letourneau] wears the pants. Without a doubt."The couple will have to spend their honeymoon close to home because Letourneau's parole rules forbid her to leave Washington's King County. But that hasn't dampened their spirits. The pair, who've already received a roomful of wedding gifts from strangers who saw their registry, are planning a blowout ceremony. Letourneau will even wear white and have six bridesmaids. "She is going for it," Spencer says. "This is the man of her dreams. They believe they were fated to be together."