A man who was raped by his teacher when he was just 12 years old and married her when she was released from jail has described what her final moments were like before she died.
Vili Fualaau, now 37, met his teacher Mary Kay Letourneau when he was eight years old and a sexual relationship began four years later while her husband was out of town.
They were teacher and pupil at Shorewood Elementary School in Burien, Washington, in the US.
Letourneau, already a mum-of-four, pleaded guilty to rape in 1997 when she was caught and gave birth to Fualaau’s first daughter while she was awaiting sentencing.
She was jailed for three months but after leaving prison she started up her illegal relationship with Fualaau again and was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison.
Eight months into this sentence, she gave birth to their second daughter.
The controversial couple married in 2005 and stayed together until their divorce last year, but Fualaau was at her deathbed as she passed away from colorectal cancer on July 6 this year at the age of 58.
In an interview, Fualaau spoke to the daytime TV programme The Dr Oz Show about what it was like when she died.
Holding back tears, he told host Dr Mehmet Oz: “We were just talking about when they were kids, and we were laughing.
“I turned over, and I didn’t see her chest moving. I thought it was, maybe, one of those pauses she has, and then she’ll come back.
“She’ll take a deep breath and she’s going to come back. I would count in between those pauses, and it was just the longest count that I had.
“I turned off her breathing machine just to hear if she was breathing just really soft.
“At that moment, I had to tell the kids that they need to call the rest of the siblings to come and say their goodbyes. This is it.”
Fualaau also revealed that if he was ever attracted to children – although he said he is not – he would “get help” rather than act on the twisted urges like his former wife had.
Following their divorce, he admitted the relationship was never healthy.
A source close to him told People: “He’s starting to get some perspective.
“He sees things clearly now, and realises that this wasn’t a healthy relationship from the start.”