Telephone calls with secret instructions. Private e-mails outlining a hush-hush rendezvous. Identity checks and pledges of silence...
SEATTLE — Telephone calls with secret instructions. Private e-mails outlining a hush-hush rendezvous. Identity checks and pledges of silence. Security leading up to today’s scheduled wedding between Mary Kay Letourneau and her former sixth-grade pupil rivaled that of top-secret government ops.
Letourneau and Vili Fualaau have been in the national spotlight since she was jailed in 1997 for raping Fualaau, now 22. The couple has two children together.
When she got out of prison last August they reunited and pledged their love. Letourneau has since moved to Normandy Park, a waterfront suburb south of Seattle.
Details of their nuptials have been closely guarded in recent weeks, except for a series of interviews by “Entertainment Tonight” and its sister TV show, “The Insider.” The shows have exclusive rights to coverage of the wedding, which they announced would take place today. Show officials said they did not pay for the wedding.
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Anyone invited to the event has been sworn to secrecy, according to a source close to the couple who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Invited guests “received a call from someone and were told to call a certain number” with additional contact information, the source said. E-mail invitations were then sent to the guests, outlining the location, transportation plans and security procedures.
“Please join Mary and Vili for their special day. They hope to make this the best wedding experience for you,” the source read from the e-mail.
Guests were told to be at a predetermined pickup location at 6 p.m. tonight, the source said, for a bus ride to the site of Letourneau and Fualaau’s ceremony.
“A luxurious touring bus will whisk you away to their wedding destination. Food and refreshments will be available for your bus ride,” according to the e-mail.
Janet Annino, ET’s co-executive producer in Seattle for the wedding, confirmed the wedding was at a winery in Woodinville, about 20 miles northeast of Seattle. She declined to disclose the specific location.
“Things are good. The bride and groom are getting ready. The flowers are still going up and last minute lighting is being set up,” Annino said this afternoon.
Before boarding buses, guests were told they needed to present valid identification for bus drivers to verify against a list of those expected — and accepted. Drivers also planned to collect release-of-privacy statements guests were asked to sign since the festivities would be filmed.
Cell phones, digital cameras and all other recording devices were to be left at home. If not, they would be confiscated. A “holding area” was designated where guests could pick up such items after the wedding, the source said.
“Please respect the need for privacy and know that pictures from the wedding will be available for the guests at a later date,” the e-mail said.
Security was also in place Thursday for the rehearsal, according to ET, with members of the wedding party wearing green wristbands to screen out the uninvited.
Letourneau arrived three hours late, showing up in a black cocktail dress and sandals.
“I think tomorrow’s going to be the best part of my life,” Fualaau told ET.
The couple’s two daughters, Audrey, 8, and Alexis Georgia, 7, were selected to be flower girls.
Letourneau, now 43, and Fualaau first met when he was in the second grade. Their relationship became sexual when he was 12 and she was a 34-year-old married mother of four, a teacher at Burien’s Shorewood Elementary School.
Letourneau was pregnant with Fualaau’s first child when she was arrested in 1997. She pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree child rape and was sentenced to 71/2 years in prison, with all but six months suspended.
Within weeks of her release, she was caught having sex with Fualaau in her car and ordered to serve the remainder of her sentence. She gave birth to the couple’s second daughter while serving time.