The new movie, May December, starring Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, and Charles Melton, was inspired by the real-life case of Mary Kay Letourneau, who had an affair with her underage student in the 90s.
The movie follows the story of actress Elizabeth Berry (played by Natalie Portman), who meets with Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Julianne Moore) to prepare for a role based on Gracie’s infamous life.
Born Mary Schmitz in 1962, Mary married Steve Letourneau in 1984 and became a teacher at Shorewood Elementary School in Seattle. She began a relationship with her student Vili when he was in sixth grade, and it turned sexual when he was 12.
Mary was arrested in March 1997, released on bail, and gave birth to a daughter in May of that year. She received a suspended seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence and violated parole in 1998.
Mary was released from prison in August 2004, registered as a sex offender, and married Vili in 2005. They opened up about their marriage in a 2006 interview with People and sat down for a 20/20 interview with Barbara Walters in 2015.
Mary died in 2020 at 58 after battling stage 4 colon cancer. Two years after her death, their younger daughter announced that Vili had fathered another daughter with a new woman in November 2022.