Where are Mary Kay Letourneau’s Parents Now?

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In Netflix’s ‘May December,’ we witness the story of Gracie Atherton-Yoo, who fell in love with her seventh-grade student, Joe. As expected, the romance between them didn’t sit well with society, and Gracie even served jail time for her actions. She was already married and had kids, and the revelation of her affair changed all of their lives. The movie shows us the perspective of the people related to Gracie, except her parents. There is no mention of them in the film, not even a hint of who they were and what they thought of her daughter’s affair. While we may not know much about Gracie’s parents, there’s enough to know about the parents of Mary Kay Letourneau.

Mary Kay Letourneau’s Father was a Congressman

Not much is known about Mary Kay Letourneau’s mother, Mary E. Suehr Schmitz, apart from the fact that she was a former chemist and was married to John G. Schmitz for 47 years. The couple had six kids: three boys — sons John P. Schmitz, Joseph E. Schmitz, and Jerome T. Schmitz, and three girls — Mary Kay, Theresa Manion, and Elizabeth Crnkovich. They also had a son named Phillip, who died after drowning at the age of 3. Letourneau’s parents were staunch Catholics. Reportedly, when her mother found out that she was pregnant with Steve Letourneau’s child, Mary E. made her daughter get married to him.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

For the most part, Mary E. didn’t get the limelight when it came to her family. Rather, the attention was directed towards her husband, who was a California Republican known for his ultraconservative beliefs. He often made comments that landed him in trouble with liberals and feminists. He died of cancer on January 10, 2001, at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. John Schmitz hailed from Milwaukee and studied at Marquette University and California State University at Long Beach. He served in the Marine Corps from 1952 to 1960 as a jet fighter and helicopter pilot, which garnered him quite a reputation.

In the 1960s, he started working at Santa Ana College, teaching political science and philosophy, and stayed there till the 1990s. He jumped into politics in the 60s and served two terms in the California Senate, from 1964 to 1970 and 1978 to 1982, along with his service in the US House from 1970 to 1973. In 1972, he won the presidential nomination of the American Independent Party, but he quit in 1973. Initially, Schmitz’s ultraconservative views won him many votes and favors, but eventually, the parties that had supported him started to distance themselves from him. The John Birch Society was one of them.

What further impacted his political career and, in fact, led to its unsalvageable destruction was the revelation of his affair with a woman named Carla Stuckle. She was his student at Santa Ana College, and reportedly, they had two children from the affair. Allegedly, the affair started sometime in 1973 and came to the public’s notice in 1982. It is reported that one day, Stuckle took her son to the hospital for an injury but found herself in trouble when she was accused of child abuse. To explain the situation and to prove that the boy was, in fact, her son and she didn’t harm him, Stuckle told the truth about his parentage. She named Schmitz to be the father of her not one, but two children.

Schmitz confessed that it was all true, but reportedly, he never supported Stuckle in raising the children, nor did he ever provide them with any financial support. While the affair practically ended his political affair, his marriage with Mary E. survived, and they remained married until Schmitz’s death in 2001. Still, his tainted reputation had an adverse impact on his children, especially Mary Kay. According to her childhood best friend, Michelle Lobdell, something flipped in Mary Kay after her father’s infidelity came to light. Speaking about it in ‘Mary Kay Letourneau: Notes on A Scandal,’ she said: “I noticed a very, very palpable change in her after the story about her dad broke.”

“The whole facade of the family fell apart and it was like Mary Kay did a 180. She ended up imitating her father. She repeated what he did but on a much more … ugly scale,” she added. Letourneau’s parents didn’t make any public statements about the crimes that their daughter was convicted of, nor was it revealed whether they had any contact with her two children with Fualaau. However, the way they maintained a distance from her, it is assumed that the contact between them and their daughter dwindled in the years following the revelation of her affair.

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