Vili Fualaau was only 12 years old when he was “courted” by his sixth grade teacher, 34-year-old Mary Kay Letourneau. The illicit affair took the nation by storm, but what shocked people even more than a mother-of-four seducing a teenager was that they got married after she served her time behind bars for her crimes related to their relationship. Fualaau and Letourneau made headlines once more Tuesday when the student-turned-DJ filed to separate from his wife of 12 years.

 “I’m not surprised that they got married,” David Gehrke, the high-profile attorney who defended Letourneau in 1997, told People Magazine Wednesday, “and I’m not surprised, in this day and age, that they are separating.”

READ: Vili Fualaau Is Dumping Mary Kay Letourneau So He Can Make Money Off Marijuana, He Says

Even though their relationship was tabloid gold, Gehrke argued the couple truly loved each other. “They were devoted to each other,” he said. “They courted for 10 years and they were married for 10 years. Yes, he was a minor, but they had back-channel contact during the time they weren’t supposed to be speaking. Not as regularly as they would have otherwise, but they were in contact. This was a couple who was in love. They had children together, and they raised those children.”

“I’m convinced they were totally in love,” the lawyer added. “But sometimes, people who are totally in love have trouble staying in love. They slowly drift apart. One day, you wake up and realize that things are different with your partner.”

The couple’s youngest daughter is 18 years old. With an “empty nest,” their relationship reportedly fell apart. “Vili was the one who filed a petition for separation, which is usually a precursor for filing for divorce,” said Gehrke. “It gives legal notice to creditors and the like that the debts won’t be joint. She could try to contest it, but that’s legally tough to do.”

While Gehrke mused the infamous couple fell apart without their children in the house, Fualaau told Radar Online the separation was essentially a sham. He wants to start a business, but can’t do that with Letourneau.

“It’s not necessarily what you think,” Fualaau, now 33, told Radar Online in an exclusive interview Wednesday about the split. “Everything is fine between us.”

“All the rumors that you hear between us. It’s fine,” he said. “Of course [we are still in love]. A piece of paper doesn’t break someone’s feelings!”

The former DJ wants get licensed to dispense “Cigaweed,” which is also known as marijuana cigarettes. “When you want to get licensed, they do background checks on both parties,” Fualaau told Radar Online. “If I decide to be a part of it I have to be licensed and I have to be vetted and so does a spouse. She has a past. She has a history.”

The former teacher served seven years in prison after she admitted to two counts of second-degree child rape.

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