celebrity

In 2011, 16yo Courtney Stodden married 51yo Doug Hutchison. This is her life now at 26.

Warning: This post deals with distressing content and may be triggering for some people. 

Courtney Stodden was 16 years old when her father walked her down the aisle to a man three times her age.

Courtney’s father was 47, making him four years younger than his daughter’s husband, 51-year-old Doug Hutchison.

The aspiring actress and singer was marrying Hutchison, known in Hollywood for his role in The Green Mile alongside Tom Hanks.

The couple met online after Courtney expressed interest in Hutchison’s acting workshop. The first day they met in person, Hutchison proposed and they married in Las Vegas in 2011.

Due to her age, Courtney’s parents had to sign permission forms for their daughter to marry Hutchison.

“We are totally supportive of this marriage. Doug is a wonderful man and we love him,” Courtney’s mother, Krista Stodden, told Radar Online.

On television, during an interview with Good Morning America, the couple – who made worldwide headlines at the time – announced to the nation Courtney was a virgin when they married.

Watch: Courtney Stodden and Doug Hutchison discuss their marriage in this 2011 interview. Post continues below. 


Video by ABC News

They were also forced to deny rumours that Courtney had received plastic surgery, with the man 35-years her senior saying, “Courtney’s plastic surgeon was God”.

Asked if she was in the marriage to advance her career, Courtney responded: “If it does, that’s just another beautiful blessing that God hands me. But if I’m just with him for the rest of my life, supporting him, that would make me happy too.”

In 2012, one year into their marriage, they appeared on reality TV show, Couples Therapy.

According to The Daily Beast, the couple had a number of issues observed by the show’s therapist, Dr. Jenn Berman.

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“Hutchison admitted that he does not like the attention his wife’s scanty wardrobe provokes and that he is uncomfortable with her friendship with an ex-boyfriend,” the publication explained.

“Stodden, who is obsessed with herself and her image, acknowledged she sometimes forgets she is married.”

Courtney Stodden
Courtney Stodden and Doug Hutchison in 2011, the year they became married. Image: Getty.

Their appearance on the show was depicted as a trainwreck and the signifier of more than a few cracks in their marriage. So it was no surprise in 2013 when the couple announced they were separating.

In a statement to The Daily Mail, the couple announced: "After two and a half years of marriage, Courtney and Doug have decided to become legally separated.

"Courtney was married at a young age. Now, at 19, she’s interested in exploring life as an unmarried single young adult - with the freedom to explore her independence.

"Doug supports Courtney 100 per cent. The two will share custody of their precious pup, Dourtney, remain living in the same house [for now] in separate bedrooms, and Doug will be co-managing Courtney’s career."

Nine months later, in 2014, they reunited and renewed their vows.

Her mother Krista, who was also her manager, told People: "She got a taste of being single... She did date, but she found out that she really, really loves Doug and he’s the one she wants to spend the rest of her life with."

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Courtney Stodden
Doug Hutchison, Courtney Stodden and Krista Keller Stodden in 2012. Image: Getty.

That was the beginning of their on-again-off-again relationship, but in 2018, Courtney filed for divorce, and in March this year their divorce was finalised.

To mark her divorce, Courtney posted to her Instagram saying looking at an old picture of them made her "feel absolutely taken advantage of".

"I’ve been scared to even speak up about feeling groomed or being verbally abused during the almost 10 year marriage because I was a child and he was 50 when we married but I’m a woman now and it’s time for me to put my big girl pants on and speak on this matter.

"I’ve felt completely trapped, manipulated and at times abandoned by adults... growing up in such an environment — it became a lonely and dark place.

 




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It’s March 3rd, 2020 - today I am officially divorced from actor Doug Hutchison. It’s an emotional day for me. God only knows how he’s feeling, but I can tell you that it’s for the better. I look back at this picture and feel absolutely taken advantage of. I’ve been scared to even speak up about feeling groomed or being verbally abused during the almost 10 year marriage because I was a child and he was 50 when we married but I’m a woman now and it’s time for me to put my big girl pants on and speak on this matter. I’ve felt completely trapped, manipulated and at times abandoned by adults // growing up in such an environment — it became a lonely and dark place. Stay tuned for my book. And to Doug... I’ll always love you; yet I’ll always be angry. You’ve left me — a child woman, feeling belittled and confused. These things I shall overcome. I wish you well. But please don’t ever do this to another minor again. It’s not right... even if the parent signs off. Wait a respectable amount of time before marrying. Children aren’t on your level. I’ll always love you regardless. Be better. As shall I.

A post shared by  Courtney Stodden (@courtneyastodden) on

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Addressing Doug directly, she wrote: "I’ll always love you; yet I’ll always be angry... Please don’t ever do this to another minor again. It’s not right..."

Hutchison also discussed his marriage to Courtney earlier this year, telling Fox News, "I shot my career in the head for love. And in doing so, I lost my family and friends. I was suddenly on the Titanic and everyone was fleeing except for me and Courtney."

Now, Courtney Stodden, 26, reflected on the past decade of living in the public eye under such intense scrutiny. 

"Ten years ago, I turned 16. Nothing could have prepared me for what was around the corner. I had a child’s mind, a teenager’s body and I was a virgin. However, it appeared to everyone around me that I was a woman who was grown and able to make my own choices," she wrote on Instagram.

"According to many, I was 'mature' enough to date men my father’s age (or older), and eventually marry one.

"Looking back, I now see how desperately I craved my own father's attention. He didn't teach me how to drive. I didn't know how to write a check. I never went to prom. Instead, I dropped out of high school, went to Las Vegas, and with the blessing of my parents, I wed a 50-year-old man I had just met in person.

"I gave him my all – my body, my mind, my heart, my soul. No one stopped me. No one stepped in and said that this wasn't okay. Instead, after achieving a kind of fame I wasn't prepared for, the world became my jury. I hid myself beneath a blonde mask, and eventually I lost my complete identity." 

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Courtney has continued to be open about her experience, saying in a recent YouTube video that she suffers from trauma.

"I'm reliving so many experiences that I can't even comprehend still to this day, with sexual assault and rape and everything else. What I'm going through right now is the realisation that I was married to somebody who groomed me.

"I was married to someone who had an interest in minors," she added. "If you had told me that I would be sitting here right now making this video, 10 years later, I would have said you're crazy...

"I'm going through a huge chapter right now that is healing. I'm so grateful that I'm on the other side - I got out. But that doesn't put me in the clear, I suffer a lot to this day from trauma - at least, that's what my therapist calls it."

She also expressed her clear opinion on the legal system allowing her marriage: "I don't even think minors should be legally allowed to get married with parental consent. I think it should be illegal, personally."

The singer is now writing a book about her experience of being in one of America's most controversial marriages, and the distress she continues to suffer from it.

This post was originally published in May 2020 and has been updated on September 3, 2020.  

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

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