These days, Courtney Stodden has moved on in their life and in their love life.
But when they first rose to fame, they were still a minor teenager … who became famous for marrying a then-51-year-old actor.
They have had time to process what it meant to marry a man at 16, and are speaking on behalf of other children exploited through the marriage loophole.
Courtney is also describing what it was like, from her family signing off on the marriage to accusing Doug of abuse.
Courtney Stodden was a guest on the Call Her Daddy podcast, where they spoke to Alex Cooper.
Getting into how they connected with Doug Hutchison, they remembered receiving an email from him.
Already known for The Green Mile and Lost, he approached them — when they had just turned 16 — as an acting coach.
"My manager at the time sent him pictures, and he was very much aware of what I looked like," Courtney recalled.
"But he claims … he never knew my age," they added. "That’s not true. He did."
"My mom received a call from him, and he said, "I really want to start teaching your daughter acting,’" Courtney shared.
Courtney, who came out as nonbinary last year but still used she/her pronouns as an adolescent, continued.
Describing their mother’s conversation, they narrated: "And she goes, "OK, well, you know she’s only … she just turned 16."’
Their emails with their new "mentor" weren’t sexually explicit, but as an adult, Courtney would later realize that the communications were inappropriate.
"Then, as a child, I didn’t really see it as anything predatory," they noted, describing how he would ask simple questions expressing interest in their goals.
From peers or true mentors, that’s one thing. Courtney has come to recognize that this was the first stage of grooming them.
"Now I know in retrospect it’s just a way to start figuring out the child," they explained, "and to get your claws in them and control them."
In the past, Courtney’s mother has received the ire of their fans and has at times been estranged from Courtney.
These days, they are closer to their mother, and even describing her very differently than most of us remember Krista Keller.
They said that their mom had "always been very protective" of them and has come to regret signing off on their marriage when they were 16.
"My mom has gotten a lot of hate, and I understand why," Courtney acknowledged.
They affirmed: "If I ever have a baby and I’m raising that baby, from my own experiences, I would never sign my kid off, ever, to an adult man, who is 34 years older."
"There is just no way that would happen," Courtney emphasized.
"But I think she thought she was doing something that was going to make me happy," Courtney expressed.
"In retrospect, she knows it was the wrong decision," they shared. "She’s apologized to me so many times."
Courtney shared that Krista has told them: "’You know, If I could just do anything to do over, I’m just so sorry, I wouldn’t sign off on this.’"
These not-sexual-yet-not-appropriate emails continued, coupled with phone calls, for six months before they actually met Doug.
He traveled to their hometown in Washington, and Courtney shared that with their current understanding of predatory behavior, it makes perfect sense.
"I believe [that trip] was obviously to see his child in person, verify the parents are on-board," they explained matter-of-factly.
Courtney speculated upon their ex’s thought process at the time: "I’m not going to go to jail, and I can get that free pass to molest a child."
They went on to characterize: "I just need that paperwork signed for me to get married because it’s a loophole."
"Then a week later we got married," Courtney said flatly.
"So I basically just met him in person one week, and then a week later I’m married," Courtney summarized.
At the time, they admitted, there was part of them that believed that they wanted to marry Doug Hutchison.
Even then, despite half a year of grooming, seduction, and manipulation, part of them wanted their dad to put his foot down and forbid it.
Instead, Courtney recalled, Doug and their father had known each other in person for less than an hour before their dad gave his blessing.
Courtney recalled how their wedding night was also when they lost their virginity.
They were from a very religious family and they were only sixteen. At the time, they naively thought that their physical immaturity would be a turn-off to Doug.
"He was extremely emotionally abusive to me," Courtney described, adding: "At times physical, but mostly emotionally abusive."
"Because I think that’s the ultimate power a groomer has over a child," they assessed.
Courtney continued: "is that emotional abuse and control."
Courtney recalled having been expected to have sex with their ex-husband on his schedule.
They also suggested that the sexual relationship itself was violent, beyond the inherent sexual violence of an adult preying upon a minor.
"I still have scars on me," Courtney shared. "Physical scarring."
Ultimately, Courtney emphasized, this is not solely about them by any means.
"So it just makes sense why this happened, and it happens to so many other children in the USA," Courtney noted.
"About 300,000 children, underage children, were married to adults between the years of 2000 and 2018, and 86 per cent of those children are girls," they cited.
"And it’s in this country," Courtney emphasized, noting that xenophobia often makes people turn a blind eye to grim realities at home.
"We think of child brides as some foreign situation, but it is so prevalent in the USA right now," they pointed out.
"And it’s terrifying," Courtney expressed.
"I think it’s pretty obvious that [Hutchison] looked at me like a child," Courtney alleged, "but wanted to treat me like some kind of object."
As always, Courtney has our support. Not only because they’re a sweetheart, but because they are using their painful story to raise awareness for others.
Until the marriage loophole is closed, other teens will continue to be preyed upon by adults in ways that are perfectly legal and utterly despicable.