In 2011, Courtney Stodden and actor Doug Hutchinson repeatedly made headlines for their controversial marriage. At the time, Doug was 50 years old, and Courtney was 16.
The couple remained married for six years before getting a divorce. Now, the former child bride is opening up about her marriage.
25-year-old Courtney took to Instagram to announce that confirm that she and Doug, now 59, are officially divorced. In the lengthy post, she admitted to feeling "absolutely taken advantage of" by her ex-husband.
"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,” she wrote in the caption of a photo of Doug kissing her on the cheek. “I look back at this picture and feel absolutely taken advantage of.”
She continued, "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,” she added.
Courtney also revealed that she is working on releasing a book before ending the post with a message directed at Doug. "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," she continued. "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."
Courtney, an aspiring actress, and Doug met when she took a virtual acting workshop that was facilitated by the Green Mile actor. Six months later, they met in person and continued their relationship. Despite a few hiccups, the couple was able to get the blessings from some family members, including Courtney's mother.
In 2013, reports revealed that the May-December couple was on the brink of divorce, citing age as a reason. But that was a false alarm. In fact, Courtney and Doug renewed their vows the following year.
Courtney used her newfound fame to further her beauty pageant career and establish herself as a celebrity. Both her and Doug made appearances on Good Morning America, E! News and VH1's Couples Therapy. Courtney starred on the 12th season of Celebrity Big Brother and 50 Cent's "Don't Worry Bout It" music video. In 2015, she teamed up with Vivid Entertainment to release a sex tape.
In 2016, the couple announced that they were expecting. Unfortunately, three months into her pregnancy, Courtney suffered a miscarriage.
"It's a bittersweet time for me right now," then-22-year-old Courtney told Us Magazine. "I'm dealing with a lot of stress and emotions surrounding life and its ups and downs."
The loss of their unborn child took a toll on their already rocky relationship. A source close to the couple revealed that they eventually split up in late 2016.
"They split a couple of months ago but they're still living together," the source told ET. "They're still friendly. There's no bad blood. [Courtney] wants to focus on herself and her career."
Doug hasn't responded to Courtney's recent post, but in a statement to People, his manager Charles Lago explained that Courtney is speaking out right now because "Doug has a biography out on March 10."
Doug did previously open up about the ways his unusual relationship took a toll on his life and career.
“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, I have nothing to lose but, to tell the truth,” he told Fox News. “For a long time, I acted out of fear and lies for that same reason — I was afraid to burn bridges. Now, what am I afraid of? There is absolutely nothing to lose by telling the truth.”
He said that he doesn't regret marrying Courtney when she was just a teen. "I don’t believe in living a life of regret. I think that every choice we make, we make them for a reason… I have absolutely no regrets in my life."
He added, "Do I wish I would have handled certain aspects of my life differently or said … some things differently? Yes — like everybody else. But my marriage to Courtney is not one of them. I regret none of it. It was a beautiful and powerful journey. A bittersweet journey with Courtney."
In an older interview, Courtney admitted to feeling excited about "being able to start over."
"I am happy and I am excited," she told E! News, adding "When I was 16 I got my marriage license instead of my driver's license."
She also shared that she would be staying single for a while so she could focus on marketing her brand and personal growth.
"I'm really excited to let my hair down and be single and learn and grow. And my brand, to be immersed in that," she told Las Vegas Review Journal after the divorce announcement.