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Courtney Stodden finalizes divorce from Doug Hutchison, reflects on being groomed as his 'child bride' at age 16

Courtney Stodden and Doug Hutchison are officially divorced. The couple gained notoriety due to their controversial marriage — and 34 year age gap — in 2011. Stodden was a 16-year-old beauty queen when she wed the actor, then 50, and she's reflecting on how she was "groomed" as a child bride. In an emotional Instagram post Wednesday, Stodden shared a photo from their wedding day.

"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," the now 25-year-old began. "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."

Actor Doug Hutchison and TV Personality Courtney Stodden at an event on April 15, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
Actor Doug Hutchison and TV Personality Courtney Stodden at an event on April 15, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo: FilmMagic)

Hutchison is best known for playing the abusive prison guard in 1999’s The Green Mile. The pair first connected when Stodden emailed him about an acting workshop in 2010.

"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 wrote.

"And to Doug... I’ll always love you; yet I’ll always be angry," she continued. "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."

Stodden's mother gave parental consent for her daughter to marry the Lost actor in Las Vegas. "We are totally supportive of this marriage," Krista Stodden told Radar Online at the time. "Doug is a wonderful man and we love him."

The singer concluded with a message to her ex-husband.

"Wait a respectable amount of time before marrying," Stodden added. "Children aren’t on your level. I’ll always love you regardless. Be better. As shall I."

Stodden was living in Washington State when she first contacted Hutchison. In an interview with Good Morning America in 2011, she said it was "totally innocent" when they first exchanged emails. Hutchison explained he thought she was in her 20s after looking at her photos. When he found out she was 16 his "world turned upside down…. It didn't make me want to walk away, but it definitely was a struggle inside my heart … because I had already started falling for her."

They had a four-month courtship online and over the phone.

"It was a really beautiful and unique way to get to know someone, because we didn't have the distraction of the physical….We could only get to know each other through our words and our sentiments," Hutchison explained.

Krista Stodden apparently monitored the exchanges. When their relationship got serious, Hutchison said he called her parents.

"I said, Krista, I don't know if you know this or not, but your daughter and I are falling in love…. If you and [Courtney's father, Alex Stodden] have any misgivings whatsoever about this … I will respect you, and Courtney will respect you. And we will step back," he said.

"It was Krista who said, 'You know, you guys could get married if you want. There are ways to do that. There are certain states,'" Hutchison added.

Stodden's father, Alex, walked her down the aisle in Las Vegas.

In 2013, the couple announced they were separating, but they reconciled a year later. Stodden filed for divorce in March 2018.

Next week, Hutchinson is releasing a tell-all titled book titled Flushing Hollywood: Fake News, Fake Boobs where he will tell his side of the story.

"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," he told Fox News last month. "Now, I have nothing to lose but, to tell the truth. I do hope my book isn’t interpreted as mean-spirited, angry or bitter. Because I’m not. 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."

Hutchison said he doesn't regret the marriage.

"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," he said. "I regret none of it. It was a beautiful and powerful journey. A bittersweet journey with Courtney."

He added, "We are certainly not the first May-December romance, especially in Hollywood. The world is not black and white. There is always gray in between. Especially when it comes to love. Courtney and I got married legally in a church to consummate our union… But after the backlash, we had two choices — hide under a rock or not. Despite our unconventional union, we were in love. And we didn’t feel the need to hide that from anyone."

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