- “From now on, forget everything you thought you knew about Luann Van Houten. ”
- ―Luann following her divorce from Kirk
Luann Van Houten (née Mussolini) is the cousin as well as wife of Kirk Van Houten and the mother of Milhouse Van Houten. She has been married to Kirk, divorced due to an argument at one of Homer and Marge's disastrous dinner parties, and later remarried to Kirk.
Luann is apparently of Italian and Greek descent. Her mother, Sophie, is Italian, although Luann never speaks Italian or is seen with her mother (who remains in Italy with Luann's half-brother, Bastardo). Luann was born in Shelbyville, a town founded on the principle of freedom to marry one's cousins. Her birthday is December 1. She lacks the stereotypical exaggerated mannerisms associated with most other Italian-Americans in Springfield, such as Fat Tony or the chef Luigi Risotto. When younger, she went to "Camp Land-A-Man" (which basically served as a finishing school) with Marge, Patty and Selma, the future Helen Lovejoy (maiden name unknown), and future realtor Cookie Kwan.
Luann was married to her cousin Kirk Van Houten and gave birth to Milhouse. Their marriage came to an unhappy end; after an argument over a game of Pictionary, she leaves Kirk. Although Kirk found single life tough, Luann used her newfound freedom and heretofore stifled promiscuity to live life in the fast lane. Luann began dating American Gladiator Pyro shortly after her divorce, but was caught cheating on Pyro with his (former) best friend, Gyro. It is implied that Luann had a one-night stand with Otto in the episode Moe Letter Blues after Otto tells Kirk "even I hooked up with your old lady" before apologizing to Milhouse, who says that Otto is his "favorite uncle". Even while married to Kirk she attended a key party at which she slept with Dr. Hibbert. Luann also dated Apu, Disco Stu, and Captain McCallister.
When the Van Houtens are on the verge of reuniting, Bart and Milhouse hatch a scheme to get them to separate again (because Milhouse enjoyed their fighting over him and trying to buy his love). The scheme backfires and nearly results in the separation of Homer and Marge. Since then, they are often seen together. After some years, they plan to marry again. Their honeymoon goes terrible when they are lost at sea and stranded on an island, believed to be dead. When they are rescued, they go back to Springfield, fully reconciled.
Even though they utlimately got back together, they are shown to still have some marital issues. For example, in in Bobby, It's Cold Outside, Milhouse admits when reluctantly refusing to jot down Bart's last words that Luann deliberately locked Kirk out of the house and threatened to take away Milhouse's presents if he so much as even tries to let Kirk inside.
Milhouse and his parents all look so much alike that Bart once asked in Luann and Kirk were siblings. In the season 26 episode "Let's Go Fly a Coot", Milhouse reveals that his parents are actually cousins.
Luann has bob-cut blue hair and red round glasses. She wears many different outfits. She sometimes wears white pearl earrings. She also had thick blue eyebrows that, according to Kirk, were fake.
- She was apparently born without eyebrows, as Kirk once mentioned that she drew them on badly.
- Apparently, she may not have been a good cook, as Kirk Van Houten, during the dinner party with the Simpson family, implied twice that he hadn't had a decent breakfast since he was in the army, and thought he would get a decent breakfast from high school hooligans egging their Bonneville if they threw him some bacon.
- She apparently frequently told bedtime stories to Milhouse filled with negative vibes about his father, such as how "rotten" it was to be married to a "loser" or the fact that he carries a change purse.
- In the episode "Dumbbell Indemnity" she is shown dancing with Pyro, but has brown hair instead of her usual blue hair.
- She lives next door to Elizabeth Hoover.
- She has a real estate license.
- She once gave Milhouse a Bar Mitzvah-card, even though none of the Van Houtens are Jewish and, even if they were, Milhouse would technically be too young for a Bar Mitzvah.
- Prior to getting back together with Kirk, Luann showed traits of being a narcissistic parent, a form of abusive parenting. Luann is neglectful of Milhouse, ignores the bullying he endures a school, is overprotective of him, and she often manipulated him by demonising Kirk. Luann always based her decisions on how it impacted her than how it impacted Milhouse and refused to maintain a healthy relationship with Kirk for the sake of Milhouse's psyche.
Behind the Laughter
Luann is voiced by Maggie Roswell, but she temporarily became a non-speaking character from seasons 11-14 when Roswell was forced to leave the show after a pay increase dispute. She made her first speaking appearance again in the Season 15 episode "Milhouse Doesn't Live Here Anymore".