Did Hollywood set the trend with aging male stars tossing babies young enough to be their daughters or is that so unusual in real life? It seems not, unless it is the other way around. At The Graduate, the oldest woman, Ann Bancroft, is only six years older than Dustin Hoffman. However, the play raised moral problems of predatory women mixed with moral corruption. Would Madonna have been so ridiculed if her relationship with the toy boy had been the other way around?
Thirty-nine years separate Hollywood star James Woods and Ashley Madison. They met thanks to his golfer friendship with his father. Naysayers dismiss celebrity comparisons by cynically insinuating that young gold diggers are trophy girlfriends of men they might not otherwise be attracted to. This ignores the fact that many of those women are rich and famous in their own right. Since they also tend to be beautiful, they also have easier access to younger admirers than their less favored sisters. This is something the cynics don’t seem to have an answer for.
Screen goddess Sophia Loren
The longest-lasting love match was that of Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti. Described as the most beautiful woman in the world they met when she was sixteen and he was a thirty-seven-year-old married man. Only death would separate them. Carlo, let’s face it, it’s not an oil painting and Sophia was always the more famous of the two. Her husband said: “I have done everything for the love of Sofia: I have always believed in her.” However, it was Sophia who had to beg Carlo to marry her.
One of the greatest love stories was between the opera diva Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis, the shipping magnate. They had both endured a hideous and poverty-stricken childhood. Twenty-two years separated lovers who were married to others at that time. Onassis was going to marry Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of the assassinated US president, but within weeks he was knocking on Maria’s door; ‘yelling, whistling for Madame to let him in.’
Seven years later, in 1975, Aristotle was dying in a hospital to which he had brought the last gift from Mary; a red cashmere Hermes blanket. Neither Maria nor his wife were with him when he slipped away peacefully. Within two years, Callas died of a broken heart.
Is it fame and fortune?
The famous age difference relationships tend to have a common thread: mutual fame and wealth. This indicates that neither one party nor the other are attracted to their partner for mercenary reasons. Regardless of appearance, wealthy older men have no potential to marry cashier girls or distressed models.
Billy Joel and Katie Lee Joel were respectively 55 and 23 years old when they married. “It will never last,” critics said. They were wrong: almost seven years later and they are still committed to each other. The throbbing Harrison Ford (born 1942) is known for his acting skills and chiseled good looks. This may have been a factor in the acquisition of the lovely Calista Flockhart, 22 years his junior. Perhaps it was Ford’s skills as a talented carpenter. Whatever it is, they are very much an article and why not?
The list of enduring and happy age difference relationships often seems longer than more conventional wedding arrangements. Despite the 37-year difference between them, Wende and Thomas (Scotty) Doohan remain a lesson in devotion. Tony Bennett and Susan Crowe are inseparable even though there is a thirty-seven year difference in the details on their birth certificate. Paul McCartney was 26 years older than his disabled wife Heather Mills; and twenty-five golden years separate Clint Eastwood from his wife Dina. Very little else seems to separate them or dozens of other associations of similar longevity.
Closing the 20-year gap
Others whose age difference spanned twenty years or more include; Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow, Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn. Charlie Chaplin and Oona O’Neill were one of the happiest parenting marriages among famous people. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rod Stewart was an exception, he married two women whose birthdays separated his by a quarter of a century. Larry Fortensky and Elizabeth Taylor. Celine Dion and Renne Angelil.
Censors often resort to the theory that the age difference in couples is peculiar to celebrities. After all, acting professions are notorious for being unconventional. Assurance that wealth and influence is supposed to reduce the need to conform to societal norms. Perhaps, on the other hand, those that are not in the public eye are so numerous but less publicized due to their obscurity.
There is no question that women who are beautiful, well-placed, and powerful in their own right are drawn to similarity when they associate with men. The evidence would suggest that social circle, common interests, and chemistry are much more important than the numbers on certificates. Perhaps the Greek philosopher Plato was right in offering the Greek theory of destiny to explain the mutual attraction between diverse individuals: “ The idea that each person is half of what once was a whole and spends his entire life searching for the other individual who will make it complete. ”