In The Graduate, leading actress Ann Bancroft is only six years older than Dustin Hoffman but the play’s older woman theme raised moral issues. Would Madonna have been as pilloried if her toy boy relationship had been the other way around?
Detractors cynically claim trophy brides are gold-diggers pursuing men they would otherwise consider unattractive. But many such women are wealthy and famous in their own right and being beautiful they enjoy easy access to younger rivals. Thirty-nine years separates
The most enduring love-marriage was that of Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti. Described as the most beautiful woman on earth they met when she was sixteen and he was a thirty-seven year old married man. Carlo is no oil painting and Sophia the more famous of the two. Her husband said: “I have done everything for love of Sophia: I have always believed in her.” Yet it was Sophia who had to beg Carlo to marry her.
One of the greatest love stories was that of opera diva Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis. Twenty-two years separated them and both were married to others at the time; shipping tycoon Onassis to Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of the assassinated U.S. President. Weeks later he was hammering at Maria’s door; ‘shouting, whistling for Madame to let him in.’ Shortly after Aristotle died Maria died of a broken heart.
Fame, fortune or fate?
Rich men are rarely marriage potential for struggling models. Billy Joel and Katie Lee were 55 and 23 when tying the knot. Heart throb Harrison Ford (born 1942) is renowned for his acting ability and chiselled good looks; perhaps a factor in acquiring the lovely Calista Flockhart 22-years his junior.
Enduring age difference relationships often last longer than conventional marriages. Despite a 37-years difference between them Wende and Thomas (Scotty) Doohan remain a lesson in devotion. Tony Bennett and Susan Crowe are inseparable despite their thirty-seven year age difference. Paul McCartney was 26-years older than his disabled wife Heather Mills; twenty-five golden years separate Clint Eastwood and his wife Dina. He says: “They say marriages are made in heaven but so are thunder and lightning.”
Bridging The 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. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Larry Fortensky and Elizabeth Taylor. Celine Dion and Renne Angelil.
It sometimes works the other way. Eye candy Joan Collins looks much younger than her 76-years; her husband is a mere forty-four years of age.
Is it that age difference in partnerships is peculiar to the famous; the acting professions being renowned for unconventionality? Without question women who in their own right are beautiful, well placed and powerful are attracted to similar but older when male bonding. It seems that social circle, common interests, and chemistry are far more important than numbers on certificates.
By Mike Walsh