How These 4 Hollywood Couples Survive The Trials & Tribulations of Age Gap Marriages
By Diana Orfani, Legends Report Writer
Relationships are complex and entail a lot of effort to keep them going, and this applies even more so in intimate, ‘true love’ romances and marriages. Romantic relationships are known to be exceptionally sweet and tender but the myths society sells us on are that you don’t need to work at them. It can be especially controversial and problematic when there are big age differences between partners as far as society is concerned.
While we are normally concerned with finding our ideal companion – usually someone from a similar age group – in the ‘Hollywood’ world, celebrities infamously often find their ‘soulmate’ or greatest love in people who are decades older or a couple of generations younger.
Despite the social stigmas, a few studies have suggested that couples who have been in an age gap relationship are found to be happy and at ease with their spouses.
The concept of being in a relationship with a huge age gap is generally perceived as a big taboo and we do seem to see some of the well-established celebrities and their age gap marriages being short-lived - giving society further ammunition. However, a fine range of the most celebrated couples have effectively re-booted and represented modern celebrity marriages as a positive and possible unity.
There is a lot we can learn from them with their love and dedication for one another, it's self-evident that love and togetherness are not restricted to age and can truly be genuine. What matters is a dedication to the fundamentals of why relationships work which we will explore in this article...
Focusing On Similarities Not The Differences...
By the standards set by society, we would seek a life partner that would be very similar to ourselves - whether it be age, level of maturity or experience - an occurrence that is largely embraced and almost never challenged.
The glamorous and much admired A-list couple Amal and George Clooney are one of the most talked about celebrity couples of this current generation. They have gracefully managed to diminish such myths, with the reality that a strong bond can be formed by working as a team and wanting to do things together with great enthusiasm. They both share the same type of goals and desires; which increases their intimacy and attraction towards one another. George Clooney, 58, has proudly admitted his admiration for his much younger wife, 41, on many occasions:
"Of course, she was beautiful," George told Vogue magazine. "But I also thought she was fascinating, and I thought she was brilliant. Her life was incredibly exciting - the superhuman work she was doing. I was taken with her from the moment I saw her."
“We spend an awful lot of time together. We try not to have these huge gaps," The actor told Extra. “We’re able to manage, so far, between my work and her work and the things we're doing, we're able to manage it pretty well."
Amal Clooney was just as taken by her husband’s inner qualities. Moreover, she was attracted to his groundedness as well as his keen interest in humanitarian work and contributing to good causes, just like her:
"George shows us all what it is to have a moral conscience. Although he modestly attributes most of his success to luck, I think it is his incredible talent and character that got him here and these attributes make him an amazing husband and father."
Experts too, believe such elements to be an effective approach towards a successful marriage, crediting the Clooneys in creating a transformation to Hollywood’s littered landscape on short-lived marriages:
"They know what works for them, and they keep applying the same successful principles over and over”, says British author and celebrity relationship expert, Sloan Sheridan-Williams. “They love to spend time together, travel together, create similar interests together, be with family together, so their physical proximity becomes an emotional one."
Communication & Sincerity Is Key
Being truthful and sincere are the basic foundations for a thriving relationship; the essence to firm companionship. Yet a lot of us may occasionally struggle to give them the absolute importance they deserve. This, of course, starts with being honest with ourselves. Within Hollywood on the other hand, despite the insecurity and deceitful reputation it has, being upfront and genuine has proven to be the fundamental source for a few exceptional couples – with their marriages successfully having lasted longer than a decade, despite the significant age gap.
Catherine Zeta-Jones, 49 and her husband Michael Douglas, 74, have both seen the highs and lows in their 20 years of togetherness, including dealing with the constant criticism in choosing to become a couple. Even though their relationship has come across as a bizarre union, for the Mask of Zorro star, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. As a matter of fact, she finds her other half being a lot older a credit to their marriage. The highly acclaimed actress states:
"25 years is nothing. I've never heard of a book or a law being passed that says you have to be a certain age to spend time with another person. Michael doesn't seem like an older man to me, he's just Michael. The fact he's older is simply the way it has worked out."
Nonetheless, despite the glamorous actress feeling unruffled by being with someone decades older, she points out that the concept of honesty and sincerity in their marital journey has been the key driving aspect to such a strong unity:
“I’m so happy that we’ve made it to be 20 years together. It’s been great.”
“Both Michael and I have a very open relationship…You’ve got to be open and honest and share things…”
In showbiz, staying together and being committed is generally the toughest of the toughest obligations to uphold. But Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas continue to inspire the industry with their relationship which have earned them the recognition of being ‘one of Hollywood’s longest standing power couples.’
A relationship based on communication and honesty - being able to express almost anything to each other - seems to go a long way and is probably one of the key fundamentals to an everlasting relationship such as actor Hugh Jackman, 50, & Deborra-Lee Furness, 63. They attribute this as a fundamental element to their lengthy marriage, with Hugh Jackman explaining:
“We’re really honest with each other, we talk about everything,”
Despite the 13 years difference between them, both actors were determined to break the stereotypical beliefs surrounding age gap nuptials. They are a phenomenal inspiration - having survived all the ‘crazy ups and crazy downs’ and spent 21 years of good companionship together - they have managed to bring a new paradigm into the frenzied industry on the controversial issue:
“My husband is my best friend”, Mrs. Jackman explained, speaking to Vogue Australia.
Create Strategies To Keep The Passion Alive…
However, sometimes it needs much more effort and dedication to sustain a strong companionship. For Mr Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness, it was making sure they had a lot more quality time together and sorting through problems without prolonging them any further. Whilst many may find their pairing quite odd; especially a younger man with an older woman, their attempts towards a positive and uplifting marriage seems to work well - strengthening their bond throughout the years and creating a long successful relationship since 1995:
“Deb had a few rules when we met. She said we won’t spend more than two weeks apart. We never go to bed on a cross word. Sometimes it’s 3 o’clock in the morning, but we kind of work it out before we go to sleep.”
According to psychotherapist and relationship specialist, Rachel A. Sussman, LCSW, these type of marriages or relationships might have a chance of working out if there is a balance between spouses based on their level of maturity. “I also think it works well when the younger partner is playful and perhaps a bit immature”, she says, speaking to INSIDER.
Look at an age difference as an advantage and Keeping things fun...
Understandably, love has no ‘age-boundaries’ and despite the negative criticisms, it seems to prevail in some instances. A good example of this is the living legendary, actor, Dick Van Dyke, 90, and his 44-year-old wife – Arlene Silver. Their intimacy might be the most peculiar one yet because of the husband’s much older age and his spouse being half his age. However, they have illustrated to us that if there is a will, there is certainly a way to make their relationship flourish.
Though Ms Silver surely had her doubts - marrying someone old enough to be her grandfather – it’s thanks to her husband’s youthful spirit and wild persona that has enabled them to live a rather exciting and unique matrimonial life. Arlene Silver reveals:
“He is a lot of fun. He’s immature in a good way with the wonder of a child”. “He’s just fun, he’s open-minded. He’s not stuck in his ways at all.”
At the same time, Dick Van Dyke, who wedded his beloved wife in 2012, is glad to have found a balance of maturity within their marriage, crediting it as the perfect combination to their ongoing companionship:
“She’s very mature for age and I’m immature for my age so it’s just about right!” he exclaimed.
The Fundamentals of a Great Relationship
We are never taught how to build great relationships in life, especially ones where there are age differences. Instead, we choose to judge and disapprove of those who dare to be in an age gap relationship. However, we can learn from these successful couples that there are fundamental principles which, if we follow, will lead to a happy and loving bond with a partner. It’s these legends which enlighten us with the fact that sometimes even the strangest and uncommon relationships can survive and succeed. The four different strategies presented above - having an open relationship, finding ways to sustain the companionship, choosing to focus on similarities, and wanting to keep things exciting show us the significance of this. The more we can learn about the fundamentals of how to build great relationships, the more we will be able to build them!