Love presents itself in many ways—at least, that’s what we all like to say nowadays. However, when it comes to considerable age gaps between two people who are in a relationship, more so in high-profile ones, society is often less inclined to be so open-minded and understanding.
And for good reason too. For example, if a 30-year-old woman starts dating a 50-year-old man, chances are, no one will bat an eyelid. Sure, a handful of judgmental people might say something but that’s about it. That can be explained by the simple fact that the woman would be considered an adult—someone able to make her own decisions without being potentially influenced or impressed by an older partner.
But what if we took the same age difference and applied it to a different hypothetical couple? Let’s say one of them is 19 while the other is 39, things might seem slightly more worrying then. In the US, though the legal age is set by state law and can differ from one to another, almost all states set the base legal age at 18 years old. This would mean that, were the two individuals in this relationship from the country, the younger half of this couple would have been considered a teen not so long ago. Meanwhile, the other half would have been deemed an adult for 21 years.
As stated by the BBC, “Our views around age gap relationships are shaped by thousands of years of evolutionary psychology, and generations of social and cultural norms. Within the last hundred years, economic shifts and increased gender equalities have changed what is considered a ‘normal’ age gap, and recent social justice movements have increased scrutiny of power dynamics in mixed-age relationships.”
As women have gained greater economic power, the appeal of a much-older partner or spouse has fallen, making age gap relationships less common—and more often taboo. Rather than blindly assume people are happily together, society has a tendency to worry about possible power imbalances.
Such an approach to age gap relationships can often be seen with celebrities. But as we’ve shown previously, some age differences, even when exactly the same, can carry a greater (and more worrying) weight depending on the ages of both parties. To prove our point, we’ve analysed three power couples you probably didn’t know all have the same age gap: 23 years.
We’re all painfully aware of Leonardo DiCaprio’s alarming dating history and the fact that the Titanic actor just simply can’t seem to date anyone aged over 25, instead always breaking up with partners before they reach their 26th birthday. Gross and disappointing, we know.
Though the observation is a couple of years old already, it very much still applies to DiCaprio’s latest relationship. The actor is currently dating model Camilla Morrone—who he is rumoured to have met when she was only 12 through her stepdad Al Pacino by the way. Having been with DiCaprio since 2018, Morrone is 24 years old, coming up on her 25th birthday. Meanwhile, her beau is 47.
Despite DiCaprio’s somewhat predatory and ageist behaviour, many continue to commend him for his ability to attract younger women. Whether the two stay together after Morrone turns 26 remains to be seen, but we’re guessing it’ll be up to DiCaprio…
Actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson, 31, and director Sam Taylor-Johnson, 55, have been together for more than a decade. The pair met through the 2009 film Nowhere Boy and though their exact ages at the time of their first meeting remain largely unclear, various publications have stated that he was just 19 when he worked on the movie with the then 42-year-old director. Fans online also often speculate that, like DiCaprio, she knew the actor throughout his life because she was a family friend, but the claims are yet to be confirmed.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Sam shared that even though they clicked from the start, they didn’t begin their relationship while filming for the movie. “We were very professional through the entire film,” the couple told Harper’s Bazaar in 2019. “No funny business at all.”
Yet, as soon as the film was wrapped, Aaron proposed to Sam. “We had never been on a date, or even kissed,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “And a year to the minute after we met, exactly one year to the minute, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me,” Aaron added, further revealing that “a month later she was pregnant with our first child.”
In July 2010, their first child together, daughter Wylda Rae, was born—Sam was 43 and Aaron 20 at the time. Then, in January 2012, the couple had their second child, daughter Romy Hero. It’s only in June 2012 that Sam and Aaron found time to get married after having announced their engagement in 2009.
Sam wasn’t just older than her now-husband when she met him, she was also wealthier, better connected—her circle of friends includes Elton John and Damien Hirst—and professionally more established. This, to many, shows clear signs of a general power imbalance that was only exacerbated by his age as well as her role as his director and effectively his boss.
Last but certainly not least, we have American actor, screenwriter, director and producer Sylvester Stallone who was 46 when he met his wife, Jennifer Flavin, just 20 at the time. The pair were introduced at a restaurant in Beverly Hills, California in 1988—at the height of the actor’s career. The couple dated on and off between 1988 and 1994, before taking a break for a year and reuniting in 1995. They then got married in May 1997, making Flavin, Stallone’s third wife.
The actor’s second—and highly publicised—marriage was to model and actress Brigitte Nielsen, who was also 17 years his junior.