If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Leonardo DiCaprio, it’s that people love to hate an eyebrow-raising age gap.
While we obviously hate an age gap in which a woman is older than her male partner (mostly because we are encouraged to hate when women who have had the audacity to age exist in general), the majority of the exhausting age-gap discourse surrounding Leo and his ilk tends to fall on older men who date significantly younger women. In general, this narrative holds that the men in these relationships are predatory, mid-life-crisising creeps, their girlfriends are either helplessly preyed-upon victims or gold-digging bimbos, and these two people can’t possibly have anything in common.
Naturally, 72-year-old David Foster, who is nearly 35 years older than his wife, 37-year-old Katharine McPhee, is no stranger to these tired takes on his relationship. According to a recent People interview, the Grammy Award-winning music producer is “aware of the chatter, online and off, that surrounds his May-December relationship” with his wife, and could not be less bothered by it.
“People always make the reference with Kat and I with the age difference, but I’ve always said there’s so many things that can bring a marriage down, and age difference is just one of them,” he told People. After all, he added, “There’s so many things that can go wrong. We think we have it pretty together.”
Foster’s pragmatic, if slightly bleak, response to the age-gap shamers offers a refreshing perspective on the discourse, one that highlights one of the most overlooked counterarguments: age actually doesn’t matter in a relationship. Typically the defense of age-gap relationships argues that women, even very young ones dating significantly older men, are consenting adults who can make their own choices (which is true). But Foster’s take emphasizes the fact that age is really an objectively neutral factor in a relationship, one of many that may or may not cause problems.
Meanwhile, as others have pointed out, judgment or shame directed at couples with an age gap is actually inappropriate, if not reprehensible, arguably akin to shaming those who date outside their economic class. While age-gap shaming has become extremely common, especially in recent years, it’s mostly a lot of sexist, agist nonsense, and it’s kind of shocking that it’s still so widely accepted.
Whether an age gap is good or bad for a couple’s relationship is really none of anybody else’s business. Moreover, it’s just one of many, many factors that could cause a couple to crumble. Take it from a man who’s been divorced four times: there are plenty of other things that can go wrong.
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