The phenomenon of older men marrying far younger women is nothing new.
In medieval times men looked for fertile women who could produce children while women looked for strong muscular men who could protect them and provide for them by hunting animals. In modern times, men continue to covert beautiful women while traditional concepts of physical strength have been replaced by a culture where women look for security in terms of money and power. Marrying an older successful man is an easier way to a comfortable life. Even when women are successful professionals in their own right, they continue to seek partners who are more successful than them, even when they are older. Here is a list of ten famous men who married women much younger to them.
- Rupert Murdoch
In 1999 Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch split from his wife Anna after a marriage of 32 years and three children together. Anna’s settlement of $1.7 billion is believed to have included $110 million in cash and the rest in business as well as material assets. Barely seventeen days after his divorce, Murdoch tied the knot with the Chinese-born Wendy Deng who had been newly appointed as the Vice President of Murdoch’s Star TV network and was almost 38 years his junior. Anna in turn got married to investor William Mann some months later.
- Hugh Hefner
The man behind the Playboy enterprises has lived up to the implications of the brand and much more, with a series of women moving in and out of his life. After getting divorced from his first wife, Mildred Williams, in 1989 Hefner married Kimberley Conrad who was branded then as the Playmate of the Year. The two were separated by 32 years but that didn’t stop the couple from having two children and staying together for nine years. However things became sour soon after and after staying apart for eleven years they divorced in 2010.
- Fred Astaire
One of the most famous actors and performers of the yesteryears, Fred Astaire took as his second wife Robyn Smith, who at the time of the marriage was almost 45 years, his junior. He married Smith on June 24th 1980, having met her on the racing tracks since Smith was a jockey for Alfred G. Vanderbilt II. Astaire’s his first wife was Phyllis Livingstone Potter with whom he had a blissful twenty-one year old marriage till her death from lung cancer. Smith survived Astaire who died from pneumonia on June 22, 1987.
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- Pablo Picasso
One of the greatest painters of all times and the proponent of Cubist movement in art, Picasso also led a colorful romantic life. After a series of affairs and a marriage, Picasso fell for a model Jacqueline Roque who was more than forty-five years younger to him. Rose worked at the Madoura Pottery in Vallauris on the French Riviera, where Picasso made and painted ceramics. She became his lover and then his second wife in 1961. The two were together for the remainder of Picasso’s life.
Best known for his novel The Catcher in the Rye which attained cult status, J.D Salinger was as much marked by his reclusive nature as his attempts to find a soul mate who would share his ever-changing interests in alternative therapies and spirituality. After his marriage to Claire Douglas ended in divorce, he tried to find understanding with several women, one of who was Colleen O'Neill, a nurse and quiltmaker. O'Neill was around forty years his junior; the two were married in 1988 and remained so till Salinger’s death in 2010.
- Clint Eastwood
Famous Hollywood actor and director, Clint Eastwood has always been linked with a number of attractive women, both within and outside the entertainment industry. After a first marriage to Maggie Johnson which ended in a long-drawn divorce, Eastwood tied the knot a second time with Dina Ruiz, an anchorwoman 35 years his junior, whom he had first met when she interviewed him in 1993. The two got married on March 31, 1996, when Eastwood surprised her with a private ceremony at his home on the Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas.
- Nelson Mandela
World famous political personality and anti-apartheid activist, Nelson Mandela was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Mandela has received more than 250 awards over four decades, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. His personal life has been equally momentous with first marriage to Evelyn Ntoko Mase ending in painful divorce and his second marriage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, also an activist, ending in the midst of political and family discord. On his 80th birthday in 1998, Nelson Mandela got married for the third time to Graça Machel née Simbine, almost twenty-seven younger to him. She is the widow of Samora Machel, the former Mozambican president and ANC ally who was killed in an air crash 12 years earlier.
- Paul McCartney
Best known as being part of the hugely famous music band The Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney is a successful English musician, singer-songwriter and compose in his own right. After going through two marriages and several affairs, McCartney, almost seventy, married New Yorker Nancy Shevell, fifty-one in a civil ceremony at Old Marylebone Town Hall, London on 9 October 2011. The wedding was a "low-key affair" attended by a group of around 30 family and friends although it was extensively covered in the UK due to his massive fan following.
- Aristotle Onassis
Greek shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis married Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, on October 20, 1968. This was a second marriage for both and at the time Onassis was almost sixty while Jacqueline was thirty-nine.
- Warren Beatty
The famous American actor, producer, screenwriter and director is best remembered for his role as the legendary gangster in Bugsy. Beatty has around fourteen Academy Award nominations in his kitty, besides the award for Best Director in 1982 and another four Golden Globe Awards including the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Beatty married actress Annette Benning, 21 years his junior. Beatty and Benning share one of the most successful marriages in Hollywood, being married since 1992 and having four children together.