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May-December Marriage -- Marriage Age Difference

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Definition: Generally considered to be an unconventional choice, a May-December marriage is one in which one spouse is significantly older than the other spouse.

Significantly older is usually considered 11 years or more age difference.

"May" refers to the younger spouse in the spring of life, while "December" refers to the older spouse who is in what is described as the winter of life.

While most May-December marriages are generally accepted by society, now and then such a marriage creates a negative response. Some examples of marriages considered to be scandalous and controversial include Woody Allen's marriage to Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his previous wife and the second marriage of Anna Nicole Smith. The marriage of teenager Courtney Stodden to a man 35 years older had many wondering if the marriage was a publicity stunt to help her acting career.

Some May-December marriages that appear to be successful include Tony Bennett and Susan Crow, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, Mary Tyler Moore and Dr. Robert Levine, Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng, and Cindy and John McCain.

May-December Relationships -- Age Difference

Also Known As:
  • Age-discrepant unions
  • Age gap relationships
  • Trophy wife
  • Gold digging
  • Grave robbing

  • Robbing the cradle
  • Tadpoling
Alternate Spellings: December-May Marriage
Examples:
Here are more examples of May-December relationships:
Glossary

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