More Older Women Are Dating Younger Men in Hollywood, and I'm Here for It

Over the weekend Pete Davidson and Kate Beckinsale were spotted leaving a Los Angeles comedy club holding hands. In the paparazzi photo, seen above, Beckinsale, 45, with her open coat, knee-high boots, and sky-high ponytail, looks hot AF. Davidson, 25, leads the way in a graphic sweatshirt as a lollipop dangles from his mouth.

Nick Jonas, 26, put a ring on Priyanka Chopra, 36.

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The paparazzi shot called to mind another photo of Davidson, one from this summer that captured him with Ariana Grande as they left their then shared apartment. (This was before she said "Thank u, next" to their engagement.) In it, Grande wears an oversize sweatshirt with her signature thigh-high boots and sky-high ponytail, clasping hands with Davidson. They have matching lollipops. The photo spurred tons of memes, and quickly became one of 2018's most popular Halloween costumes.

But it also signified something greater: The pic seemed to kick off a sea change in celebrity coupledom. Grande and Davidson had just announced their engagement, after only about a month of dating, and were happily flaunting their newfound love and commitment to the world. Soon after, their peers started following suit. Justin Bieber popped the question to Hailey Baldwin, Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra made it official, and so on. As Glamour put it at the time, suddenly marriage and babies had become the new naked selfie.

Naomi Campbell, 48, isn’t the first older woman Liam Payne, 25, has dated. His ex, Cheryl Cole, was 10 years his senior.

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Davidson's first boo'd up candy-coated pic might have kicked off the summer of love, but his latest shot with Beckinsale is announcing the current trend in celebrity relationships: More women in Hollywood are dating much younger men. There's Beckinsale and Davidson and their 20-year age difference, of course. Meanwhile, Naomi Campbell, 48, is reportedly getting it on with One Direction–er Liam Payne, 25. This Is Us star Chrissy Metz, 38, is dating Hal Rosenfeld, a 25-year-old composer. Kourtney Kardashian, 39, may or may not be seeing Luka Sabbat, the 21-year-old Grown-ish star. And, as previously mentioned, Chopra, 36, and Jonas, 26, recently tied the knot.

Chrissy Metz, 38, and her boyfriend, Hal Rosenfeld, 25, tear up the red carpet.

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Older women with younger beaux is even becoming more normalized on television. In this season of Grace and Frankie, for example, Jane Fonda, 81, has a love interest in Peter Gallagher, 63. This is, of course, only a recent example—I have to hat-tip Golden Girls for pairing Blanche Devereaux with a much younger aerobics instructor all the way back in 1985. We're breaking age barriers in politics too: French President Emmanuel Macron's wife, Brigitte, is 24 years his senior, and they're nothing short of couple goals.

People on Twitter are here for all of it. "Pete Davidson and Kate Beckinsale hooking up is foreshadowing how dope 2019 is going to be. Let’s go," said one user. Another said, "I was not aware of Priyanka and Nick Jonas’ age difference until today and while before I didn’t particularly care about this couple I am in full Shakira-Pique support. GET IT LADIES."

What's even more surprising, given the garbage fire of hate that often comes with social media commentary? There's very little outrage about their age differences. In the past we might have seen countless tweets and think pieces questioning what these men could possibly see in an older woman. Now, though, the narrative has shifted: People are valuing these relationships for what they really are—a hot, successful woman at the top of her game getting her life. People may have criticized the overt spon-con of Chopra and Jonas' wedding, but nobody batted an eye at their age gap. In all the fanfare around Beckinsale and Davidson, people are only questioning why she'd be into him.

Studies say women don't hit their sexual peak until they turn 36—why the hell wouldn't these dudes want to get in on that?

It hasn't always been this way. In the past, society gave men like actor Jason Statham, 51, a pat on the back for dating Victoria Secret's model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, 31. Or praised Michael Douglas, 74, for landing Catherine Zeta-Jones, 49. But do you remember the backlash when the OGs of this trend, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, first began dating in 2009? It shocked the world. "People made such a fuss about it you would have thought the world had never seen it before," Moore once said of the public fascination. "Age wasn't what I was thinking about, but to the rest of the world, it was a very big deal."

Kourtney Kardashian, 39, is the patron saint of dating below her age bracket. Luka Sabbat, her current fling, is 21. Scott Disick is 35. Her ex Younes Bendjima is 25.

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It's 2019. Women are running for president in spades, taking back our power in Hollywood, and fully owning our sexuality. Isn't it time to change the fact that women in Hollywood are told they've "peaked" at 30, while men age like a fine wine? Who knows, maybe more women dating a pretty young thing can change that mind-set. I mean, I'd love to watch a rom-com in which recent red-carpet BFFs Glenn Close and Timothée Chalamet (also known as Glennothée) fall madly in love. The more we honor these women as the sexy and powerful figures they are—whether it's by respecting their desirability to younger men or simply validating their right to exist onscreen—the better off we'll all be. In the meantime, I'll just be here, setting my age limits on Bumble back by a few years.

Published at Tue, 05 Feb 2019 22:00:00 +0000