May-December Marriage -- Marriage Age Difference

Some Prefer to Use the Term December-May Marriage

Couple embracing on beach, looking in to distance
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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.

May-December Relationships  

  • Wendi Deng and Rupert Murdoch. Rupert, +38. He filed for divorce in June 2013 after 14 years of marriage.
  • Wende and James Doohan. James, +37. Marriage ended when James died in 2005.
  • Courtney Stodden and Doug Hutchison. Doug, +35.
  • Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn. Woody, +35.
  • Clint and Dina Eastwood. Clint, +35. Marriage ended in divorce in December 2014 after 18 years of marriage.


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: