Millions of people look up to celebrities as role models and look to them for inspiration and leadership. However, a few famous people have drawn attention to dating young people, igniting controversy. Some of these contentious relationships, regardless of whether they were mutual or involved in a power dynamic.
1. Woody Allen
Woody Allen has been the subject of controversy for so many years. This is mostly because not only dated Babi Christina Engelhardt when she was 16 and he was 41, but he also married his adopted daughter after she grew up. He also has a lot of adults dating minors in his movies.
2. Wilmer Valderrama
Wilmer famously dated Demi Lovato for a very long time. However, when they started their romance, Lovato was definitely underage.
3. Paul Walker
Had Walker been alive, he would be 49 and his girlfriend 33. There would have been no controversy in their relationship if it started at this point. But Walker was the same age as Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell now is when he started dating her, and she was 16 at the time. After his death, “she disappeared from the public eye to live a quiet life.”
4. Justin Gaston
Miley Cyrus, who was only 16 years old then, fell in love with Justin Gaston, who was 20 years old and a participant in her father’s reality show, Nashville Star. They went out together for nine months before breaking up in June 2009. Both have had successes in their careers since moving on.
5. Joe Madden
The rockstar began a romantic involvement with Hillary Duff, who was nine years younger than when he was only 25. They remained together until Duff reached 19. Although they were a high-profile Hollywood couple that many people enjoyed reading about, some were surprised by their age disparity. Their relationship lasted a couple of years.
6. Johnny Depp
Five months after their first date, Wynona Ryder and Johnny Depp became engaged. Depp even got a tattoo on his arm in her name that pledged forever. Their relationship ended in 1993.
7. Brad Pitt
After dating fictitiously on the TV series Dallas, Pitt and Shalane McCall transitioned the affair to real life. She was 15 — nine years younger than he was — at the time. They broke up after a year.
8. Jerry Seinfeld
“She’s a person, not an age,” was why the stand-up comedian had a high age-gap relationship with eventual fashion designer, 17-year-old Shoshanna Lonstein.
9. Jerry Lee Lewis
At 22, Lewis had a controversial marriage with his 13-year-old cousin Myra Gale Brown (now Myra Lewis Williams). This was his third marriage that lasted 13 years as Williams filed for divorce on the grounds of abuse.
10. Bill Wayman
The bassist caused an upheaval after it went public that he, at 47, was having an affair with a 13-year-old Mandy Smith, whom he eventually married when she was 18. Twenty years after their divorce, he still faces a backlash, with a film festival canceling two interviews with him due to the issue.
11. Don Johnson
Don Johnson, an actor, was 22 when he met 14-year-old Griffith on the set of her second movie in 1973. They started dating, and their union lasted six months, from January to July 1976. They reconciled again for another seven years in 1989 after her second marriage.
Not much is known about this romance, but Fergie, 23, dated Justin Timberlake, 17, before he got intense with Britney Spears.
13. Elvis Presley
When Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and Elvis Presley first spoke, he was 24, and she was 14. Elvis didn’t care about the age variance because he believed he could transform Priscilla into the woman of his dreams.
Priscilla initially felt comfortable going along with Elvis’ plan to mold her. However, she wanted more control of her life, which made their relationship unsustainable.
14. Caroline Flack
The most controversial of the lot, Flack was 14 years older than Harry Styles when they started the relationship. She initially dubbed it “playful” when Styles joked about his affinity for older women, and it seemed the age difference wasn’t an issue. Then it began going south after Flack met with hostilities in the form of name calls from critics.
15. René Angélil
While they were married over over 21 years until he unfortunately died due to cancer, but René Angélil met his wife of 21 years, Celine Dion when she was only 12 years old and he was 38. He was her manager, but the two claim they didn’t become a romantic couple until Dion turned 19.