Nineteen-year-old Tom Daley — who recently lost his 40-year-old father to cancer — is reportedly dating 39-year-old Dustin Lance Black, and mouths are wagging about their 20-year age difference. “Creepy,” “cute,” “hot,” “strange,” and even “dangerous” were just a few of the adjectives used to describe the May/December relationship.
It’s no secret that intergenerational romances are common practice, especially in the gay community, where there are fewer social barriers to dating outside your own peer group. We, in fact, find them kind of sexy.
Here’s a look at seven high profile gay couples who have engaged in May/December relationships — some more successfully than others.
Scroll down to see the list…
Matt Bomer and Simon Halls
36-year-old Matt Bomer and 49-year-old Simon Halls prove that, despite what sneering cynics say, May/December relationships are often successful. Halls was Bomer’s publicist before the two men got together. Today they are married with three children.
Michael Kors and Lance LePere
Fashion superstar Michael Kors married his intern-turned-boyfriend Lance LePere in New York in 2011. LePete is 12-years younger than the wealthy designer. The couple met in 1990, and were a couple for over 20 years before officially tying the knot.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita
Despite a 10-year age difference, actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and lawyer Justin Mikita have managed to make it work. After being together for two years, the ginger-haired TV star and his beau made it official and were married in New York last summer.
Calvin Klein and Nick Gruber
Of course, every now and then May/December relationships fail. Badly. Such was the case for 71-year-old fashioned designer Calvin Klein and 22-year-old boy toy Nick Gruber. The pair met back in 2010 and embarked on a public, drama-laced (mostly on Gruber’s part) relationship before splitting up when Gruber checked into rehab for cocaine addiction.
Liberace and Scott Thorson
While we’re on the subject of doomed May/December relationships, the one that takes the martini is that of Liberace and his younger male lover Scott Thorson. The pair met back in 1976, when Thorson was just 16. They engaged in a turbulent on-again, off-again 10-year romance that involved drugs, alcohol, bad plastic surgery, and other methods of self-destruction.
After Liberace’s death, Thorson released a tell-all book. Earlier this year HBO broadcast Behind the Candelabra, a movie version of the cautionary tale that starred Michael Douglas at Liberace and Matt Damon as Thorson.
Noel Coward and Graham Payne
While we’re on the subject of May/December romances of yesteryear, English playwright/composer Noel Coward first met performer Graham Payne in 1932. Payne was 14 when he was cast as a boy soprano in 33-year-old Coward’s Words and Music. After the show closed, the two remained in touch, with Payne becoming Coward’s protégé. In the mid-1940s they became lovers for more than 30 years, until Coward’s death.
Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy
Another famous May/December relationship of yesteryear is British novelist Christopher Isherwood and portrait artist Don Bachardy. The couple met appropriately on Valentine’s Day in 1953. Isherwood was 48 at the time; Bachardy was 18. Despite the 30-year age difference, the men remained together for 33 years, until Isherwood’s death in 1986.
Here’s to hoping for the happiness, not to mention creative inspiration, of the Black-Daly duo.