Queerty Exclusive

Sam Stanley talks wedding plans and what it’s like being in love with a man 34 years his senior

Former English Sevens star Sam Stanley made headlines earlier this year when he announced on Instagram that he had been in a relationship with a man named Laurence Hicks for the past seven years. Not just that, but they recently got engaged. And, oh yeah, Laurence is a few years decades older than him:

Queerty had a chance to chat with the May/December love birds, who currently run a luxury B&B in Sicily called Casa Piccolo Paradiso, about their relationship, the challenges of being in an intergenerational relationship, people’s response to their surprise engagement announcement, and their future wedding plans.

Check out what they had to say…

QUEERTY: How did you guys meet? And when did you first become a couple?

SAM: We met online on a site called silverdaddies.com. For me, it was love at first sight. I was only 18 at the time and I just fell in love pretty much straight away. I couldn’t tell you what it was but for me something just felt right. We had our troubles and even some breaks in between but we kept on being drawn back to one another. Laurence missed me!

How many years apart are you in age? And how do people typically respond when they learn you are a couple?

SAM: There is a 34 year gap between us. I think people are obviously shocked at first because it’s different from the norm. However, once they get to know us and see us together their opinion normally changes. You can’t blame people’s reaction because, growing up, you only learn about sex between a man and woman in sex education classes, so not only do we break the stereotype by being gay but also because of our difference in one of us liking older chubby men and the other younger fitter boys.

LAURENCE: There is a huge difference in reaction by different people. Some are probably afraid to say what they really think to our faces, but we don’t really worry about what people think because we are happy together. People who spend time with us as a couple totally get it. They see how we are with each other and how we behave together.

Do gay people respond differently than straight people?

SAM: I think if you’d caught the reaction to our engagement online most of the hate was from other gay people. That surprises me quite a lot with what gay people alone have to go through in terms of being judged. There’s a hell of a lot of judgement just within the gay community.

LAURENCE: Younger gay guys who are obviously not into generational relationships don’t get it at all, particularly the difference in body size. Funnily enough, most of our straight friends are very comfortable with it. We both know the intergenerational thing is not everyone’s cup of tea, but please don’t judge either of us without really knowing us or appreciating the love we have for each other and the joy we bring to each others lives.

Sam, have you always been into older guys and/or bears?

SAM: Yes I have always been attracted to older bigger guys and I really have no idea why. But that’s OK! It just is what it is and for me I’ve accepted that.

Laurence, Sam has never been shy about taking his clothes off for the camera and sharing risque photos on Instagram. How do you feel about all that? Did it take some getting used to? 

LAURENCE: I have to confess the first time Sam did the photoshoot for Gay Times, I was a little upset that he was exposing himself so publicly even though I fully supported the cause that incentivized him to participate, which was to raise awareness about Prostrate Cancer.

To be honest, I wasn’t ready to share so much of the guy I loved with everyone and the thought that a number of people would be drawling over his pictures provided some gut wrenching moments. However, it became clear that Sam was fully comfortable with it all and I realized that it was something I had to accept and over a period of time, I guess I’ve just gotten used to it.

What are some of the greatest challenges about being in an intergenerational relationship?

SAM: I think even after the last few years of coming out and then being so open about our relationship and not having to worry what people think, we’ve now moved to Sicily to a small town where it’s a little like going back in time and Laurence seems a little unsure of telling some people as he’s worried about what they think.

LAURENCE: The age difference can present a number of challenges to the relationship, but thekey to success is to try and forget that there is such a difference and maintain a level playing field in as much of our day to day lives as possible. In any relationship, whether intergenerational or otherwise, there will be cultural, academic, etc. differences between partners who come from different backgrounds and environments. Learning about one another is all part of the building of a relationship and dealing with the age difference is just another to add to the list. There is nothing paternal about our relationship, as we see each other for who and what we are and not, as some might think, a father/son scenario.. 

What do you think is the key to a successful intergenerational relationship?

SAM: Love & compassion :) simples!!!

LAURENCE: Be as equal in your day to day lives as possible and don’t worry about the math. Focus on what attracts you to each other and the experiences and memories and life you build together!

When’s the wedding? Where will it be? How are plans coming along? 

SAM: Ha! There have been no wedding plans as yet. The move to Sicily and change of life has been challenging enough and been a lot to deal with. I assume it’ll be back in London but we’ll see what happens. Possibly next year or year after.

Photo credits: Sam Stanley/Instagram

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  • John

    I to am dating someone twice my age, its not easy and we both don’t have a lot of money, the town we live in its scary to even wear are rings in public. I hope one day we end up in California watching the ocean, all we can do is try, but I do understand what your going through.

    • ChrisK

      I think it’s different when you’re both of a mature age. However, he met him when he was a teenager and they felt they had to lie to people about their relationship. More a fetish. Like I said. Good for them.

  • ChrisK

    Since they met on silver daddies one was looking for a grandpa and the other a kid.

  • ChrisK

    Last complaint is for Queerty. God find some normal mature couples instead of this freak parade. They do exist!

    • JoeyRamone

      who gives a shit. good for them. Wtf is “normal” anyway? (Many peeps think anyone gay is not “normal”; the word is such b.s., and mostly used as a weapon.)

    • Heywood Jablowme

      But we’re reading it. In journalism terms: “Dog bites man” isn’t usually news that people will read.

      “Man bites dog” (i.e. “freak show” as you put it) is news that people will read. Even you did. And you’re a “normal” blue person!

    • dwes09

      Your comment identifies you as clearly the freak here. Judgmental, small minded and backwards. Normal folks like to see others happy, not label them as fetishes or freaks!

  • rephello

    What a beautiful story. Great reporting Queerty! I find this kind of love story… you know the kind with big challenges…the odds are against them kind…. very inspiring. Congratulations Sam and Laurence and blessings on your future. I was glad to discover exiting my 40s that there were younger men MORE interested in me than I was young. It was a tremendous healing to date and play with younger men. I’m open to a relationship with such a broad spectrum of different types of men. I’ve met young men of tremendous quality and spirit and I’ve met older men similarly… all the men I’ve met have made me want to be a better man myself, and that perhaps has been the greatest gift of not having too many culturally programmed limits.

  • jimw1

    This article was a breath of fresh air for me. I am 65 years old and I have a very dear person who is 27 years my junior who I would like to take the relationship to the next level. Age has always been a concern for me. I understand what everyone says about”forget about the age number” etc. While that is good, there is also something we cannot change, and that is longevity. My concern I have always had is what am I setting this person up for. I mean I am 65, and face it – I probably have maybe 20-25 years left before the clock runs out. What that is going to do it put my potential husband in the spot I am. 60-65 years old and not only single, but a widow(er). My concern is that I am not being fare to him. I would love to know what Sam and Laurence think about that – or have they addressed that issue?

    • JamJewel

      Just remember the famous May/December romances like Don and Christopher Isherwood and keep on living. Your boyfriend is probably as aware of the issues and challenges so stop adding your pressures to your relationship or get out of it before you drive him insane with it.

  • MrEguy

    The age difference isn’t a problem for me, however, the older guy being morbidly obese is not attractive at all.

    • mhoffman953

      I agree. The age thing isn’t a big deal, it’s more about the vastly different appearance in their body types which makes people wonder why the fit, athletic, attractive guy would be sexually interested in the fat, out of shape, gross looking guy.

    • money718

      Good point.

    • Griff_Greymuzzle

      So his body isn’t one YOU like, big deal. Still doesn’t give you the right to judge the relationship. They found love. There are far too many of us who don’t know what that feels like to cast disparaging remarks on someone who has…

    • Captain Obvious

      Grooming at a young age or the younger guy has an outlandish fetish this Jabba fulfilled before literally anyone else.

  • Brian

    I think queer people are a little bit lucky – Other people already think who we are is outside “the norm,” so there are fewer expectations for our relationships. It’s not assumed that we will marry, have children, etc. We’re more free to be who we want to be. No one should mind that this couple has an age gap!

    • Xzamilloh

      I think it’s more of the visual than it is the age gap.

    • WindsorOntario

      The problem with that is most queer men don’t want each other. While straight people have 92-95% of the population to choose from, look what we have! Lots of judgmental, rude, perfectionist gay guys who will only accept/love/show affection for you under conditions (you must have a perfect body, you must have a graduate degree, you must have money, you must have etc) so while we are free to do a lot of things in absence of children and other things, the expectations placed on us by EACH OTHER has quite literally ruined a lot of gay mens’ lives. There are far more gay men today dying of suicide than AIDS. And that’s because most of us worked so hard to come out and stay healthy to live only to find a community where you are absolutely on your own. Ironically that’s even more true if you live in a big city with lots of gay men. Unless you stand out and are in demand, most of these men want nothing to do with you. There is a permanent hunt for the youngest, the best looking, the wealthiest and the most accomplished.

      I don’t feel lucky at all. I feel like I was duped and wasted my life coming out. And I feel ripped off – no kids, no relationships, nobody to date, and very few gay men are even able to be a friend to another gay man. It’s this borderline personality disorder that is so apparent within the community.

  • n1spirit

    It doesn’t surprise me in the least that most of the judgment of their relationship has come from those among the gay community. As a 54-year old gay man, I’ve seen a hell of a lot of judgment from our community; bitter, spiteful and unhappy queens who feel the need to put down others in order to lift themselves up. I’ve read the comments from at least one of them right here on this page. (Ears burning, ChrisK? They should be. Grow up already; your insecurities are showing.)

    Honestly, it’s off-putting for anyone with any semblance of values, who understands that “it takes all kinds” in this world.

    • Griff_Greymuzzle

      SO MUCH THIS. I’ll never understand why we, as a community, see someone happy and have to tear them down. So many times we say “If you don’t want a gay marriage, don’t get one” to our detractors. I think it applies to the community in this case: So YOU don’t want a silver daddy, don’t date one. But quit shitting on someone who found love, no matter what package it comes in…

  • Billy Budd

    I am kind of a young daddy type and I would love to have sex with a beautiful athlete such as Sam. Now heading to silverdaddies!

  • DCguy

    2 quotes from the article.

    1. Sam: I think if you’d caught the reaction to our engagement online most of the hate was from other gay people. That surprises me quite a lot with what gay people alone have to go through in terms of being judged.

    2. Laurence: Funnily enough, most of our straight friends are very comfortable with it.


    Odd, they’re comparing the reactions of straight people they are friends with, to strangers on the internet. Uh, yeah, your friends are OF COURSE going to have nicer responses. Additionally, how do they know that the the people on the internet are gay unless the comments are coming from gay sites, in which case straight people aren’t likely to be on there to comment.

    And lastly, it isn’t lgbt people trying to make their relationship illegal or take away their civil rights. So I think that part of it is kind of off base.

    Other than that, glad they found each other, glad their happy, glad the relationship is strong, blah blah blah.

  • Mykey

    The guys are happy, so what? Good luck, fellas…

  • barkomatic

    I’m glad that the relationship has worked out for them. Everyone gets to decide for themselves what type of adult they are attracted to. If there wasn’t so much shame and judgment about who should be with whom then in general us gay guys would be a lot more happy as I think people miss relationship opportunities because of it.

    I have to admit I have a self esteem issue when it comes to younger guys. I like to feel as attractive as my partner when in a relationship, but if I were with a hot young athlete I definitely wouldn’t feel that way. Clearly, that’s my hangup and I’m glad this isn’t an issue for this couple.

  • queerjubu

    I’m a 64 year old man in a relationship with a 26 year old man — and we’ve been together for 4 years now. When people learn about our relationship they project the usual preconceptions onto us: Daddy/Son, Sugardaddy/Gigolo, Dirty Old Man and Broken Child…you name it. It makes some people uncomfortable. And that’s their issue.

    Every relationship has its challenges. The work of opening to ever deeper intimacy is terrifying at any age. And rewarding beyond measure. I certainly didn’t expect this relationship. And like everything in life, I take it one day at a time, with gratitude for the courage and vulnerability my partner is willing to share. He’s an inspiration to me. As I am to him.

    As a gay man who participated in the early activist groups of the late 60s and early 70s, and who survived a plague that took many of my friends and lovers, I couldn’t care less about the uninformed judgment of others. As Ru Paul says, how you gonna love somebody else if you don’t love yourself.

    And as the millennials say, haters gonna hate. I hope that prejudice doesn’t blind them to the many possibilities for love in their lives. But then, as the “no this, no that” crowd on the apps show, there are always those who haven’t done the internal work than can make being queer a spiritual gift. My heart aches for our community sometimes.

    Peace out.

  • SafetyHarborCpl

    You can almost hear the thousands of single gay men saying to themselves, “I can’t get a guy to go on a second date and this older, heavy man lands a hot, fit younger guy to not only date – but MARRY – WTF!” Why? Well, it’s clear that these two MEN accepted who they are (inside and out) and what kind of person they were attracted to (inside and out).

    Seems that old saying still applies to this very day, “There’s someone out there for everyone” I would add to that “If you’re honest with yourself, love yourself and don’t change who you are for what you THINK you want – or think you want other’s to THINK YOU ARE.”

    Love, true love, is a decision. Clearly, these two men have embraced who they are and who they are attracted to and want to build a long-term, committed relationship with.

    Good on ya both!

  • silveroracle

    Congratulations to the happy couple.
    I hope the relationship is a long and extremely joyful one.

  • Mirek

    Its not the age difference, its the amount of ugly fat between them…..

    • Doug

      Sounds like you’ve got some body issues of your own, Mirek.

  • Kangol

    They’re both consenting adults, they’re happy and they’re in love, so what’s the big deal? Why all the bitter, negative, nasty comments? Good for them, and may they be happy with each other for as long as they’re together!

  • joeboyle49


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