Age Ain't Nothing But a Number

A retrospective of love connections between older women and younger men.
ESSENCE.COM Sep, 24, 2008

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Chart-topper Mariah Carey got hitched to music executive Tommy Mottola, who was 2O years her senior and signed the Long Island, New York, vocal powerhouse when she was 18. In 1998, the two split and it was Carey’s turn to rob the cradle. One of her first young studs was New York Yankees star Derek Jeter, who was five years her junior. Despite the quick fizzle of their relationship, the pop singer’s affinity for younger men did not. Earlier this year, 39-year-old Carey shocked the world when she and actor–rapper Nick Cannon, 27, married after a whirlwind romance.

- Charreah Jackson

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After three years of marriage, Hollywood star Halle Berry, 42, filed for divorce from singer Eric Benét. The following year she brought to life Zora Neale Hurston’s novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God” on the small screen and, like her character, fell for a younger man—her costar Michael Ealy. The two dated briefly. In 2006, the Oscar-winning actress began dating model Gabriel Aubry, who is ten years her junior. Berry and Aubry welcomed a baby girl in March.

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Lately actress Sanaa Lathan has been living like a princess with her real-life prince charming. For the past two years, “The Family That Preys” star has been with 31-year-old boyfriend Adewale Ogunleye, a Nigerian royal, NFL player and ESSENCE’s 2007 Do Right Man of the Year. Unfazed by their six-year age difference, Lathan says what she appreciates most about him is his “activism in uplifting his community.”

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What began as an assignment to upgrade Usher’s style became an uncommon love story for celebrity stylist Tameka Foster, 37, and the 29-year-old pop phenom. Friends first, the two developed a bond and shared relationship advice. Eventually their love blossomed and they married in September 2007 before welcoming their first child, Usher “Cinco” Raymond V, in November of that same year. The couple is now expecting their second baby together.