ARE INDIANS COOL WITH AN OLDER WIFE?
The 24-year age gap between the French president-elect and his wife draws attention to similar relationships
As the people of France rejoice over presidentelect Emmanuel Macron’s victory, a lot of eyes are on Brigitte Trogneux, his wife. The attention is neither for her political views nor her style; it’s for the fact that she’s 24 years older than her husband. In India, such a match would bring forth gasps — in a nation of arranged marriage, a wife older than her husband is rare. But celebs in this country have been chipping away at the mould.
Actor Abhishek Bachchan’s wife, actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, is two years older than him. Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar married Anjali Mehta when he was 22 and she 27. Filmmaker-actor Farhan Akhtar had a 15-year marriage with Adhuna Bhabani, six years his senior. Actor Soha Ali Khan is married to actor Kunal Kemmu, five years younger. Filmmaker Shirish Kunder is eight years younger than filmmaker wife Farah Khan. Actor Arjun Rampal is two years younger than his wife Mehr Jessia. Actor Bipasha Basu is three years older than husband Karan Singh Grover.
Evidently, men do fancy older women. Marriage counselor Shivani Sadhu says, “There are many reasons: it could be sexual compatibility or the maturity that comes with age. An older woman might also contribute more to the family income.”
Family members still do resist the idea. Dr Pulkit Sharma, clinical psychologist, recounts a fairly recent case where a 33-year-old man’s family had strong reservations about his 41-year-old fiancée, worrying that she wouldn’t be able to bear children. He says that even though acceptance is increasing, friction might still arise, and the male ego is a major factor. “It’s not taboo, yet it’s a rocky road,” he adds.
Psychologist Anil Sethi, himself married to a woman two years older, has a more positive view, saying, “Today, people are very open-minded. What matters is that [a couple] should be happy and comfortable with each other.”
It could be sexual compatibility or the maturity that comes with age SHIVANI SADHU, MARRIAGE COUNSELLOR
From top: Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan; Sachin and Anjali Tendulkar; Karan Singh Grover and Bipasha Basu