Leading article: Love, actually?

Click to follow
The Independent Online

What does an age gap of a couple of decades matter when love strikes? The news that the founder of Playboy, Hugh Hefner, intends to wed a woman six decades his junior will bring a smile to some people's lips.

Others will cringe in disgust. Among these, the reports of Hugh's and Crystal's impending nuptials will be a cue to complain that such unequal unions tend to feature old men marrying young women, rather than the other way round, although there have been notable examples of the latter. The French singer Édith Piaf married a man 20 years her junior.

The most recent husband of the Hollywood star Zsa Zsa Gabor, number eight or nine, depending on whether we count an annulled marriage, is between two-and-a-half and three decades younger than his wife, depending on how old Ms Gabor actually is.

Overall, one can't but conclude that many more men than women have the opportunity to marry partners a generation or two younger than they are. What is the moral of the tale? None, beyond the fact that the institution of marriage retains its allure, thoughpossibly not always for reasons connected directly to love. It clearly helps if you have a vast amount of money. Beyond that, we wish Hugh and Crystal Harris well.