Scott Disick is reportedly dating Amelia Hamlin but the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star’s revolving love life isn’t the only news— their 18-year age difference has been dubbed “weird” and even “sickening” on social media.
Amelia, 19, the daughter of actor Harry Hamlin and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Rinna, has been linked to 37-year-old Disick since early November, reported E!, though the pairing is “very casual,” and “fun.” A source told the publication that Disick was primarily focused on raising his three children with Kourtney Kardashian.
The couple has not confirmed their relationship — much less defended it — however age-gap couples have always lured interest. In April, actress Florence Pugh, 24, equated the attention on her relationship with actor Zach Braff, 45, to “bullying,” French President Emmanuel Macron, 42, suggested that reactions to his marriage to Brigitte Trogneux, 67, were sexist and Dennis Quaid, 66, shrugs off questions about his marriage to Laura Savoie, 27. “I didn’t go out looking for an age gap or someone really younger than me…You have no control over who you fall in love with,” he told The Guardian last year.
And curiosity doesn’t wane when women skew younger — fascination with the romance between Sarah Paulson, 45, and Holland Taylor, 77, is “surreal,” Paulson explained in a New York Times interview; Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson, 53, once said entertaining opinions on her marriage to actor Aaron Johnson, 30, would make her “the unhappiest person.” While last year, Kate Beckinsale, then 46, told the Los Angeles Times, “I’m surprised by the interest” in her 20-year gap between her and ex-boyfriend Pete Davidson, then 25.
For all their fanfare, May-December relationships are boringly common. A January study by the Pew Research Center that examined global household living situations found that on average, women are younger than their husbands or domestic partners, regardless of religion, with larger age gaps in African countries and narrower fields in Europe, the U.S. and China.
Barry X. Kuhle, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Scranton, tells Yahoo Life there are varying theories for the attraction between people of different ages (older men value the biological promise of younger women; younger men appeal to older women looking to “capitalize” on their declining fertility). Still, our interest in May-December runs deep.
“We gossip about celebrities because their behavior activates our evolutionary mechanisms,” Kuhle says. “In the past, if you knew that many details about someone, it’s because you actually knew them — their behavior helped establish acceptable norms.”
According to Veronica Lamarche, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Essex, ingrained reactions to these pairings (“Ew, gross”) stem from gender stereotypes. “We often question whether the older partner is taking advantage of the younger one due to the societal and financial capital they’ve had time to collect,” she tells Yahoo Life. “In relationships, we’re sensitive to power imbalances.” And because we have limited information about celebrities, it’s easy to form opinions on their personal lives.
The longevity of age-gap couples is an area of study, but take word from the source. Alec Baldwin, 62, says despite the occasional parenting disagreement with wife Hilaria, 36, he “hit the jackpot” while Priyanka Chopra, 38, says husband Nick Jonas, 28, “grounds” her wild side, telling People, “I call him ‘Old Man Jonas.’”