Plenty of straight men—especially famous straight men—have wives that are decidedly their juniors: Harrison Ford is 22 years older than Calista Flockhart, Michael Douglas is 25 years older than Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Clint Eastwood is a whopping 35 years older than his ex-wife.George Clooney’s paramours, too, have waxed ever younger over the years.The reasons for a gay age gap are as varied as the couple.For some, it’s about finding stability and maturity.
In the media, the couple’s age gap has been treated less like a scandal and more like a spectacle, with headlines predictably highlighting Spencer’s youth.
Cooper had to put up with some gentle ribbing when he started dating Waterhouse but now that Fry has come out as the fiancé of a 27-year-old, he has to face down a half century of sedimented sexual suspicion.
No one has to outright call him a pedophile for the old myths about gay men to do their work, they just have to not call his relationship “the sweetest celebrity couple ever” and 50 years of conservative scare tactics will do the heavy lifting anyway.
The major outlets have remained more or less respectful beyond these gawking headlines but, as the Advocate reports, tabloid and entertainment sites have taken a more sensationalistic approach which has only been amplified by their comments sections, where people have been calling Fry a “pedophile,” a “pervert,” and a “dirty old man.” As for Spencer, the British tabloid that leaked the news referred to him as a “toyboy,” which, to be honest, would make a great novelty license plate for the Aston Martin that Fry lent him if he’s ever in the mood to reclaim the insult.
If it’s not obvious by now, the outsized reaction to Fry and Spencer’s age gap is deeply homophobic.