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The Hollywood Age Gap

While age differences have always existed in relationships, today we will look at significant age gaps between co-stars in blockbuster movies. Does art imitate life? Are these preferences rooted in nature or nurture? That’s up to you to decide, for now, enjoy some surprising examples of chronological disparity in Hollywood.

Stick around, for some extra information and statistics at the end of this article.

10) Love Actually — 12 years apart

Still from the movie Love actually

Universal Pictures

Age Gap: 12 years
Keira Knightley’s Age: 18
Andrew Lincoln’s Age: 30
Movie Release Date: 14 November 2003

Love Actually is a Christmas rom-com that follows 8 couples during the month before Christmas in London as they juggle love, their lives, and as many movie clichés you can stuff into a 2-hour movie. What's slightly more shocking is that at 18 years old, Keira Knightley was just 5 years older than the character played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Liam Neeson's child) in the movie.

9) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — 14 years apart

Still from the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Focus Features

Age Gap: 14 years
Kate Winslet’s Age: 28
Jim Carrey’s Age: 42
Release Date: 19 March 2004

After a harrowing emotional journey, the question plaguing everyone is whether you would ever want to erase your own memories, painful as they may be. Many critics have labeled Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind a rare, explorative, and clever sci-fi film with enough romance and drama to make you forget it’s science fiction. And despite the 14-year age gap between Winslet and Carrey, the movie is a testament to their strong chemistry on set.

8) When Harry Met Sally — 14 years apart

Still from the movie When Harry Met Sally

Castle Rock Entertainment

Age Gap: 14 years
Meg Ryan’s Age: 27
Billy Crystal’s Age: 41
Movie Release Date: 21 July 1989

As college graduates, Harry and Sally argued whether men and women could be strictly platonic friends. A decade later, they attempt to stay friends without sexuality becoming an issue between them. The film is recognized for its witty dialogue, strong performances, and realistic portrayal of relationships. Even more surprising than their failing platonic relationship is their 14-year age gap.

7) Silver Linings Playbook — 15 years apart

Still from the movie Silver Linings Playbook

The Weinstein Company

Age Gap: 15 years
Jennifer Lawrence’s Age: 22
Bradley Cooper’s Age: 37
Release Date: 25 December 2012

In Silver Linings Playbook, Pat tries to win over his ex-wife after an embarrassing stunt in a mental institution but is challenged after meeting the oh-so-mysterious Tiffany, who has enough baggage of her own. While filming, the two had a staggering age gap, at the time of release Jennifer Lawrence was 22, and Bradley Cooper was 37. 

6) Casino — 15 years apart

Still from the movie Casino

Universal Pictures

Age Gap: 15 years
Sharon Stone’s Age: 37
Robert De Niro’s Age: 52
Movie Release Date: 22 November 1995

Casino is a fantastic portrayal of what becomes of greedy and power-hungry people, namely two best friends, a casino executive and a mafia enforcer. As Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci compete for control over a gambling empire, Sharon Stone's love is also on the table, who at the date of release, was 15 years younger than both of her male counterparts.

5) Casablanca — 16 years apart

Still from the movie Casablanca

Warner Bros.

Age Gap: 16 years
Ingrid Bergman’s Age: 27
Humphrey Bogart’s Age: 43
Release Date: 23 January 1943

Casablanca is a war film that fits its time with its varying tropes and clichés with sexism mixed in and the two love interests being 16 years apart. The film has been somewhat controversial over the decades, but at the time of its release, it accurately captured the spirit of its time.

4) The Wolf of Wall Street — 16 years apart

Still from the movie The Wolf of Wall Street

Red Granite Pictures

Age Gap: 16 years
Margot Robbie’s Age: 23
Leonardo DiCaprio’s Age: 39
Movie Release Date: 25 December 2013

Margot Robbie, 23 at the movie's release, and Leonardo DiCaprio, 39, starred in The Wolf of Wall Street, loosely based on Jordan Belfort’s life. The story of a greedy, corrupt stockbroker who was eventually imprisoned for his crimes, critics claim that the movie is as shameless as it is illuminating. After all, a life of crime isn't exhilarating to everyone.

3) Carol — 16 years apart

Still from the movie Carol

The Weinstein Company

Age Gap: 16 years
Rooney Mara’s Age: 30
Cate Blanchett’s Age: 46
Release Date: 15 January 2016

Set in 1950s New York, Carol follows a young photographer who develops a more than friendly relationship with an older woman. However, there are a few obstacles: it’s the 1950s, one is married, and the other has a boyfriend. Despite the 16-year age gap between Mara and Blanchett, they present a passionate yet forbidden affair as they discover the true cost of their actions.

2) Pretty Woman — 18 years apart

Still from the movie Pretty Woman

Touchstone Pictures

Age Gap: 18 years
Julia Roberts’ Age: 22
Richard Gere’s Age: 40
Movie Release Date: 23 March 1990

Pretty Woman is an iconic rom-com; a rags-to-riches story of a prostitute who meets a kindhearted businessman and their inevitable falling in love with each other. The movie is known for its strong performances, comedic moments, and also a heart-warming story. At the time, Roberts was 22, and Gere was 40.

1) The Fifth Element — 21 years apart

Still from the movie The Fifth Element


Age Gap: 21 years
Milla Jovovich Age: 21
Bruce Willis’ Age: 42
Release Date: 9 May 1997

In The Fifth Element, Milla Jovovich was just 21 years old, while her co-star, Bruce Willis, was 42 years old. An innovative and gripping sci-fi classic, it’s hard to ignore the glaringly obvious gap between both of them. What makes this all better is that Jovovich babysat for Willis and his wife at the time, Demi Moore, so they could have date nights.


For this article, we analyzed 50 movies and their cast members, most of them in the Romance genre and ranging from Casablanca (1943) to A Star is Born (2018).

All ages represent the artist's age at the time of release and the average age gap between co-stars was 5.9 years, with a median of 7 years. The average male lead age was 34.1 years old while the female lead age was 28.2 years.

Reverse examples of the age gap are Slumdog Millionaire (2008) with Dev Patel being 6 years younger than Freida Pinto, and Grease (1978) in which Olivia Newton-John was 5 years older than John Travolta.

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