A couple who fell madly in love despite having nearly six decades between them say they now want to have children.
Funeral director Alexis Tadlock, 24, from Sheridan, Arkansas first set eyes on her husband Charles Tadlock, 79 when he attended the same church she did with his wife Kathy.
After Kathy, 77, tragically passed away in September 2017 from lung disease, Alexis said she quickly saw how lonely Charles had become – so the pair started chatting and became good friends.
Love quickly blossomed and by October 2018, Charles had proposed.
The couple say their unusual relationship dynamic does mean people automatically assume he’s her grandfather and that they’re desperate to have children so a part of him will live on when he dies.
After nearly a year of getting to know each other, funeral director Alexis said she began developing feelings towards retired school principal Charles – despite the fact he was 55 years her senior.
And Alexis said she was over the moon when she learnt her new beau felt the same way and popped the question in October 2018 – with the loved-up pair getting married just two months later.
Although the newlyweds said they have copped some backlash due to their over half-century age gap, they are happier than ever – and even want to have kids.
Alexis said: ‘We first met back at church when he used to attend with his wife, Kathy. She and I were good friends, and I was very sad when she passed away.
‘I never had much to do with Charles, but one day I saw him sitting alone at church and he was crying.
‘I went to comfort him, and we talked for ages. We became good friends after that, and we would go do things together and just hang out.
‘Eventually, I think we became dependent on each other and my feelings really started to grow the more time we spent together.
‘But I never thought anything could happen between us. I tried to set him up with an older lady, but he flat out refused to even go on a date.
‘Then he asked whether I wanted to go meet a younger guy. But I just couldn’t imagine ever leaving him and finding a younger man.
‘One day, he told me how much he missed me. I asked him if he ever felt that way towards anyone else, and he said, ‘only my wife’.
‘We admitted our feelings towards each other, and our relationship just blossomed from there. I was over the moon when he popped the question and we got married just two months later.
‘He is the best husband I ever could have asked for and we love each other deeply. We’re very happy.’
Alexis said that when she first told her family and friends about her engagement, there were ‘mixed reactions’ – and while most were happy for them, she said others were ‘totally against it’.
The young woman added that she never lets she and her husband’s 55-year age gap deter them from public displays of affection – but said this can attract stares from strangers.
Alexis said: ‘When I told people about Charles and I getting married, a lot of my friends said if he made me happy then I should go for it.
‘Most were very supportive, but I did have some people who did not agree with it at all. They became very hateful towards me.
‘Usually people think I’m his granddaughter. Or they’ll think I’m his nurse or carer.
‘I am generally the one that tells people that we’re married, and often they don’t really know what to say. They look very shocked.
‘We don’t make a big deal about it. A lot of people in age gap relationships feel that they can’t hold hands or stay close to each other because of what others will think.
‘But we don’t act any differently in public. I’ll kiss his cheek and we’ll hold hands.
‘I’ll lay my head on him and just act like no one is there. I really don’t care what others think.’
Alexis revealed that she does feel sad at times as she knows her husband is likely to die before she will – but said that having a baby with Charles would be a way to ‘keep a part of him’ with her forever.
And although Alexis said her desire to have kids with Charles – who will turn 80 in August – has sparked some cruel backlash, she has not let it stop them from trying – and added that she has always wanted to be a mother.
She said: ‘A lot of people get angry because they assume that Charles can not give me children due to his age.
‘But that is not true at all. We’ve gone for tests, and it’s actually me that has some fertility issues that we’re working on.
‘We want to have a baby. I’ve been told I’m selfish if I have a child with him because they might grow up without a dad.
‘But when he dies, I’ll have nothing of him. I need something from him to carry with me throughout the rest of my life.
‘There is no other place I’d rather be right now and there is no one in this world I’d rather be married to.
‘Charles treats me better than any guys I’ve dated in their 20s. He has old-fashioned values and is a true gentleman.
‘He is the best partner and is perfect for me. There is not one thing about him that I would change.
‘We love each other deeply and make each other happy every day. That’s all the matters.’
Charles, who has two grown up children aged 48 and 54, said: ‘There are some old people that have young souls, and some young people that have old souls.
‘I feel much younger on the inside. The age difference doesn’t affect our marriage. No matter how old you are, everyone still needs love.’