Until the early 2000s, most women hadn’t even considered moving backward a generation in their search for a partner, and if they did, their friends and the rest of society served them with a cool dish of disapproval. Then, the cougar craze peaked when couples like Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher became household names. Single women everywhere finally felt free to scope out younger men in their hunky hunt for love. Now, nearly a decade later, the publicity over cougars has slowed to a crawl and with the dissolve of the Kutcher-Moore marriage, some have been left to wonder if the phenomenon has passed. Newsflash: it hasn’t! The press may have moved on to newer stories, but these couples prove that women have been following their hearts, regardless of age, long before the cougar craze hit, and they’ll continue to do so long after:
1. Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon: Married April 30, 2008
With 11 years between them, this duo’s whirlwind romance proved to be more than a fling when Cannon placed a rock hard diamond on Carey’s hand. The birth of their twins in 2011 only solidified their union, and the pair shows no sign of slowing down.
Related: 10 Most Beautiful Celebrity Couples
2. Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman: Married April 11, 1996
Mrs. Wolverine slashed her way into sexy Hugh Jackman’s heart in the 90s, stepping over their 13 year age difference long before being a cougar was trendy. Fifteen years and two children later, Furness isn’t regretting her decision to ditch society’s sense of normalcy as the couple prepares to celebrate another anniversary in April.
3. Jennifer Lopez and Casper Smart: Together Since November 2011
After going through a very public divorce with music legend and ex-hubby Marc Anthony, Lopez has found happiness with her backup dancer Casper Smart. With an 18 year age difference causing a backlash of criticism, Lopez has taken to Twitter to fight back. She’s explained that ‘age is merely a “log” of the time we’ve been on Earth’ and that ‘society needs to shut their ears and open their hearts.’ With pictures surfacing of the two lovebirds enjoying their time together, it appears that this Bronx girl has certainly opened hers.
4. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell: Together Since 1983
With their story starting in 1983, this twosome demonstrates a classic case of love outlasting all obstacles. Other than their six year age difference, the couple overcame blending their families together (both had children from previous marriages) and rumors of Russell’s alleged infidelity. With a romance that’s lasted 25 years, we think Hawn is one of the the best examples of the longevity of a cougar’s love.
5. Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas: Married May 14, 1996
This adorable couple have been married for fifteen years, long since laughing off their three year age difference. While both have had successful acting careers, nothing has been more fulfilling than their relationship, marriage and child. While their age difference isn’t the most shocking, it appears as if these two would have hooked up no matter their ages.
Do you think the cougar phenomenon is over? If not, are you the cougar in a successful relationship? Tell us in a comment below.