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Couples Counselor Explains Why Leonardo DiCaprio Only Dates Women Under 25-Years-Old

Photo: Kathy Hutchins / Denis Makarenko / Everett Collection / Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock
Blake Lively, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gisele Bundchen, Camila Morrone

Amongst the many memes, jokes and snarky tweets about Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest breakup, there is an important debate brewing about age gaps in relationships and the dynamics they create.

Reports about DiCaprio’s split from model-turned-actress Camila Morrone hit the presses less than three months after she celebrated her 25th birthday — an age that has long been speculated to be a cut-off point for DiCaprio’s girlfriends.

DiCaprio has never been linked to a woman who is older than 25, and the only time he dated a woman close to his age was model Gisele Bündchen from 2000 to 2005.

DiCaprio was 26, and Bündchen was 20 when they first began dating.

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The 47-year-old keeps getting older, inevitably, but his girlfriends remain the same age.

This has been documented in a now-infamous chart tracking his confirmed and rumored flings with young, often blonde, women over the years.

In a post-MeToo world, the idea of one of Hollywood’s most successful men constantly dating young models in the early stages of their careers – and adult lives – no longer has the same glossy finish that it once possessed back in the days of tabloid magazine spreads dedicated to guessing who DiCaprio might date next.

But, given that the “Titanic” star has always dated consenting adult women, as far as we know, do we deny both his and his girlfriends’ agency when we deem their relationship predatory or inappropriate?

It should be noted, however, that even though DiCaprio and Morrone didn’t date until she was 20 years old, they reportedly met – through her stepfather, Al Pacino – when she was 10 or 11 and DiCaprio was about 22. 

According to a couples counselor, Leonardo DiCaprio and many other men have clear reasons for wanting to date younger women.

“Men want to date women that are young at heart,” says Larry Michel, a San Diego-based counselor.

Michel argues that men like DiCaprio are, “not interested in women that have dialed in who they are and what they want so tightly that there is nothing for the man to contribute.”

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Does this excuse make his behavior any less predatory? That might come down to a matter of personal opinion.

However, given that DiCaprio’s cut-off point is exactly around the time that neuroscientists say our brains are finished developing, there is certainly a case to be made that a desire to date younger partners comes from a desire to have control.

As Temple University Professor Laurence Steinberg explained to The New York Times,

“Significant changes in brain anatomy and activity are still taking place during young adulthood, especially in prefrontal regions that are important for planning ahead, anticipating the future consequences of one’s decisions, controlling impulses, and comparing risk and reward.”

In simple terms, an older person dating someone in their early 20s has the capacity to mold them into the person they want them to be but that control may waver as the younger partner ages up.

Michel explains that dating younger women “comes with plenty of other challenges too, which can explain why DiCaprio ends up ending the relationships when they get older.”

“At 25 their brains are fully formed and that presents a more elevated and conscious level of connection.”

It is also widely suspected that the keen climate activist has no desire to have children and ends his relationships around the time his girlfriends might be transitioning into wanting to have a family of their own.

Though he has shared conflicting answers when asked about his plans to have kids over the years.

But does this habit of dating women in their early 20s leave DiCaprio’s relationships lacking a more well-rounded connection? 

Again, that may be a matter of personal opinion but Michel says partners with vast age gaps may struggle to be on the same level when it comes to their intimate connection.

Michel also cautions men – and women – to be aware that the “person we dive in with [may be] too young to meet us in the evolved intimate space that we get with years of experience and wisdom.” 

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Alice Kelly is YourTango’s Deputy News and Entertainment Editor. Based in Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.

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