Five or 15 years, it’s still weird

At 17 years apart, married couple George Clooney (61 years old) and Amal Clooney (44 years old) attend the London premiere of Ticket to Paradise.

Photo courtesy of Yahoo

At 17 years apart, married couple George Clooney (61 years old) and Amal Clooney (44 years old) attend the London premiere of Ticket to Paradise.

From five to fifteen years apart, the age gaps in celebrity relationships are getting bigger and becoming more normalized. The entertainment industry is recycling its defenses for the large age gaps they put on screen and support in real life.

Celebrity relationships are hard to keep private; fans want to know who you’re with, when you got together, and if they’re good enough for their idol. However, that’s when it becomes an issue: when they idolize a person living a completely different life with different circumstances.

“What’s weird about celebrity relationships is how much some people romanticize and obsess over them as if it’s their own. This can be harmful because of how many younger fans that celebrity may have, and they might look up to them and think it’s okay,” stated sophomore Laura Dussan Leongomez.

The romanticization of TV and Hollywood has become a larger conversation within the last few years. Some instances include the glorification of serial killers or the love for emotionally abusive relationships. It intentionally or unintentionally implies it’s okay to be in these kinds of relationships and it causes the audience to view their life like they view Hollywood movies.

“In some tv shows and movies, teenage girls are seen as being mature for dating men that are much older. This is incredibly harmful and leads young people to think these kinds of relationships are normal,” said junior AJ Brandt.

When younger audiences look up to a celebrity and genuinely strive to be them they don’t take into account all of the things that differ between their life and the celebrities. Looking at this person’s life, they may see a 10-year age gap in their relationship and think it’s alright for them to also be dating someone much older than them. Though that’s the difference between what’s okay and what’s not. Age gaps are normal and are often seen amongst daily life people. It becomes a problem when there is a drastic difference in maturity or if there is a clear power imbalance. However, it’s not okay when we glamorize the negative effects and hide the . 

“Celebrity relationships are not something high schoolers should be looking up to or aspire to have because they are in completely different worlds. Legally you can not be an 18-year-old senior dating a 14-year-old freshman but because people look up to celebrity relationships with large age gaps they think it’s fine,” said senior Andrea McCoy-Saenz.

Going into high school is a major change, being in school with people who are four years older than you feels weird and uncomfortable. Though that changes when that 18-year-old starts calling you attractive and starts giving you the validation that isn’t given in middle school.

“As teenagers, we are often viewed as immature, but we’re mature because we have to be. Adults constantly shaming us leads to reaching for anything that makes us seem more mature and when we’re grasping we’ll listen to anyone that tells us we’re mature for our age,” stated Brandt.

Gaslighting has become a bigger topic amongst social media and that’s what happens in these relationships. When people get into relationships with people older than them they don’t realize that they’re being manipulated and they’re being put in a bad situation until after they’ve witnessed the negative effects. They see their idols date much younger or much older than them and then they think it’s ok. When you add the manipulation and gaslighting that comes with the convincing to get into relationships, being with an 18-year-old as a freshman doesn’t seem that bad.

“The main difference between celebrities who are in their mid-twenties versus high schoolers is that their prefrontal cortex has developed, and they are both consenting adults who are mature enough to make their own decisions,” states junior Anya King.

Consent makes the difference between a relationship where they both want each other and a relationship where one person is essentially getting groomed. Being 24 in a relationship with a 36-year-old may seem weird to the general public, but it’s legal. Being 18 years old with a 14-year-old is not okay since a 14-year-old person has not fully developed their brain. They aren’t entirely aware of the damage and aren’t ready to consent to this type of relationship.

Celebrity relationships are weird, but adult celebrities are mature enough to decide for themselves. High schoolers, however, are not, but they think they are, which is the overall effect of these celebrity relationships. A general message that high schoolers should abide by is: if the grades don’t touch, neither should they.