IF all our favourite rom-coms taught us anything about relationships, it’s that you’re pretty much guaranteed to find love when you least expect it.
Back in 2015, 18-year-old Gary Hardwick was attending a funeral with his aunt Lisa when he first laid eyes on his future wife Almeda – who was 71 at the time and mourning the loss of her son Robert.
@_garyandalmeda_/TiktokGary and Almeda pictured on their wedding day just two weeks after they first met[/caption]
Despite their 53 year age gap, the couple fell madly in love, tied the knot two weeks later and moved into Almeda’s house with one of her grandsons who is three years older than her husband.
But almost six years on, they’re still going strong and have gained over 65,000 followers on their shared TikTok account.
Earlier this week, the couple shared heartwarming photos from the beginning of their unconventional relationship in a viral video which has racked up over one MILLION views.
“I met the love of my life when I was 18 and she was 71,” Gary explained. “It’s been nearly six years and I fall more in love everyday.”
garyandalmeda/InstagramGary was 18 when we met his wife while she was 71[/caption]
@_garyandalmeda_/TiktokGary says he falls more in love with Almeda everyday[/caption]
Alongside photos from their wedding and selfies of the pair kissing, the social media star added: “I forever cherish our love.”
Needless to say, the couple were inundated with questions about their age gap after the video blew up on TikTok – which prompted Gary to film more clips addressing people’s assumptions.
“I do think it depends on each person when it comes to an age gap,” he said. “And it comes down to chemistry – it’s really not about how big the age gap is.
“A lot of people are in relationships and they’re the same exact age but are just not that compatible because of their different interests and hobbies.”
garyandalmeda/InstagramThe couple shared a romantic video documenting their relationship over the past six years on TikTok[/caption]
@_garyandalmeda_/TiktokAfter their video went viral, Gary answered fans’ assumptions about their relationship[/caption]
When asked about how he would cope if Amelda passes away, Gary said: “This is a question we do get quite often.
“It’s a little bit of an odd question and […] just because someone is older than you and you’re with that person, doesn’t mean that they’re going to pass away first.
“I could go before Almeda. But no one here is promised today or tomorrow so that’s not something I dwell upon. It’s not something that crosses our mind or we think about.”
What’s more, the couple – who had sex for the first time on their wedding night – previously described each other as ‘wonderful lovers’.
I wasn’t looking for a young man, but Gary just came along. I just knew straight away that he was the one.
“It was wonderful, beyond my wildest dreams,” revealed Gary previously in a candid interview with Fabulous Digital. “She really is my dream woman and the physical side of our relationship couldn’t be better.”
“I wasn’t looking for a young man, but Gary just came along,” said Almeda. “I just knew straight away that he was the one.”
Her happiness at their meeting was in stark contrast to the lonely despair the mother-of-four had endured after being widowed and then losing her eldest son Robert, 45, after a seizure.
“I’d been married to my first husband Donald for 43 years, and so when he died in 2013 after seven months in hospital from complications with diabetes, I found myself on my own,’ said Almeda.
garyandalmeda/InstagramAlmeda says she wasn’t looking for a younger man when Gary came into her life[/caption]
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“I’d turn up for work at Walmart in tears and my colleagues would ask me what was wrong. Deep down, I was searching for a soulmate.”
On the first night they met, Gary surprised Almeda with red roses and a bracelet for her birthday which had been a few days before. Then they shared their first tender kiss under the moonlight outside on a bench.
“It made me feel like a teenager again,” smiled Almeda.
From then on, they started seeing each other every night, and got the blessing of most friends and family, including Gary’s mum Tammy, then 48, and his grandmother Carolyn, then 71.
Two weeks after their first date, she had no hesitation in accepting when Gary proposed on the phone. Six days later, Almeda wore a dress borrowed from his cousin as they married in the gardens outside Lisa’s flat.
Since their wedding, Gary’s had their names tattooed across his chest.
Gary said: “Almeda is so young at heart that age never bothers us, we never really think about it. I just know that God answered my prayers that day she walked into my life.”
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