Kelsey Kammeyer Allen, 25, first met her 53-year-old husband Paul when she was a teenager and says she has been fighting the ‘gold digger’ stereotype ever since.
But despite the 27 years between them, the couple from Salt Lake City, US, never let their age get in the way and tied the knot in June 2019 after being together for five years.
“I first met Paul when I was 19, I was living in California at the time and my brother invited me to a poker party when I was home in Utah visiting,” Kelsey said.
“I was young, it sounded like fun, so I decided to go. My brother and Paul had known each other for a long time, they are hunting buddies.
“I met him there, we all had so much fun and so all of us kept hanging out after that. I gradually started falling in love with him because he is such an incredible man.”
Kelsey admits it was “hard” at the start as she had never imagined she would end up with an older man and the couple often attract curious stares from strangers when they kiss or hold hands while out in public together.
“I felt nervous to hold his hand because I knew people were judging us,” she said.
“There is so much stigma around a younger woman being with an older man, they think we are ‘Gold Diggers’ just after their money.
“There have been a couple of instances where people assumed we were father and daughter, and it’s always a bit awkward.
“But after a year of dating, I finally let it go. I realised I loved him, life is short and no one else’s opinion matters as long as we are happy.”
Kelsey was over the moon when romantic Paul – who has owned his own successful landscape business for 27 years - popped the question outside the Versace mansion in Miami Beach, Florida back in 2018 while they were on holiday.
About a year later, the loved-up pair walked down the aisle in a close-knit ceremony in Utah surrounded by family and friends – who Kelsey said have been incredibly supportive.
Paul has three children aged 27, 25 and 23, along with three grandchildren.
“I think at first, everyone was not too sure about our relationship. But once our families got to know each other, everyone was very accepting,” Kelsey said.
“His kids were a bit weary at first about my intentions, but after I spent more time with them, we all got along so well.”
Now the happy couple are trying for a baby of their own to complete their family.
“It has always been my dream to be a mum,” she said, adding, “It’s funny that I’m actually a step-grandma before I’m actually a mother.”
Kelsey is sharing her story in the hopes that it will help break down the stigma surrounding age gap relationships - while also proving that anyone can fall in love.
“There is a misconception that younger women with older men are just after their money,” Kelsey said.
“But I have always been an independent person. I love to work and make my own money.
“I could easily survive on my own. I’m not some lost little girl with daddy issues that needs someone to take care of them.”
She said at the end of the day they are “just a normal couple”.
“His daughter said something really sweet, and that is that I have an old soul, and he has a young heart, that’s why we match up,” she added.
“Everyone’s story is different, age truly is just a number. I fell in love with Paul for who he is, not for his age.”
Additional reporting by Caters News.