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Hollywood sexism: graph exposes huge age gap between male actors and their female love interests

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Amy Schumer  took a stab at Hollywood's double standards regarding gender, age and romantic leads in her scathing Inside Amy Schumer skit about three actresses celebrating the last day they’re considered sexually attractive.

But the age gap between Hollywood’s men and women is no laughing matter. 

US site GraphJoy has discovered that some leading men are up to 15 years older than their female love interests or co-stars. This age gap becomes more dramatic as the actors age, meaning that men in their fifties and sixties are often paired with women who are in their twenties and thirties.

The site found that since turning 35, Denzel Washington has been on average 15.33 years older than his female co-stars while Tom Cruise has been 12.55 years older than the women he's paired with on-screen.

The chart below shows the average age difference between the male leads and their female co-stars, for the films made when they were 35 or older. Denzel Washington's age gap is the largest, averaging more than 15 years. In 2013's Two Guns, actress Paula Patton was cast as his romantic partner-in-crime. She's 21 years younger than he is.

Age gap graph

The site did an analysis of the on-screen relationships of 20 of Hollywood’s leading men over the past 30 years. Among those with the biggest average age gaps regarding their female romantic leads were Harrison Ford, 73, Tom Cruise, 53, and Will Smith, 46.

age gap
Two Guns

Paula Patton and Denzel Washington in Two Guns

Back in 1999, the near 40-year age gap between Entrapment stars Sean Connery, who was 69, and 30-year-old Catherine Zeta-Jones sparked outrage - but 15 years later it seems not much has changed. 

While romantic pairings between men and women in real life are frequently between people of the same age that is much less likely to happen in Hollywood, where leading male actors are often cast with female leads who are - in some cases - even young enough to be their daughters.

Entrapment

Entrapment stars Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones

Out of the 20 men in GraphJoy's list, nine of them have an average on-screen age gap of 10 years or more.

Just a couple of months ago actress Maggie Gyllenhaal provided yet more proof that Hollywood is rife with the depressing stench of sexism when she revealed that she was recently turned down for a film role because at 37, she was deemed "too old" to play the love interest of a 55-year-old man. 

Maggie

Maggie Gyllenhaal has spoken out against double standards

“There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time,” the Oscar-nominated actress told TheWrap Magazine. “I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”

Gyllenhaal declined to name, and shame, the film in question.

Graphics: GraphJoy.com via Washington Post 

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