This 43-year-old OITNB star is too old to play the wife of a 57-year-old, says Hollywood

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Anna Pollitt
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Seriously, Hollywood, isn’t it time to get a grip?

If female actors aren’t getting paid less than their male counterparts, it seems they’re being turned down for age-appropriate roles because of their gender.

Orange Is the New Black star Jamie Denbo is the latest star to fall foul of sexist casting - and bravely call out the injustice in public. She has tweeted: “I was just informed that at the age of 43, I am TOO OLD to play the wife of a 57 year old.”

Yes, a 14-year age gap between male and female romantic partners is deemed too small by studio bosses in an industry intent on normalising the idea of older men ending up with women young enough to be their daughter. 

The opposite is rarely represented. When women are cast as the love interest of a younger male actor it is usually central to the plot - yet it’s standard for men to be assigned a much younger wife or girlfriend. 

Sadly in Denbo’s case, it seems that even the male actor in question was behind the request. She added: “The real wife of the 57 year-old actor is EASILY AT LEAST 50. But this f**ker wants to be tv married to a 38 year-old -TOPS.”

She did not reveal the name of the star, or the studio enabling his behaviour.

Denbo’s treatment is by no means rare. Back in May 2015, Maggie Gyllenhaal disclosed how at 37, she was told she was “too old” to play opposite a 55-year-old man. This potentially career-damaging admission led to a slew of famous women opening up about discriminatory treatment in the entertainment industry.

A month after Gyllenhaal spoke out, Rose McGowan was fired by her agent for tweeting a casting call requirement that asked for women to wear a “form-fitting tank that shows off cleavage (push-up bras encouraged)”.

Then the likes of Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Sienna Miller, Emily Blunt and Robin Wright spoke out about being paid considerably less than the men they work alongside.

Despite two years of high-profile whistleblowing, Denbo’s experience shows that each fresh outcry over the blatant and sexist treatment of women on and off-screen is still falling on deaf ears.

Images: Rex Features


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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant.