Older Woman Younger Man: May-December Romances Going Strong

11/20/2011 03:47 pm ET

On Thursday, Demi Moore, 49, announced her intention to file for divorce from her 33-year-old husband, Ashton Kutcher, after six years of marriage.

Immediately, there was speculation that the couple's large age gap was partially to blame for the split (in addition to Kutcher's rumored cheating).

But does age really play a role in the success of relationships? According to many experts, yes. Research has shown that marriages in which the wife is at least five years older than her husband are three times more likely to end in divorce.

The reason? Social stigmas surrounding women and aging impact many women's comfort in their marriages, which can damage the foundation of their relationships: "Couples with younger husbands violate social norms and thus suffer from social sanctions," says Sven Drefahl a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. "Since marrying a younger husband deviates from what is regarded as normal, these couples could be regarded as outsiders and receive less social support. This could result in a less joyful and more stressful life, reduced health, and finally, increased mortality."

While age might have been a factor in the demise of Kutcher and Moore's relationship, for others, it seems to be a nonissue. Click through the slideshow below to see five May-December romances that are still going strong.

Older women, younger men
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