13 Famous Historical Women Who Married Guys Way Younger Than Them

Even in modern times, women who choose younger men as partners get vilified, while old dudes who do the same are given props (see Pres Trump for an example). But this trend of ladies liking younger lads is nothing new. For centuries, there's been a whole host of historical women who married younger men.

Check out Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, who took as her right-hand man Grigory Potemkin, quite a few years her junior. The jury's out on whether they actually tied the knot, but no one doubts that their political relationship was quite intimate in nature. Another example of famous cougars from history is Victorian author George Eliot (a pen name for one Mary Ann Evans), who shacked up with one hot young stud and then married another one! Read on for a list of truly inspiring cougars from throughout history.


  • Mary Anne Disraeli, The Prime Minister's Cougar Bride

    Mary Anne Disraeli, The Prime Minister's Cougar Bride
    Photo: James Godsell Middleton / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Best known as one of Queen Victoria's favorite Prime Ministers, British politician Benjamin Disraeli was also a boy toy - and true love! - for his wife, Mary Anne, who was 12 years his senior. He first courted her, a wealthy widow from a poverty-stricken family, not long after her first hubby died; for her part, bold Mary Anne was totally into a romance with an underdog MP with a lot of promise. 

    Mary Anne was a great asset to "Dizzy's" campaigns (her glitz and glam wowed the crowd), and the two knew how to work a room. Though he married her for her money, this turned into a love match; he convinced the Queen to give her a noble title, and she waxed lyrical about how hot he looked in the bath. Mary Anne famously quipped, "Dizzy married me for my money, but if he had the chance again he would marry me for love.''

  • Maria Fitzherbert, A Young Prince's Secret Bride
    Photo: George Romney / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Maria Fitzherbert was the Catholic secret bride of Prince George of Wales, the future King George IV of England and his one true love. She was a widow whom he tried to make his mistress after falling head over heels for her after meeting her at the opera, but she refused; allegedly, George said he'd commit suicide if she didn't then marry him. Maria obliged, and they wed in 1785. Technically, this union was illegal, since an heir to the throne wasn't allowed to marry a Roman Catholic or choose a bride without the monarch's consent without forfeiting his place in the succession.

    Eventually, George was forced to abandon Maria because of his flirtations with others and because his dad arranged a "real" wife for him, a German princess. Maria was having NONE of this this - she got a note from the Pope telling George to take her back, which, unfortunately for your girl, didn't bring George back around. However, George wound up being miserable with his new, "official" bride, and he referred to Maria as his "beloved wife" in his will.

  • Cleopatra VII, A Woman Forced To Keep It Both Young And In The Family
    Photo: Guido Cagnacci / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    You might know Cleopatra VII, last pharaoh of Egypt, for her liaisons with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, but she's pretty notable for some other relationships she was obliged to participate in - she was married to two of her little brothers! For millennia, Egyptian pharaohs married their siblings as a way of keeping the royal blood in the family and emulating brother-sister god-spouses Isis and Osiris. When Cleopatra's father died, she became co-ruler of Egypt with her husband/little brother, Ptolemy XIII, her junior by about 10 years. Shockingly, things between the two weren't terribly happy; Ptolemy exiled Cleo, and Caesar helped get her back into power and eventually eliminate her spouse-sibling.

    After this, keeping with tradition, Cleo wed her only surviving brother, dubbed Ptolemy XIV, about 11 years younger than her. Cleo wasn't terribly keen on him, either, and likely killed him in favor of her own kid by Caesar.

  • Elizabeth Singer Rowe, The Novelist And (Young) Guy's Gal

    Eighteenth-century British author Elizabeth Singer Rowe wrote a lot of epistolary novels, but another of her claims to fame was marrying hunk Thomas Rowe, 13 years her junior. She reportedly received a bunch of proposals, but Elizabeth accepted only hot-young-stallion Tom; at the time of their wedding in 1710, she was 35, and he was 22. A friend of theirs even wrote a sweet epigram on the occasion of their marriage, dubbing them a "learned pair." 

    Their brief union (it only lasted five years, as Thomas sadly died young) was seemingly quite happy. Rowe was one of his lady love's biggest supporters, and she even included some of his poetry in her collections.

  • So Victorian author George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans) didn't technically marry one of her younger men, but she did co-habitate with him for decades. Technically her lover, George Henry Lewes, was already married with kids, but he insisted on an open marriage in order to make things work with Mary Anne (it didn't hurt that one of his nominal children was actually fathered by another guy). 

    Mary Ann and George lived openly together for more than 20 years. After Lewes's death, Mary Ann kept up her grand tradition of younger paramours. At age 60, she married a 40-something named John Cross, but he jumped off a balcony on their honeymoon. Some have speculated he was mentally disturbed, while others claimed he was already worn by a sexually voracious spouse. Either way, his bride died six months after marrying him.

  • Princess Viktoria Of Prussia, Bankrupted By A Hot Male Dancer

    Princess Viktoria Of Prussia,  Bankrupted By A Hot Male Dancer
    Photo: Royal Collection RCIN / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    As the daughter of a German emperor, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and the sister of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Princess Viktoria of Prussia, also known as "Moretta," should have have been destined for a grand match. Instead, she married a minor German prince, Adolf zu Schaumburg-Lippe, in 1890, a man who was reportedly "awkward and homely and sedentary"; their marriage was childless and unhappy, which surely didn't help by her ongoing struggles with depression.

    Adolf died in 1916, and Moretta took up with Russian male dancer/dishwasher Alexander Alexander Zoubkoff, 35 years younger than her. None of her family attended her second wedding, but she said, ""It is my wish to be with to be with him and share his fate." Alexander, or "Sascha," it turned out, was a complete letdown who got deported from Germany, making Moretta try to pawn her jewels so they could take a trans-Atlantic flight. Their love story finally ended when Sascha bankrupted Moretta and ran off with what little money she had left.