He's 80, she's 29 but this Cape Town couple couldn't be more in love!

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It was love at first sight for Wilson Williams and Terzel Rasmus when they met in 2016. (PHOTO: BESPOKE IMAGES)
It was love at first sight for Wilson Williams and Terzel Rasmus when they met in 2016. (PHOTO: BESPOKE IMAGES)

Their eyes met across a crowded room . . . 

How many love stories start out this way? So many it’s become a cliché.

But in the case of one Western Cape couple the attraction, while instant, was decidedly unexpected. When Wilson Williams first spotted Terzel Rasmus at a dance, his eye was caught by her red dress. She, on the other hand, was attracted by his kind, gentlemanly manner.

They shared a dance, a kiss and by the end of the night Cupid’s arrow had struck. So far so normal for a love-at-first-sight tale.

But what makes this pair so different is that 51 years separates them. Today they’re a happily married couple, he a sprightly 80-year-old pensioner, she a zippy 29-year-old, and they’re only too happy to share their love with the world. 

And make no mistake, the world is fascinated. The couple have made international headlines, with news outlets such as the UK’s Daily Mail, Mirror and Sun catching wind of their romance. “That was really such a surprise,” Terzel explains. “I started our Instagram page, @agegapdiaries, and after seeing our posts a woman from the UK interested in our story reached out to me.” 

The couple tied the knot in 2017 after a year of d
The couple tied the knot in 2017 after a year of dating and have been happily married ever since. (PHOTO: SUPPLIED)

Their story flabbergasted readers far and wide, but as the couple from Somerset West near Cape Town share, the only thing that’s flabbergasting is the love they have for each other. Yes, at first glance they seem an unlikely match but, as Terzel says, “This age difference doesn’t mean a thing to us”.

The dating pool left much to be desired for Terzel. She was working as a journalist for a community newspaper back in 2015 and seemed only to come across guys her age who saw her as a meal ticket. Then in 2016 a chance encounter at a dance hosted by her newspaper at the Strand Town Hall turned all her ideas about love, courtship and the male of the species on its head. 

Wilson, a church leader and retired school principal, had ventured out that evening. He was a widower after his wife, Nelly, died of cancer in 2002, and had decided it was time to mingle again. “I saw this young woman in a red dress and, you know, red is my colour,” Wilson recalls with a chuckle. “She was sitting alone and I thought, ‘Why not approach her? I’m here alone too’.”

The grandfather-of-three recalls that moment they met as if it were yesterday. Even though their age gap was apparent, it became clear to the pair that they had much more in common than one might expect.

“He was just so gentlemanly, kind and caring. I loved how I felt when I was around him,” says Terzel, who’s completing a law degree though Unisa. “I’d indulged in quite a bit of wine that night and whereas most guys wouldn’t have cared, Wilson made sure I was okay throughout the evening.” 

After ending the night with a kiss, the pair were smitten. They exchanged numbers and the relationship blossomed. Terzel allowed herself to be more vulnerable and trusting, while Wilson opened his heart to love again. He also came clean about the fact that he was 76 – after first telling Terzel he was 66 because he didn’t want to scare the attractive young woman away. 

The couple have an age gap of over half a century
The couple have an age gap of over half a century between them and say it makes no difference to their love. (PHOTO: SUPPLIED)

“I knew there was something about her from the moment I met her,” Wilson says. “I just didn’t want to be alone anymore.” 

However, the reality of their 51-year age difference set in for the law student early on in their courtship. Terzel wrestled with questions about how it would work, but the mere thought of entering what she calls the “Wild West” of the dating scene was enough to put her off playing the field again. 

As an ambitious young woman, she appreciated the calm way in which Wilson went about life, finding that it helped her to confront and deal with her mental health issues, especially during lockdown last year when her anxiety was at an all-time high. “I learnt it’s okay to slow down and go at your own pace,” she says. 

READ MORE | She’s 81, he’s 36 – and they’re desperate to be together

When she first introduced her parents to Wilson, they were shocked, she admits. “But they quickly got over that. They saw what a spiritual man Wilson was and how we went to church together. That was really what they wanted for me because I’d been a bit of a rebel growing up.”

The love and guidance Wilson offered her when her father passed away from cancer and the support he’s shown throughout her mother’s battle with advanced Alzheimer’s melted her heart. 

Concerns Wilson’s daughters Beryl (56) and Wilna (51) had at first were also quashed when they saw how much their dad’s young partner cared for him. “I knew I wasn’t getting any younger and my loved ones wanted me to be happy. They knew I’d need someone younger in my life to look after me,” says Wilson, who fortunately is in good health.

Terzel and Wilson on their wedding day. (PHOTO: SU
Terzel and Wilson on their wedding day. (PHOTO: SUPPLIED)

“I didn’t think it would be someone in their twenties, but they accepted Terzel and she’s part of the family now.”

But sadly they did receive flak from some quarters. People would stop and stare, and hateful comments like “Oupa got his mojo back,” came their way by the dozen. Terzel was slut-shamed on social media and called a gold-digger, but she ignored it and in 2017 the couple went on to tie the knot after a year of dating.

While more than half a century lies between them and they don’t know what tomorrow will bring, their motto is “carpe diem – seize the day”. 

Just as Wilson’s old-school values have brought his wife, who’s around the age of his grandkids, stability in her life, her new-age way of living and spontaneity have added to his.

She’s helped him save money by converting him to digital editions of newspapers and every now and then has to explain what a trending hashtag means. But it all comes with the territory of an intergenerational love story. They love talking politics and current affairs, enjoy ice cream while walking on the beach and watching rugby together. 

And when it comes to intimacy, the husband and wife feel they’re just like any other loved-up couple. “We both allow ourselves to be vulnerable in the bedroom,” they say. “I’m very open when it comes to sexuality. I bring out a playful, silly, youthful side in the bedroom and he’s open to that,” Terzel says. 

“I call her a naughty girl,” Wilson says, laughing. “As far as that part of life is concerned, I have no problems at all! 

MIND THE GAP: Big age differences aren’t uncommon in celebville 

DENNIS QUAID (66) & LAURA SAVOIE (27) Age gap: 39 years 

Laura is the actor’s fourth wife. They married in
Laura is the actor’s fourth wife. They married in June last year after dating for a year. (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES / GALLO IMAGES)

MICHAEL DOUGLAS (76) & CATHERINE ZETA-JONES (51) Age gap: 25 years

They met in 1998 and married in 2000. This year, t
They met in 1998 and married in 2000. This year, they celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary. (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES / GALLO IMAGES)

SARAH PAULSON (46) & HOLLAND TAYLOR (78) Age gap: 32 years

The actresses have been in a relationship for six
The actresses have been in a relationship for six years. "I'm with a much older person and people find that totally fascinating and odd, and, to me, it's the least interesting thing about me," Sarah Paulson once said, addressing their age difference. (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES / GALLO IMAGES)

DAVID FOSTER (71) & KATHARINE McPHEE (36) Age gap: 35 years  

The pair exchanged vows in London in 2019. They re
The pair exchanged vows in London in 2019. They recently welcomed a baby boy, David’s sixth child. (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES / GALLO IMAGES)

PRINCESS CHARLENE (43) & PRINCE ALBERT (62) Age gap: 19 years

The couple met in Monaco in 2000 and will celebrat
The couple met in Monaco in 2000 and will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary this year. (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES / GALLO IMAGES)

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