Imagine being a 42-year-old mum and falling pregnant to a teenager. That’s the real-life scandal that dogs 50 Shades Of Grey director Sam Taylor-Wood.
Sam was a successful artist making her debut as a film director with Nowhere Boy, based on the childhood experiences of John Lennon, when she fell in love with the actor cast in the lead role, Aaron Johnson.
“I’ve always lived my life as fearlessly as possible,” says a defiant Sam. “I don’t really listen to other people’s opinions, just follow my heart and my instincts.”
In fact, she believes it’s sexist for people to be scandalised by their relationship: “In the old days ‘controversial’ in a relationship meant same-sex or mixed races. Now, it is a woman with a younger man. That would not happen with a man.”
Two battles with cancer have strengthened Sam’s resolve to live life to the full. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1997, weeks after giving birth to her first daughter. Then, in 2000, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy and six months of chemotherapy. “I do think you’re more free about where you want to be in life,” she explains of the decisions she’s made post-cancer. “Time is precious.”
Aaron, who has since gone on to become a Hollywood star with roles in Kick Ass 2 and Anna Karenina, told Elle magazine he was shocked by how people reacted to their love affair: “When me and Sam got together, there was a whole f**king uproar. From that moment on, I never read anything about us.
“There’s loads of f**king horrible s**t out there on the internet. It never filtered into our lives, into our relationship. I’m not going to allow it.
“I strive to be the best father and husband I can be. I gain a lot more out of my kids and Sam than anything else in my work world. I take my family very seriously.”
The now-23-year-old has fathered two daughters – Wylda Rae, three, and Romy, 1 – with the now-45-year-old filmmaker, who also has two daughters from a previous marriage, Angelica, 14, and Jessie, 5. He turned 20 a month before Wylda’s birth in 2010.
The couple married in 2012 after being together for four years.
“Sam might be older than me, but she’s such a young, spirited soul that I sometimes feel I’m older than her,” Aaron concludes.
What do you think? Good on Sam and Aaron for finding love together or too big an age difference?