GROWING up, Laura Smith, 35, knew she was different to her mates.
While they all lusted after teenage pop stars, her childhood crush was Elvis Presley – and her boss at the supermarket where she worked, who was 20 years her senior.
Since then Laura, from Ontario, Canada, has only ever fancied older men – and is currently dating a 74-year-old grandfather-of-two.
Despite their 40-year age gap – and the dirty looks they get while out in public – Laura believes Starr Jones is ‘the one’.
The pair are planning to marry, and Laura – who is mum to five-year-old son Pavel – is keen to have more children.
She says: “I don’t care what people think about our age gap. After all, it’s just a number.
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“Starr would make a fantastic dad and we’d love to give Pavel a sibling. We want to marry soon too.
“Sadly I do think about Starr dying. But I’ve learned to accept that he’ll probably die before me.
“I’ve looked for advice on planning death and how to be ready for it.
“For now though, we’re enjoying just being together.”
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Laura, a professional DJ, says she’s always been drawn to older fellas.
She recalls: “At 14, I fancied my supermarket manager at work who was 34 – 20 years older – and married.
“I knew nothing could happen. But for the next five years he was all I thought about.
“Whenever I saw an old man on the street, I loved their greying hair and old-fashioned clothes.
“I dreamed of being with someone who was wiser and more mature.”
During her 20s, Laura continued dating older men, meeting them online or organically at the shops or parks.
In 2013, aged 28, Laura fell for a 52-year-old man, and three years later they welcomed son Pavel.
Sadly they split in January last year, and two months later Laura, then 34, joined an astronomy club.
That was where she met Starr, who was the president.
Whenever I saw an old man on the street, I loved their greying hair and old-fashioned clothes – I dreamed of being with someone more mature
Laura says: “Shortly after joining I attended an observatory to stargaze and Starr was there.
“Despite my past, I knew Starr was way too old for me – a grandfather in their mid-70s was taking it too far.
“But at every group meeting, I had butterflies when I saw him.
“He was nearly 40 years older but we both loved space and hockey. Soon I felt Starr flirting with me.”
The following month in April 2021, Laura and Starr watched a meteor shower together – and sparks flew.
She says: “That night we slept together in my hotel. It was amazing.”
After that the couple became official, and by December Starr had moved in with Laura and her son.
She says: “Starr’s children, who are in their 50s, were happy for their dad and welcomed me with open arms. It was the biggest relief.
“I introduced Starr to my son and they hit it off too.”
Nervous about her family’s reaction, Laura introduced Starr as a friend at first.
Starr’s children, who are in their 50s, were happy for their dad and welcomed me with open arms. It was the biggest relief
She says: “I wasn’t sure what they’d think. But in the end I came clean as I didn’t want to deceive them.
“Thankfully they weren’t surprised. My family was so used to my age gaps at this point, they didn’t bat an eyelid.
“They accepted this was the life I’d chosen.
“My friends were nervous for me because Pavel’s dad and I had only just split up.
“But I couldn’t help falling in love.”
Since their union, Laura and Starr have received dirty looks from strangers, but they’ve learned not to care what people think.
Laura says: “I thought I was used to it due to my past relationships, but it was worse with Starr.
“Whenever we were out together, Starr and I attracted stares and dirty looks.
“It made me self conscious and I made sure not to kiss or hold his hand in public.
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“Gradually I’ve learnt to ignore it.
“And if anyone thought I was a gold digger, I could tell them they were wrong – Starr is retired, so I’m the breadwinner.”
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