Eight-year age gap between Love Island's Gemma Owen and Davide Sanclimenti giving viewers the 'ick'
The 19-year-old daughter of former footballer Michael Owen was originally paired with Welsh lad Liam Llewellyn
Backstabbing, bombshells and eyebrow-raising sex positions: it’s just days into Love Island 2022 and the reality TV show is already laying on the drama factor 50.
But never mind the ‘Viennese Oyster’ (no, I don’t have the foggiest either) - it’s the eight-year age gap between contestants Gemma Owen and Davide Sanclimenti that was this week giving viewers the proverbial ick.
The 19-year-old daughter of former footballer Michael Owen was originally paired with Welsh lad Liam Llewellyn (22) by the public as the love/loathe series got underway in Mallorca on Monday night.
However, the dressage champion’s head was soon turned by the 27 year-old Italian stallion, the first ‘bombshell’ to enter the villa, with the pair also becoming the first recoupling of the year.
Amid growing online queasiness over the age gap romance, on Thursday night, the couple addressed the near-decade difference, with both parties deciding they’re fine with it.
Explaining how she’s used to dating “guys who are much older”, Gemma told Davide: “It’s not an issue for me at all.
“I feel like if it was, I wouldn’t have wanted to get to know you in the first place.”
And her love interest agreed: “For me, it’s not an issue. I actually say sometimes you are much older than me.”
So far, so consenting - but that wasn’t enough to satisfy the May to December police on Twitter.
“Gemma’s age means I can’t see her with any of them. Just feels wrong,” wrote one.
“Please please please have a minimum age requirement of 21,” another begged ITV. “I don’t want to see a 19-year-old kissing someone who’s pushing 30.”
“This is grooming for public consumption,” a third even suggested.
Buttressing the narrative of a grown man dating a teenager, many pointed to the fact that the young model was only born in 2003, just two years before Love Island came out, making her a school girl when the bed-hopping show was first put on pause due to the pandemic in 2020.
Sorry, but unless the age of majority has changed due to Covid-19, then she is an adult.
And, as uncomfortable as it may make some viewers to see a bikini-clad young woman ‘moving mad’ with a slightly more worldly man, it’s hardly Anna Nicole Smith territory either.
Interestingly, at 19, Gemma is not the youngest Islander ever to appear on the show, with 18 year-old Amelia Peters making a brief appearance in Casa Amor in season three; while the blokes maxed out at 31.
What exactly producers expect a couple a half-generation apart to have in common is anyone’s guess - and judging by Davide and Gemma’s ditchwater-dull first date, the answer may well be ‘nothing’.
But viewers and, by extension, society can’t have it both ways - infantilizing and sexualising the fame-hungry young women who sign up to these type of shows at the same time.
George and Amal Clooney are just one of the high-profile couples to show how an age gap relationship can go the distance - and there’s little fear of a power imbalance between the 44 year-old human rights lawyer and the 61 year-old Return of the Killer Tomatoes star.
One of the most comprehensive studies into such relationships did find that they may be an anomaly, showing couples with a 0-3 year divide have the highest level of relationship or marital satisfaction, while couples with a seven-plus year gap have the lowest level.
Given that only a handful of Love Island couples have ever made it down the aisle, that’s unlikely to be something summer fling Gemma and Davide ever have to worry about.
Rom-com queen Rebel Wilson this week revealed how she’s found her very own happily ever after.
The Senior Year star came out on Thursday, going Instagram official with girlfriend Ramona Agruma.
Posting a snap of the pair, Aussie star Rebel (42) beamed: “I thought I was searching for a Disney Prince ... but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess.”
What a sweet way for the loved-up pair to kick off Pride month.
TikTok? More like ThickTok in the case of the senior executive who this week said he “didn’t believe” companies should offer paid maternity leave.
The paradoxically-named Joshua Ma hit headlines after reportedly sharing his “capitalist” views with staff at the social media giant’s London outpost.
Launching an investigation into the remarks, parent company ByteDance moved to calm the waters in an internal email: “Hopefully, this painful experience will make us a stronger, closer, and better team over the long term.”
Ironically, the European e-commerce chief will now have plenty of time to consider his dozy comment after announcing he is to “take some time off” and “step back” from his role - 26 weeks or so should do it.
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