This post contains mentions of assault.
1. First, Trina McGee was 28 years old when she joined Boy Meets World as Angela, Shawn's love interest. Meanwhile, Rider Strong was 17 years old. On Pod Meets World, Trina said she never intentionally hid her age during the audition process, and creator Michael Jacobs even thought "[she] was older than [she] was." She also recalled feeling like she didn't "really fit in" with the other actors because she was older, and she saw the teen actors as very "privileged."
2. Jennifer Lawrence is 12 years older than Andrew Barth Feldman, with the duo starring together in No Hard Feelings in 2023. Speaking about the age gap, which is at the center of the movie's premise, Andrew said, "The film never condones the things that Jennifer’s character does or that my character’s parents do. This is a movie about flawed people, and it’s a cringe comedy." He added, "We had intimacy coordinators, it was a closed set, and it was truly as safe as it could be."
3. Debbie Reynolds was 19 years old when she filmed Singin' in the Rain opposite Gene Kelly, who was 40 years old when the movie premiered in 1952. In her memoir Unsinkable, Debbie wrote about how awful it was to film a kiss in the movie, writing, "The camera closed in. Gene took me tightly in his arms…and shoved his tongue down my throat. 'Eeew! What was that?' I screeched, breaking free of his grasp and spitting."
4. Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have a five-year age difference, which was huge when That '70s Show began in 1998. "I mean, when we were there, she was 15 years old, I was 20 years old. There was zero romantic connection between the two of us," Ashton said while looking back on the big age gap between himself and Mila, who lied about her age during the auditions, in Season 1.
5. When J.C. Brandy appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation, she was only 17 years old, and she had to kiss Patrick Stewart, who was 52 years old. According to the book Captains' Logs Supplemental, Patrick was reportedly worried about what the age difference would look like on screen, with director Les Landau reportedly asking that J.C. be put in hair and makeup that would make her look older.
6. While filming Jurassic Park, Laura Dern was 23 years old playing Ellie, while Sam Neill was 43 years old playing Alan. Looking back on their age difference, Sam recalled it was "a completely appropriate age difference for a leading man and lady" at the time. He said he never thought about it until he was included in an article titled, "Old Geezers and Gals."
7. Scarlett Johansson was only 17 years old when she filmed Lost in Translation with Bill Murray, who was 51. Looking back on filming the movie, Scarlett said "it was a hard shoot for [her]" because she "felt sort of out of the loop." She said they worked "really well together," but the age difference and the duo being in very different stages of their lives was noticeable behind the scenes.
8. Zendaya was 23 years old while John David Washington was 35 while they filmed Malcolm & Marie. Alluding to the age difference backlash the film received, Zendaya said, "I've played a 16-year-old since I was 16. You have to remember people also grew up with me as a child. It's hard for people to wrap [their heads] around the idea that I am grown in real life, even though I do play a teenager on television still."
9. Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart had a 25-year age difference, and they starred in their first film together, To Have and Have Not, when Lauren was 20 and Humphrey was 45. The duo eventually got married in real life a year later. Speaking about their May-December romance, Lauren said, "I knew everybody because I was married to Bogie, and that 25-year difference was the most fantastic thing for me to have in my life."
10. While filming The Breakfast Club, Molly Ringwald was 16 and Judd Nelson was 25. Molly even revealed that an older actor was hired to film the moment when Bender is under the table and sees Claire's underwear. Looking back on how inappropriate some scenes were, Molly wrote in an op-ed, "As I can see now, Bender sexually harasses Claire throughout the film. When he's not sexualizing her, he takes out his rage on her with vicious contempt, calling her 'pathetic,' mocking her as 'Queenie.' It's rejection that inspires his vitriol."
11. Emma Stone and Colin Firth have a 28-year age gap, but still played love interests in Magic in the Moonlight in 2014. While the age difference wasn't specified in the script, Colin said he was concerned. He revealed, "I was very aware of it at the beginning, when I found out who is playing the roles. ... Once we were under way, other things came to the fore. But people are going to draw attention to it. I get it. I really do understand. It's noticeable."
12. Keira Knightley was 18 when Love Actually premiered in 2003. Meanwhile, Andrew Lincoln was 30 and Chiwetel Ejiofor was 26. Andrew recalled being cast for the role of Mark, saying, "I think it was decided that I looked quite innocent. I didn't have facial hair or wrinkles back then — and I wasn't starring on a zombie TV show [The Walking Dead]. I didn't look as, well, creepy as I do now." He also said he remembered asking director and writer Richard Curtis if he was coming across as "a creepy stalker."
13. Monique Coleman was 26 years old when she starred as Taylor in High School Musical opposite Corbin Bleu as Chad, who was 17. Monique recalled there were difficulties when it came to her age difference between herself and the other actors, saying, "Corbin and I are nine years apart. Vanessa [Hudgens] and I are eight years apart. I was 24 years old working with 15 and 16-year-olds, having an entirely different perspective."
14. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan was 19 years old when Never Have I Ever premiered, while Darren Barnet was 29 years old. The show was criticized for the age gap between the duo. Speaking about the criticism around their ages, stereotypical representation, and how the show is often expected to be perfect, Maitreyi said that the show is not meant to stand for all experiences or be the "perfect brown show," adding that she's not going to win the representation battle alone.
15. And finally, Drew Barrymore was 17 when she filmed Poison Ivy alongside Tom Skerritt, who was 58. In 1992, Drew said that she "appreciates films that step over the industry's boundaries," while discussing Poison Ivy. She also revealed that after the movie's release, she was referred to as "a sex symbol."
The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.