I was 19 when I started dating my husband, 60 – strangers call him a paedo and his kids HATED me being younger than them – The Sun

A COUPLE with a 41-year age gap have revealed strangers hounded them over their relationship, with someone even spray painting "dirty paedo" on their home.

Lizzie was 19 when she started dating Leslie Rickwood, then 60, who she met through a mutual friend.

Now aged 22 and 63, the couple are happily married and living in from Ecton Brook, Northamptonshire – despite Lizzie being younger than all seven of Leslie's kids.

Speaking exclusively to Fabulous Digital, Lizzie said: “When people called my husband a 'paedophile,' it made me feel sick.

“I didn't understand how strangers could say such awful things.

“His age has never mattered to me and Leslie is the most amazing husband. You can't help who you fall in love with.”

The couple met in a cafe in February 2016 – through Lizzie's friend Sarah*.

Lizzie said: “Leslie was a friend of Sarah’s family and we bumped into him at a local café.

“Even though he had grey hair and wrinkles, I thought he was so handsome. Eventually Sarah left, leaving Leslie and me chatting away.

“He asked if he could take me for dinner right then and there. I couldn't stop giggling and told him I'd love to.”

People called my husband a 'paedophile,' it made me feel sick

The couple went on their first date just minutes later, to a local Italian restaurant.

Lizzie said: “It all happened so fast, but it felt perfect. I asked Leslie how old he was and he told me he was 60.

“My jaw dropped, I thought he was in his 40s. I admitted I was 19 and he didn't care.

“Leslie told me he was divorced and had seven kids, who were in their 20s and 30s.

“I didn't mind at all and loved how mature he was. At the end of the date, we kissed. It was mind-blowing.”

Leslie and Lizzie became an official couple the next day, and have been inseparable ever since.

Lizzie said: “I was so nervous to tell my family about Leslie's age that it took me a month to spill my secret. They were really shocked.

“My mum and dad told me Leslie was too old for me at first, as Leslie is older than them.

“After meeting him, they saw how much we loved each other and accepted our relationship.

“Leslie’s children hated that I was younger than them. I met some of them three months later and, although it was awkward at first, they finally came around.”

Leslie’s children hated that I was younger than them

Six months later, in December 2016, Lizzie moved in with Leslie – but their relationship didn't go down well with people living nearby.

Lizzie said: “One afternoon, Leslie and I were holding hands walking down our street.

“Someone shouted 'you dirty paedo' at Leslie. My stomach churned. I wanted to cry.

“I didn't understand because I was an adult and was able to make my own decisions.

“Leslie remained calm and pulled me faster down the street.

“When we got home, I burst into tears and Leslie was clearly upset. But we agreed not to let it bother us.”

The abuse continued to escalate – and Lizzie suspects there were false rumours swirling about her age.

She said: “We realised there must have been rumours going around that weren't true.

“Leslie and I were food shopping when a random stranger screamed 'you're a nonce!'

“A few days later, another stranger yelled 'what you're doing is disgusting!'

“It was awful. Everywhere we went, the locals attacked us.

The words 'dirty paedo' were plastered across our walls in green spray paint. We were mortified. It took Leslie four hours to scrub the writing off

“One night, we arrived home and the words 'dirty paedo' were plastered across our walls and windows in green spray paint.

“Leslie and I were mortified. It took Leslie four hours to scrub the writing off.

“Leslie reported the vandalism to the police, but nothing came of it in the end.

“All we'd done was fall in love and people were trying to ruin our lives.

“My family couldn't believe it either, they told us to ignore it. Thankfully it stopped.”

In October 2017, one month after the spray paint incident, Leslie proposed in their living room.

Lizzie said: “It felt like all my dreams were coming true.

“One year later, we married in front of my family in our local town hall.

“Sadly, Leslie's family couldn't make it but I knew they gave us their blessing.

“They don't really see me as their step mum, I'm more their friend and I love it that way.

“Leslie and I have been married for one year. We still get dirty looks everywhere we go, but we don't care anymore.

“Leslie is the love of my life and I'm so lucky to have him.

“I love dating an older man because he's more experienced, loving and kind. It's us against the world.”

*Sarah is not her real name.

We previously spoke to a woman whose boyfriend, 73, is 40 years older than her – and tells people she's his grandaughter.

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