‘I’m 25 and my husband is 69 – people say our love is a scam but we couldn’t be happier’ – Mirror Online

Age-gap romances are not uncommon these days, but sometimes they still cause a stir and a raised eyebrow, with some naysayers questioning whether there’s a motive behind the loved-up display. But a couple with a 44-year age gap are proving that age really is just a number, sharing that: “This is love, not a money scam.”

Joop Evers, 69, and his wife, Rona, 25, have lost family and friends trying to prove that their love is legit, insisting that money has nothing to do with their relationship, and they’re just a regular couple. Joop, originally from the Netherlands, now lives in his wife’s hometown, Bacolod, Philippines, where the pair are widely accepted in their relationship and can escape negativity and judgement.


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He said: “Age is just a number. This is a real love story, not an attempt to get money or a green card. It’s true love, I know people won’t believe it but there’s so much love and understanding between us. We don’t care what people think or say, it’s our life and we are really happy together. It’s no problem for me or Rona, she is happy to have an experienced partner who is in balance and loves her the way she is.”

Joop reached out to Rona on Facebook after noticing her on a trip to the Philippines to visit his brother and his wife. The soon-to-be lovebirds chatted over text before she eventually flew over to meet him in person. He said: “I used to travel a lot to the Philippines because I worked for a worldwide call centre organisation, I also visit my brother and his wife there, so I know the country well.

“So, we connected through Facebook, we had mutual friends. We started to chat four years ago, when we finally met, she flew over and it was a huge culture shock for Rona because the Netherlands is so different from the Philippines. I know the people and culture of the Philippines, but she had never been to Europe, so it was a nice meeting but a lot to adjust to.”

But it was Joop’s family who couldn’t adjust to the relationship, and he admitted that he doesn’t speak to a lot of his family and friends anymore due to their relationship. He explained: “In the Philippines, age gaps are highly accepted, but I don’t have contact with my family and a lot of friends anymore because they don’t accept my relationship. When I told them about my relationship, they just refused to accept my wife because of how young she was. I’m a divorced man with two children already so it was a big change, but this is my life and they chose not to accept it.”

Joop also admitted that when they go shopping they get “a lot of stares”, putting it down to “jealousy” – stating that people have even made “jealous” comments on social media posts about the pair being together. “It’s a better life for her, but it’s also a better life for me”, he said.

Rona said: “My family has been so supportive of our relationship. Obviously, an age gap is a lot more normal in the Philippines, so they have always supported us no matter what. I don’t care what people say about us, I love him very much. We are good people; we love and care for people and just want that love back.”

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