By Mollie Mansfield
A student with a boyfriend 40 YEARS her senior is hitting back at strangers who assume he’s her father.
Russell Edwards, 64, and Samantha Smith, 24, met online three years ago and hit it off straight away despite their visible age gap.
The couple, from Connecticut, US, claim they aren’t fazed by strangers who assume they’re father and daughter.
And despite Russell’s family not supporting the relationship – mainly due to his own kids being older than Samantha – they are happier than ever.
Samantha, a medical assisting student, said: “People always mistake him for being my dad in public.
“We met three years ago online and have been inseparable ever since.
“If we hold hands in public we get dirty looks but they tend to be from middle aged women who don’t understand and think it’s a sugar daddy situation.
“But when we tell them we’re in a relationship it’s just really awkward and embarrassing for them.
“My dad doesn’t want to meet Russell, in his head he just thinks ‘oh what does someone his age want to do with someone my age’.
“But my mum is really supportive, she loves Russell and has seen such a positive change in me since we’ve been dating.
“She really sees how happy I am with him, so she supports it – although she was in a little shock at first.”
Russell, who owns a security system business, added: ” I won’t give up on mine and Samantha’s relationship to suit other people.
“We have been subjected to taunts in the street but the main one that sticks in my mind was when we were at the package store and the cashier referred to Samantha as my daughter.
“When I said she was my girlfriend the lady didn’t know what to do.
“We get our fair share of looks from people, but they usually don’t have the nerve to say anything.”
The couple first met online in 2014, and as Samantha hadn’t seen any pictures of Russell despite knowing his age, it was love at first sight when they met in person.
Samantha said: “Because I hadn’t seen any photos of him, I was so excited to see him in person.
“After talking online I realised we had a lot to talk about and a lot in common, so I knew we’d have a lovely date anyway.
“As soon as I saw him I started falling for him – although he’s older he’s perfect for me, in both looks and personality.”
Russell added: “I’d seen photos of her and obviously the first thing I realised was how pretty she was.
“We hit it off right away, she’s so easy to talk to that we just couldn’t stop chatting.
“She’s very mature for her age so it almost felt like there wasn’t an age gap at all.
“We started dating each other once a week, and after seeing each other for six months we made it official, and it’s been great ever since.”
The couple currently see each other every weekend, but when they realised how much they missed each other during the week they decided to take their relationship to the next level.
Samantha said: “Russell and I are moving in together in January and we can’t wait to have our own space and start a new adventure.
“I’m most excited to be able to get into bed with him at night – sometimes when you have a bad day all you want is to be with the person you care about most.
“I realised that every time I was alone I’d just want to be with him, and because he felt the same we decided to take the plunge.
“We have so much in common, we both loves films and we’re both goofy, so we’re going to have a lot of fun living together.
“We’re just like any other couple, we just have one major difference.
“We have an active sex life together, there’s no issue at all with that.
“Moving in is going to be such an exciting addition to our life and makes me excited for our future.
“Although I’ve known since our first date that Russell doesn’t want to get married again or have children, I’m sure we’ll have enough adventures to make up for it.”