UPDATE #3: In case anyone was worried that I’m not getting enough feedback for writing about this, I’ve received over 1,200 responses. Here are some of the angriest ones, and here are some of the most encouraging and supportive.
UPDATE #2: For those of you saying this is okay because it was a one-time thing, meet Aubrianna Atwell, an ex-girlfriend of Paul’s with whom he began a relationship when he was twenty-eight and she was…yup, sixteen.
UPDATE: A lot of you have asked me in the comments who I am to judge Paul for his relationship…so to answer your question — I’m someone who was involved in a very similar situation when I was sixteen. Since you asked.
Ever since the tragic death of Paul Walker in a car accident this past Saturday, November 30th, we’ve been pretty bombarded with information about the late actor. His friends and former costars have been responding via Twitter, and blogs and news anchors alike keep interrupting the news cycle to assure us that his daughter and his girlfriend are both extremely upset. In case that was ever in question.
But in reading one of the articles about Paul’s girlfriend, Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell, I thought I came across a typo — it said she was twenty-three, which I could understand, given that we live in a world where thirty-eight year old Bradley Cooper is dating twenty-one year old Suki Waterhouse, but it also said that they’d been dating for seven years.
Ha. No way, dude. No way that’s accurate. I kind of grimaced to myself, imagining the embarrassment of the editor who had let an error like that slip through the cracks. But then I looked at several other posts, and they all said the same thing: at the time of his death, Paul, 40, was dating Jasmine, 23, and they’d been together for seven years. Which means at the time of their meeting, she was sixteen and he was…thirty-three.
Now I don’t want to insult his memory or anything, but how the hell did we miss that? How did we miss a seventeen-year age difference that would’ve constituted statutory rape in certain states at the time of their meeting? How did we not realize that at age fifteen, Paul’s daughter Meadow is only a year younger than Jasmine was when he met and started dating her? And that if they’d gotten married, her stepmom would’ve been only eight years older than her. That’s not okay, right? I mean, right? I have no intimate knowledge of the situation, but when a famous Hollywood actor in his thirties starts dating A SOPHOMORE IN HIGH SCHOOL, maybe that deserves another look.
I get that he’s a good-looking guy and that his death is really tragic, but I’d love if we could be a little less casual with statements about their seventeen year age difference and the fact that they started dating when Jasmine was a teenager. That’s not romantic, that’s borderline illegal, depending on the age of consent in the state they were in at the time. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that statutory rape is still a crime.