When it comes to the dating lives of the rich and famous, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that we’re, well, very obsessed. Take the Kardashian-Jenners and their extended family: for years we’ve pored over the ups and downs of each family member’s love life. And one person who’s come under quite the microscope is, of course, Scott Disick.
Following his decade-long relationship with Kourtney Kardashain, recent years have seen Scott getting into a string of high-profile romances with the likes of Sofia Richie, Amelia Hamlin and Bella Thorne. One ongoing theme linking Scott’s recent relationships is the age gap between the 38-year-old and his partners.
Sofia Richie, now 23, and Amelia Hamlin, now 20, were both 19 when they first started dating Scott; as was Bella Thorne, now 24, during the pair’s short-lived fling. Scott himself has discussed the trend on numerous occasions, and episodes of new series The Kardashians have even seen him outwardly joking about the age gaps between him and his exes. But, when we relate so much of our own dating experiences to the ones we see on TV, are these jokes actually funny, or are they just pretty uncomfortable?
Let’s dive into an early episode of new Hulu/Disney+ series The Kardashians. We see Scott sitting down with Khloé Kardashian to discuss his feelings towards ex Kourtney’s new relationship with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker.
In doing so, Scott touches upon his own history of dating younger women, with him and Khloé both suggesting that any future “serious” relationships for him would likely need to be with somebody older than his past girlfriends have been, or closer to his own age. “I think that’s a big step for me. But not over 30,” he jokes in a later confessional.
He then seems to change his tone, adding, “Oh, whatever, 30, over 30, I don’t [care]- whatever it is. If I love somebody, doesn’t matter their age,” along with a dubiously serious nod. The producer then asks, “Are you sure about that?” with Scott instantly responding, “I’m not sure about that.” It’s clear, whether truthful or not, that the whole exchange is supposed to be sarcastic and funny.
In a later episode, Scott tells Kris and Khloé about a joke that was cut during Kim’s Saturday Night Live show: “Basically, I say to [Kourtney], ‘You know the reason I date young girls is because I’m trying to add them all up so they’re your age.” The Kardashians isn't the first time, either - responding to a question about the fact that he’s dated “much younger women”, Scott told host Andy Cohen during the Keeping Up With The Kardashians finale reunion, “Everybody gets this wrong, that I look for young girls. I don’t go out looking for young girls. They happen to be attracted to me, ‘cause I look young,” before joking, “That’s what I’m telling myself.” Kris Jenner even chimes in on the laughs, adding, “You tell ‘em, Scott.”
Scott’s jokes are of course only comments on his own situation, and Sofia Richie previously told Cosmopolitan she thought their age gap was ‘great’.
But there’s a wider conversation happening. One where we’re starting to question the potential built-in risks of (often) older men dating younger women - particularly those aged around 18 to 20 - which can leave the latter vulnerable to being manipulated, perhaps even unconsciously. I’m hearing similar discussions more and more frequently, on social media and from friends: about how, while an 18-year-old dating an adult of any age is legal and technically OK, there can be a huge disparity in dating and life experience, and that can often cause a problem.
Looking back at my own experiences, being 19/20 and dating 26/27-year-olds, what at the time felt fine and ‘mature’, now feels uncomfortable reflecting five years later. I recently stumbled on an old selfie where I’d just turned 20, and felt struck but just how young I look. With the added power of hindsight, I realise how naive and vulnerable I actually was at the time of the photo, and how a lack of life experience led me to just go along with whatever somebody older was telling me to do.
This isn’t the case for all age gaps; as we get older, an age gap can feel less important - but in your late teens and early twenties, it's significant. A friend, who dated a 28-year-old man at 18, agreed, and said that she wouldn't behave the same way now.
It also made me wonder: what did they see in me? Everyone is different and there won’t be a universal answer, but I have my suspicions that being easy to mould and manipulate was likely part of the appeal. Thinking back to that time with a new perspective made me feel horrible.
With many of us re-thinking our own experiences, it understandably feels uncomfortable to see Scott joking about this particular trend in his dating history so flippantly. And I wonder if the likes of Sofia and Amelia will feel similar to me looking back.
In fact, Scott even seems to join the conversation himself at one point in The Kardashians, agreeing with Khloé's suggestion that any "real and serious" future relationships would have to be "more age appropriate." "Yeah, like, you know, upper 20s," Scott responds. He then appears himself to admit the differences between dating somebody similar to his own age versus younger. “When you’re with an equal, you have to go back and forth,” he explains, with Khloé adding, “They challenge you.” The whole exchange shines a light on how both Scott and Khloé seem to be very much aware of how age-gap relationships often operate differently to others, and are still happy to joke about it anyway.
Of course, there are plenty of examples of celebrity age-gap relationships that have thrived without being problematic. Scott’s ex Sofia previously divulged to Cosmopolitan that people making a big deal about their age difference was ‘on them,’ saying she thought the gap was ‘great’. She also compared their 15-year difference to her parents Lionel Richie and Diane Alexander, who are 18 years apart and were married for nine years, with Sofia thinking they’re ‘perfection’. Then there’s George and Amal Clooney, who have 17 years between them, while Jason Statham and Rosie-Huntington-Whiteley have a 20-year gap - both two of Hollywood’s favourite pairings.
Still, thanks to our collectively increased awareness around the potential imbalances in age-gap relationships, particularly where one person is just 19 or similar, it can still feel like Scott's jokes are landing badly. These are, of course, real women being spoken about too, which only seems to make the laughs feel worse. And perhaps it's only when you sit and relate your own experiences back to what's on screen (as many of us will) that you'll understand.
We have reached out to Scott’s reps for comment but didn’t receive a response.
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