Love knows no bounds and nowhere is that more evident with Tom and Stacey Crutchfield, a married couple from Homestead, Florida.
What makes their relationship remarkable is that Tom is 70 while Stacey is 38.
But despite Tom often being mistaken for Stacey’s grandfather, they are showing people that the 32-year age gap isn’t an issue.
The pair met when Stacey started working on Tom’s reptile farm where they still live and work. Despite being happily married, they still face a few challenges in public.
“We had a lady come up to us once and started hitting on Tom,” said Stacey. “She said ‘you have such a beautiful granddaughter.’
“People mistake Tom for my dad quite a bit but I have just learned not to care what other people think. I’m not going to let them ruin the love of my life and being happy.”
Tom added: “It’s the best thing that ever happened to me in a long long time. I’m super happy.
“We know we won’t have as much time as some others would have together, but we will make the best out of whatever time we have. There is only one way to live and that’s a day at a time. I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid of not living enough while I’m alive.”
Stacey initially met Tom through Facebook in 2010 when her Iguana needed medical help (Tom is a retired professional herpetologist). But she only went to visit him after several years and started working on his farm after switching from a 10-year career in the medical field.
“I just really needed a change and Tom needed help around the farm and stuff and within a week I just packed up whatever fit in my little car and drove from Connecticut to Florida,” Stacey explained.
“Originally I was going to stay for few months, get my stuff together, work here, help out and then apply for jobs and go back into the medical field, and I just ended up staying with the animals.”
Tom was initially apprehensive as the thought Stacey was too young but the relationship grew until they married in May 2018.
“We kind of fell for each other over a long period of time,” said Tom.
Stacey continued: “First we were kind of against it because of the age difference. We kind of tried to shy away from it.
“But we really, really liked being with each other and we started to have feelings and after a point, we just said ‘why fight it?’”
And with the thousands of reptiles to care for, they spend most of the day together.
“I tell people that most couples go out to work separately in the day and see each other in the evening but we are together 24/7,” explained Stacey.
And how do they remain in good terms even after constantly close proximity?
“We sleep in separate bedrooms,” said Tom. “It’s fantastic. She has her bedroom and I have mine. We watch movies in my bedroom and she will go back to do cross stitch. We’re together 24/7 so it is nice to have our privacy.”
“We have the choice if we want to stay in the same room at night. There are some nights when we do, and the other nights if we want to watch separate things on TV, we have the option,” Stacey added.
Apart from their happy life together, they have also gained acceptance from both sides of the family.
Tom’s four daughters all love Stacey and don’t mind her age (the eldest is 48).
Stacey’s mother, Susan, who is four years younger than Tom, was skeptical at first but has also come to accept the relationship.
“I was a little upset about it,” she said. “I did not know who Tom was so it was hard for me to just pack up and come down but once we came down and we met Tom we knew he is a great guy. He is really nice.”
And the same thing goes for Stacey’s dad, who is five years younger than Tom.
“I am proud of it,” he said. “I like to tell people that he is famous now so I am proud of it and it makes me feel younger.”
Of course, there are concerns on whether or not Tom will need a carer when he gets older but Stacey is willing to do it herself considering she has a medical background.
“What really makes the difference is with whom you have the relationship, not how old they are,” said Tom. “She is beautiful inside as she is outside. She has a wonderful heart, she loves animals and people, and she means no harm to anyone. I love her a lot for that and she loves me.”
Stacey added: “I just love Tom for who he is.”
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