Actor and model Michael Hoch from Duisburg, Germany met volunteer student, Sarah Schopp at a theater in 2016 for the first time.
Sarah who is now 20 was just 17 years old at that time. Michael was preparing for a play when Sarah was serving drinks at the theater. The two kept bumping into each other throughout the day and Michael got attracted to her shy personality.
He searched her profile on Facebook and sent her a message but Sarah was quite hesitant to date him due to their age gap and just wanted to stay friends. After a month of chatting, they started their relationship while working in the same building.
Sarah’s family was shocked at first after knowing about their relationship and they warned Michael that he is the same age as his father.
Michael explained: ‘’She was only 17 when we got together. But we couldn’t deny our love for each other at some point and I finally convinced her. The most difficult thing, in the beginning, was that Sarah looks much younger than she is and was also very reserved in the beginning.’’
‘‘I was in the middle of final rehearsals for a new play. Two weeks before the premiere, the director called me into the office, interrupting rehearsals and confronted me. He and his friend had still had a very good relationship with Sarah, and they feared that I wouldn’t be good for her and only wanted a short affair.’’
‘‘In front of the assembled ensemble, I packed my things wordlessly and drove home without saying goodbye to my acting colleagues.’’
‘‘Sarah still works in the theater today. It was terrible, especially for her, because she felt guilty and didn’t know how to behave towards her colleagues. Probably nobody knew what was going on and why I had to leave.’’
‘‘When we were out and about, for example sitting in a cafe, people would often stare at us and watch us.
That still happens to us today.We have also been attacked before because a man did not like the fact that I went hand in hand with a much younger one. He held Sarah’s arm and asked to see her ID. Fortunately, we were able to de-escalate the situation, but it was already very threatening.
‘‘Love knows no boundaries, no matter whether someone is old or young, what they look like, their origin or lifestyle; listen to your heart. What matters is what the heart says and that both partners are happy.’’
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