A 27-year-old single mother and her 57-year-old fiance have spoken out to defend their unconventional age gap relationship, insisting that opposites really do attract in every way.
Engaged couple Keith Richoux and Ashley Kilpatrick, from New Orleans, are different in a lot of ways: he’s 57 years old and a widower, she’s 27 and mom to a four-year-old. Ashley is African American, Keith is white, with a touch of Santa Claus about him. Ashley describes herself as more liberal than ‘conservative’ Keith.
And yet the pair, who are due to tie the knot in September, say it is because they are polar opposites that their relationship works – and explains why after just four months, the couple got engaged.
Unconventional: A 27-year-old single mother and her 57-year-old fiance have spoken out to defend their unconventional age gap relationship
Opposites attract: Keith Richoux and Ashley Kilpatrick, from New Orleans, met on Tinder, just seven months after his wife of 28 years passed away
Ashley told Truly: ‘We complement each other because we’re complete opposites. I don’t think we could get more opposite. Except me, I mean aside from the external things like our age and our race and things like that, our upbringing was completely different.
‘I’m so liberal like I don’t think I could get more liberal and he’s definitely a conservative. He’s jeans and T-shirt type of guy. I’m like heels and dresses.’
Keith added: ‘I would imagine, the old saying “opposites attract” is true.’
The unlikely couple met through Tinder, with Keith making the first move. After messaging back and forth they exchanged numbers and agreed to a quick call.
That short phone call turned into a couple of hours and the pair made plans to meet the very next day at a Japanese steak house in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
Family: The couple got engaged just four months after they went on their first date, and Keith is now helping to raise Ashley’s young son, whose name she has not revealed
Love at first chat: After meeting on Tinder, the couple arranged to chat on the phone – and their conversation lasted for hours
First date: Soon after that phone call, the couple arranged to go out to dinner in the French Quarter of New Orleans
Ashley said: ‘It was a great dinner and then we went and had drinks afterwards and that was amazing as well.
‘We were just talking and we kind of didn’t want to leave each other.’
Becoming almost inseparable, early into their dating, the couple were aware that their different age and race would attract attention in public.
Ashley said: ‘Being an interracial couple, when we first started dating, I’m like, “There’s going to be issues” and I’ve dealt with it because as an African American person in America, especially in the south, I deal with prejudice on a daily basis from my job to just everyday life.
‘We’ll go somewhere and I can see how a sales associate or a restaurant worker or something will treat Keith before they realize that we’re together. And it’s just so evident for me.
Haters: Ashley says that their relationship comes under a great deal of scrutiny, both because of their age difference, and because they are an interracial couple
Hitting back: She admits that some people see the couple and assume that she is just using Keith for his money
Memory: Keith was married to Jennifer for 28 years, and when she passed away, he said he knew he ‘couldn’t be alone’
‘It’s getting better. But there’s still aways to go. But as far as our relationship, it doesn’t really affect our relationship.’
The speed with which Ashley and Keith got engaged however, has caused some issues with friends and family. Because aside from getting engaged quickly, Keith was widowed just seven months before meeting Ashley.
Worry: The widower said that a lot of people were worried about him rushing into a relationship so soon after his wife’s death
He said: ‘Jennifer was my wife. She passed last June. We were married for 28 years. So it’s a big part of my life. Like I told Ashley, she will always be in my heart. I mean, it was my wife. She always has that place.
‘A lot of people worried about word of mouth because I rushed into a new relationship. But I mean after 28 years of being with somebody, I needed somebody in my life. I couldn’t be alone anymore.’
Ashley added: ‘I can only hope to have 28 years of my own with Keith. To me, that’s like a beautiful thing. And I think I don’t have concerns now.
‘But when we first met there were concerns, obviously like anybody will have concerns knowing that he’s a widower so soon into meeting you. But I don’t have those concerns now.’
The 30-year age gap has also caused assumptions about why Ashley would be dating a man like Keith.
Looking ahead: ‘I can only hope to have 28 years of my own with Keith. To me, that’s like a beautiful thing,’ Ashley said
Working hard: Ashley hits back at claims that she is a sugar baby, insisting that she has her own full-time job and makes enough money to support herself
Happy: ‘We just got to live for today and enjoy each other today and hope that we do have it tomorrow,’ Keith said
She said: ‘There is a stigma that the appeal for me would be that Keith is very wealthy and that’s why I’m with him.
‘We went to a company Christmas party. The night went by and everybody knew I was dating someone older. And then later on from an undisclosed source, I find out that, ‘oh, she’s not going to be working here that much longer. She must have met him on a sugar daddy website.’
‘I think it’s really ridiculous that people think that I’m with Keith because I’m a sugar baby or anything like that mostly because I think the fact that I still work full time actually over full time as a salaried employee and spend 50 to 60 hours plus a week away from my son is evident that it’s not a sugar daddy-sugar baby relationship.’
Regardless of what the critics think, Ashley and Keith are looking forward to building a life together.
Keith finished: ‘We just got to live for today and enjoy each other today and hope that we do have it tomorrow.’