Doug Hutchinson, 51-year-old star of "Lost" and "The Green Mile" recently wed 16-year-old Courtney Stodden. Although Courtney was too young to legally marry Doug, she did so with her mother's parental consent.
Marriages with extreme age differences have existed throughout history. Men in the Bible had young wives, kings and queens married at 12 and 13, and it was not uncommon for a landowner to chose the young girl next door as his bride. Not to be outdone, celebrities have also married those much younger (i.e., Woody Allen, Jerry Lee Lewis, Larry King, etc.). So this is not a new phenomenon.
As there is a long-standing history of such marriages, we still freak out when hearing stories like this. In this case, you have to wonder what a 51-year-old and a 16-year-old have in common? How did mom allow her daughter to marry a man 35 years her senior? Is the daughter trying to become famous?
In each state, marriage consent laws specify at what age an individual may legally marry (hence why mom had to give consent since Courtney is not 18). Assuming that these laws exist for a reason and that most young people don't have enough life experience to agree to marry, I wonder what criteria mom used to determine that her daughter was "ready". Which is the bigger issue here, the age difference or the fact that mom agreed to this union?
For a list of U.S. age of marriage consent laws click here.
Read more about the newlyweds here.