celebrity

"I witness men doing whatever they like": Kate Beckinsale is sick of the age-gap double standard.

At 46, actress Kate Beckinsale isn’t sitting at home and ‘crocheting her way towards menopause’, and that seems to have some people confused.

The mother of one is single and dating.

Recently, that happens to have involved men who were born a couple of decades after she was. Which, when you’re a woman in the public eye, means more than just raised eyebrows and behind-the-hand whispers. It means headlines and social media comments and debates about the virtues or pitfalls of ‘age gap’ relationships.

It’s all baffling to Beckinsale.

“If you’re strangling a squirrel or hurting someone, I get it,” the Underworld star told Women’s Health this month, “but living one’s life in a reasonably respectful manner shouldn’t invite anyone to get too excited.”

But excited they got.

About her one-year relationship with then 21-year-old American comedian Matt Rife in 2017-8, to her outing with 30-year-old British standup Jack Whitehall, and her almost-four-month relationship with Saturday Night Live comedian, Pete Davidson, 26, last year.

Pete Davidson. Image: Getty.

The latter created the biggest frenzy, presumably courtesy of his profile and recently ended engagement to Ariana Grande. There were headlines about him being her "toyboy", her being his "rebound". At the time, Beckinsale said though the attention on her and Davidson was "quite shocking".

ADVERTISEMENT

"I think if you liked the person less, you would bow out of it," she told The Los Angeles Times. "If that were the main thrust of the relationship, there would be a problem. But it’s not."

Beckinsale clearly hasn't been deterred, though.

She appears to currently be dating Canadian musician Goody Grace, 22.

Goody Grace. Image: Getty.

Though the relationship hasn't been formally confirmed — that's not really Beckinsale's style — the pair have been pictured wandering around LA during the pandemic, hand-in-rubber-gloved-hand.

"I witness men constantly doing whatever they like."

Beckinsale's recent relationships follow the end of her marriage to director Len Wiseman, whom she met on the set of the 2003 movie, Underworld — the first in the five-film, action-horror franchise.

Not even that marriage was free from public criticism. She was labelled promiscuous because their relationship had spelled the end of her eight-year partnership with actor Michael Sheen (famous for roles in Frost Nixon, Twilight Saga: New Moon, Good Omens, among many others).

"I was called a slut when I split up with Michael and began seeing Len," Beckinsale told Allure in 2008. "'Oh, she ditched the father of her child and ran off with somebody else.' ... I mean, look around [Hollywood] and tell me one other person who’s slept with only two people in a decade. I might just be the only one."

If that kind of sexist name-calling was going on then— when she went from one long-term relationship to another — well, you can imagine what's happening now that she's dating.

ADVERTISEMENT

Mamamia's pop culture podcast, The Spill, delves into Kate Beckinsale and the outdated debate about age-gap relationships.

Speaking to Women's Fitness this month, Beckinsale questioned why it feels "risqué" or like a "political act" for a woman beyond about 32 to have any fun. At all.

"I witness men constantly doing whatever they like, whether that’s in relationships, or deciding to buy a motorbike, or getting a tattoo. It hasn’t been interpreted as, 'Why hasn’t he had more children?' or, 'Is he ever going to decide to become a parent?' or, 'Why has he had so many girlfriends?'"

Kate Beckinsale and daughter Lily Mo Sheen in 2013. Image: Getty

There's the added layer in the coverage, of course, of Beckinsale being a mother.

Her 21-year-old daughter, Lily, is from her partnership with Sheen, with whom she continues to remain close. "He's really dear, close family," Beckinsale said during a YouTube interview in 2016. "He's somebody I've known since I was 21 years old. I really love him a lot. He's been in my life ever since then."

Sheen, 51, recently welcomed a daughter with his 25-year-old partner, Swedish actress Anna Lundberg. Funnily enough, there have been considerably fewer headlines, comments and debates about their relationship.

Feature image: Getty.


00:00 / ???