"I'm not her mother. I'm her lover, I'm her girlfriend, I'm her partner," 61-year-old Eileen said. She fell in love with Julia despite a 37-year age gap, but it wasn't always easy. This is their unique love story.
Julia Zelg, a popular social media influencer and aspiring singer, found her niche on Instagram. She was 24 years old and trying to make it on the internet when she met a special someone who would change her life forever.
But long before that, Zelg was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She later moved to London to take off her career. And take off it did: Julia's YouTube channel eventually garnered over 100,000 subscribers. "I post a lot of different things about my life or even about fashion. Literally, everything I'm interested in," the vlogger shared.
And this is Eileen De Freest, a 61-year-old political correspondent who later became a YouTube star in her own right. "I work in social media and for politics," she explained. The driven woman also resided in London, although it wasn't her hometown, either.
Eileen was born in the United States and later moved to the United Kingdom, where she became an occasional correspondent on BBC Radio Politics. Before that big career move, De Freest studied at the College of New Jersey and the City University of New York.
She Felt Lonely
While the 61-year-old had plenty of degrees and a good job, something was missing in her life: true love. Eileen had been in love before and had partners, but nothing that lasted forever. So she went on Tinder for some fun and to hopefully meet a compatible girlfriend.
And so did 24-year-old Julia. Like Eileen, she'd had girlfriends before but had yet to meet the one. The two women ended up matching on Tinder and realized how similar they were. "We have so many things in common. The only things that are different are our ages and our, probably, fashion styles," Zelg shared.
"Julia Doesn't Make Me Feel Insecure"
The two ladies clicked almost instantly despite a 37-year age gap. But with their age differences came physical dissimilarities, and Eileen couldn't help but feel a lack of confidence because of that. "Julia doesn't make me feel insecure, but I make myself feel insecure," she said.
"I wonder sometimes, do people wonder, you know, why she's with me?" De Freest explained. "I gained weight over the years, and Julia is quite a beautiful woman. But, you know, I delight in her beauty. I just feel slightly self-conscious if that makes more sense." Could the new lovers get past Eileen's insecurities?
Should Eileen Walk Away?
Insecurity and a lack of self-love weren't the only troubles on Eileen's mind. She also struggled with accepting the women's 37-year age gap. Could De Freest be with someone almost four decades younger than her? The political correspondent couldn't help but wonder if it was right.
"I thought long and hard, 'Should I not get in this relationship?' Should I, do I have a responsibility to turn around and say no because there is such a big age difference, or does one just grab love?" Eileen confessed. She had a lot to think about and a big decision to make.
Their YouTube Debut
Ultimately, the attraction and chemistry between Eileen and Julia was too strong to deny. Even with decades between them, De Freest knew that this was the kind of thing that shouldn't be given up on. So it didn't take long for the lovebugs to fall head over heels for one another.
Once Julia and Eileen were madly in love, the 24-year-old wanted to share it with the world. Well, at least with her thousands of YouTube subscribers. "I'm so happy to introduce you to my beautiful, beautiful girlfriend," Zelg said on their debut video. But the reaction wasn't what she hoped for...
They Called Eileen "Mommy" and "Grams"
Some people were supportive of the women's relationship and ecstatic to see their favorite YouTube star so happy and in love. But others... not so much. "People can leave nasty messages," said Eileen. Many of those mean comments were about the lovers' 37-year age gap.
"We do get that thing a lot about 'mommy' and 'grandmother.' You know, and we get 'grams,'" Eileen revealed. "We get that a lot. I kind of understand that this person's frame of reference is very narrow, and I feel sorry for them. But it does make me upset a little bit." And those weren't the only cruel comments they got...
"We Pay Everything Equally."
Some users had nasty words for Eileen, calling her "grandma" and "mommy" even though they knew that she was Julia's girlfriend. But others were just as cruel to the 24-year-old. Some people claimed that Zelg was only with De Freest for financial benefits.
But Julia knew that wasn't the case. By the time the influencer met Eileen, she was already a popular YouTuber and making bank. "There are people who think all age gap relationships are for money, and that really annoys me a little bit because we pay everything equally," Zelg said. Could their love survive the negative vibes?
They Pushed Forward
The couple felt that the age gap wasn't the only reason people were against their love. "I think we get hate comments mostly because of our age difference but also because we are gay," Julia said. Sadly, she is aware that there are some who still do not support same-sex relationships.
But the lovebirds pushed forward. "We will not let any haters stop us because we just love each other," Julia added. "I'm not her mother. I'm her lover, I'm her girlfriend, I'm her partner," said Eileen. So not too long after the gals' YouTube debut, they took a very big step in their relationship.
Moving in Together
Julia and Eileen loved each other dearly and spent most of their free time together. So it seemed natural to move in together soon after they started dating. "I know things have moved quite fast with us, but you know, sometimes that is just the way it is," Zelg said.
They might've been moving fast, but it certainly didn't ruin things between them. "This just feels right. We're together because we love each other," Eileen said. "As Julia very beautifully said once, 'We couldn't not be together,' you know?" But some people couldn't help but wonder about a particular aspect of their relationship.
The Age Gap Didn't Affect Their Passion
Some of Julia's subscribers wondered if there was enough passion and attraction in the relationship despite their decades-long age gap. And the truth was, Zelg once wondered the same thing. The 24-year-old admitted that before Eileen, she "used to think that most older women" wouldn't be interested in intimacy.
But that turned out to be far from reality. "I guess I was wrong. We don't have any problems with that," Julia shared. And Eileen couldn't agree more. "I mean, I have never been with anybody as exciting as her," De Freest added. "And fun as hell." But still, their relationship wasn't all paradise...
Julia & Her Mom
Eileen and Julia were able to accept the 37 years between them. In fact, they embraced it and proudly displayed their love on YouTube. But there was another age gap that was a bit more uncomfortable: De Freest was also eight years older than Zelg's mom.
"My mom is 53. I guess some people think it's a bit weird that my mom is a few years younger than Eileen," Julia explained. The 61-year-old partner added, "I have to, you know, deal with that." De Freest had yet to meet her lover's mother, who lived in Brazil.
Preparing for Brazil
Julia was close to her mom and knew it was important that she meet Eileen. So the couple planned a trip to Brazil and hoped that things would go smoothly. But as the flight date got closer, old insecurities popped up for De Freest. "One thing I know for sure is that you guys are beach-loving people," she said to Zelg.
Eileen continued, "And the women wear barely-there bathing suits. I know that for a fact because I have to, you know, deal with that because I won't be wearing a barely-there bathing suit; I'll be wearing a one-piece." Julia lovingly reassured her, "You're going to look wonderful."
"I Was a Little Afraid"
Bikinis weren't the only thing on Eileen's mind. She was mostly preoccupied with the idea of meeting Julia's mother. "I'm so excited about going to Brazil," said De Freest. "I'm really, really thrilled, and I was a little afraid, to be honest." The 61-year-old hoped that Zelg's mom would like her.
"I'm sure I'll have some moments, you know, where I'll be a little nervous," Eileen continued. Before they knew it, the two lovebirds were on a plane to Brazil and inching closer to Julia's mom. "I'm so thrilled to be getting off [the plane]," De Freest said shortly before landing. "And into the arms of your mama."
Julia's Mom Was Nervous
Julia and Eileen were filled with both nerves and excitement as they prepared to disembark and have the long-awaited meet-and-greet at the airport. And the duo weren't the only ones feeling some anxieties over the encounter. Zelg's mom, Ingrid, did as well.
"I get very nervous, you know, when I'm at the airport waiting," Ingrid confessed. "Even if Julia is coming on her own, let alone with an additional person on top of that to meet for the first time. My expectations were very high." What would she think of her daughter's older partner?
An Airport Meet
When Julia and Eileen disembarked the plane from London to Brazil, they were met by Zelg's loving mother at the airport gates. "Nice to meet you," Ingrid said as she gave De Freest a big, welcoming hug. She certainly came with an open heart, but would things work out?
Just a few minutes after Eileen and Ingrid met for the first time, Julia wanted to know what they thought of one another so far. "First impressions of each other?" Zelg asked her mom and her girlfriend. "Lovely," answered De Freest. "Very good," added Ingrid.
Julia and Eileen could handle the loathsome comments thrown at them by online strangers. But getting that from Ingrid would be a whole different story. Zelg was really close to her mom, and both she and De Freest wanted the 53-year-old mother's blessing.
But the truth was, Ingrid was quite shocked by Eileen and Julia's relationship. More specifically, she was surprised by the nearly forty years difference between them. "I didn't imagine that Julia would have a girlfriend so much older," the caring mom told Truly.
What Did Ingrid Think Now?
Ingrid admitted she was a bit taken aback by the women's 37-year age difference. But at the end of the day, what mattered most was her daughter's happiness. So the mother ultimately accepted the relationship, age gap, and all. "For me, it's not a problem," Ingrid said.
And after spending a lot of quality time together in Brazil, Ingrid felt she knew her daughter's partner a little better. "I really enjoyed meeting Eileen," the mom said. "I am already used to the idea [of the age gap] and [Julia] being happy is what matters to me." But how did De Freest feel?
How Did Eileen Feel?
So Ingrid felt at ease with the age gap. But she wasn't the only one who might've felt strange about it. What did Eileen think about being older than her girlfriend's mother? The 61-year-old previously struggled with being older than Julia. So could De Freest accept this other age gap?
The online world soon found out how Eileen felt when the three women starred together on a YouTube vid. "I adore her mother, and I knew that I would. She's every bit as wonderful as Julia," De Freest gushed. The couple had one nerve-wracking thing out of the way, but now, they faced another issue.
Their Fears About the Future
The lovebirds couldn't help but worry about the long-term. "Sometimes, we do worry about the future... Eileen, most likely, won't live as long as me," Julia emotionally admitted. "It just really breaks my heart to think that we can't grow old together."
"That's the first time Julia's ever been able to really say it," Eileen revealed to the camera. "I mean, we've talked about it, of course, but it's a very hard thing to talk about." Would the lovers make the relationship work, knowing that they might not share the same forever?
It Didn't Matter
It was hard to think about Eileen passing away in the future when Julia might still have many years left in her life. But ultimately, the couple decided that they wanted to be together regardless of that. "I love you so much and I want to be with you for as long as we can," Zelg said to De Freest.
Julia continued, "It really doesn't matter to me. Even in the future, when you get older, if we cannot be the couple that is always like, going out and traveling, I don't care as long as I'm with you. And I really love you." She knew Eileen was the one. And soon, the 24-year-old wanted to make things more official.
Taking the Next Step
Julia loved her partner so much that she wanted to call her wife. "I'm sitting on the kitchen floor because I don't want my girlfriend to hear me," Zelg told subscribers in an exciting YouTube video. "Today, I'm going to be proposing to Eileen." The young woman had a romantic plan.
Julia wanted to propose during a little concert where she'd be singing. "What's going to happen is I have a gig today. What I'm planning to do is at the end of one of my songs, I'm going to call her. And then when she's on the stage with everybody watching, I'm going to get the ring," Zelg shared.
Eileen "Never Really" Wanted To Marry
Julia was ecstatic and couldn't wait to propose to Eileen. The 24-year-old knew this woman was the love of her life and wanted to spend forever together. But De Freest had no idea that a proposal was on its way... in fact, the 61-year-old never imagined getting married.
"Have I always wanted to get married? No, I never really wanted to," Eileen admitted. "And I think part of the reason for that is because, I don't know, I grew up in a time where, where gay people just it wasn't something that you even had the right to think about." So would she say yes to Julia?
Julia probably didn't imagine her girlfriend would say anything other than a big "yes" to marriage. "I'm going to kneel down, and I'm going to say, 'Eileen, will you marry me?'" Zelg detailed on YouTube. Much to her (and subscribers') delight, De Freest agreed!
"I didn't have any idea that she would propose," Eileen confessed. "You know, we had a sense that we had something really unusual and unique, but we didn't really think of it - well, I didn't think of it in terms of, you know, is this marriageable or not?" It was only a matter of time until the wedding day arrived.
They Were Both Nervous
The girlfriends had plenty to plan before they could tie the knot. Together, Eileen and Julia found a gorgeous venue, booked separate hotel rooms to get ready in the day of, and sent out the invitations. The wedding day arrived in the blink of an eye, and the lovebirds prepared to say their I do's.
"I'm slightly nervous, obviously," Julia said. "I am happy, but I'm a bit nervous, too." Meanwhile, in another hotel room, Eileen also felt the jitters. "I haven't felt nervous like this in quite a while. It's really a very intense feeling," she said. Would they get cold feet?
Their Loved Ones Came
Hopefully, neither of the women would back out. After all, loved ones came from all over the world to watch them make their love official. "My mom and my auntie and my best friend came from Brazil. And Eileen has some family and friends. They're coming from America," Julia shared.
The support of so many people was important to them, especially to Eileen. "It means a lot to me that Julia's family is so, so accepting and mine as well. But Julia being a younger woman, it is to me incredibly important that she has the love and support of her extended family," she explained.
Their Wedding Dresses
But what mattered most that day was the love between De Freest and Zelg. The women didn't show one another their wedding dresses, wanting to surprise each other. Eileen was especially excited for the reveal as she had very thoughtfully chosen her dress.
"I chose this dress because my beautiful Julia loves cleavage on me," Eileen laughingly shared. But that wasn't the only detail she thought of. De Freest also changed her hair color for the big day. "And the pink hair is in honor of my Julia," the happy bride said.
The Big Moment
Finally, it was time to walk down the aisle. Julia cried as she saw how beautiful her future wife looked. "You have my heart, my mind, my body, and soul for as long as I live," the YouTuber emotionally said during the wedding vows. "I am forever yours, my Eileen, in this life and for all eternity."
Eileen's vows were equally as beautiful. "As you will almost certainly outlive me, I want you to know that I want you to always be open to love as you were before me so that I know that after me, you will always be wholly loved and appreciated for the entirety of your beautiful life," she emotionally said.
Kids in Their Future?
Just a couple of years into the love-filled relationship, Julia and Eileen were officially wife and wife. And marriage only brought the women closer together, strengthening their bond. So some of Zelg's YouTube fans couldn't help but wonder what the couple's next step was...
And they soon got an answer: Julia and Eileen were open to having children. But not right away. "Before deciding whether or not we're ready to start a family (or when that would happen), we wanted to have as much information as possible about where we stood regarding my fertility," Julia explained.
"That's All That Matters"
So as of the time of this article's writing, the lovebirds have been researching fertility and figuring out whether children are in their future together. They certainly came a long way from Eileen's insecurities and doubts about their 37-year age gap.
At the end of the day, they're both as happy as can be with their love and the couple has the unconditional acceptance of loved ones. "Everybody's very supportive, and they know that Eileen makes me so happy, so that's all that matters," Julia said. "And that's what they want; they just want my happiness."