Sussex couple with 29-year age gap: 'We've proved our critics wrong'

A Sussex couple who share a 29-year age gap celebrate 12 years of married bliss this week - and are preparing to take their unlikely love story to the big screen.

William Smith, 31, met wife-to-be Marilyn Buttigieg, 60, both from Crawley when he was just 16.

The two met in 2006 when Marilyn’s son brought best friend William home from school.

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After a whirlwind romance, the happy couple were married at Crawley Register Office on April, 23 2009 before honeymooning in Marilyn’s native Gibraltar.

People were sceptical about their relationship but the pair have since proved their critics wrong, and want to show the world their struggle for love.

William said: “We are thrilled to be celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary. We have had a tough time over the years but are glad to be reaching this milestone together.

“We feel good that we have, and are continuing, to prove all our critics that said we wouldn’t last wrong.

“Our story has been told so many times in the media. However, no one truly knows the sacrifice we had to endure just for falling in love with each other.

Marilyn Buttigieg, 60, and William Smith, 31, will celebrate 12 years of marriage this week - and now they are planning to bring their love story to the silver screen. Picture courtesy of William Smith

“We want to bring our story to the big screen to show in detail the obstacles we had to face to be together.”

William has penned the script himself and the couple will direct the upcoming feature through their own production company Destiny Film Productions.

The film is currently looking for backers, despite the couple sinking a considerable amount of their own money into the project.

William is hoping to have the film completed by the end of the year and revealed he wanted a Hollywood superstar to play the role of his wife.

The couple hit the front pages of the Crawley Observer in 2009 when the couple, who share a 29-year age gap, tied the knot

He added: “I have written the script along with taking an extensive film school course on filmmaking so; we are fully prepared to start the filming process.

“If money was no object, then Salma Hayek would be perfect to play Marilyn. For myself I am not sure who I’d get to play me.

“As for funding we are still in the process of setting up a marketing campaign we already have a few thousand of our own money going into the project.

“However, we need a substantial amount more. I have set up a GoFundMe page at

William would like to see Hollywood superstar Salma Hayek play Marilyn in the upcoming film based on their story. Picture courtesy of William Smith

“We are yet to receive donations as we have not truly gone live yet with our campaign.

“Due to Covid everything has been pushed back but we are now hoping to have it completed by the end of the year.”