A woman who is in a relationship with a man nearly twice her age has revealed that she is often mistaken for his daughter.
Aaliya Lara, 25, from from Rancho Cucamonga, Southern California, and her husband, Steve Lara, 48, have been together for just under two years, and married last August.
Since tying the knot in Las Vegas, Aaliya has found ‘a deep sense of peace’ – but the 23-year age gap has resulted in a few rather awkward encounters.
She has been mistaken for being her husband’s daughter – with his own daughter a year older than her.
The couple have gone viral on TikTok, with a clip garnering 7.5 million views, with trolls slamming their relationship as ‘sick’.
Aaliya Lara (left), 25, from from Rancho Cucamonga, Southern California , and her husband, Steve Lara (right), 48, have been together for just under two years, and married last August
But the duo hopes to set the record straight and prove that love is love – regardless of age differences.
‘Many times, people have told him that his daughters – referring to me and my five-year-old – are beautiful and I quickly let them know I’m his wife.’
‘At restaurants, they will ask if I need a child’s menu.
‘I don’t consider these comments negative, but they are very embarrassing.
‘Since I’ve posted our relationship online though, the negative comments have been plentiful.
‘[We get] comments like, “This is sick”, “He’s a predator”, “He will leave you for someone younger when you get older”, and many more that I try to block as soon as they pop up.
‘I think the most negative, hateful comment I’ve received was, along the lines of “Bruce Willis got dementia and his young wife left him, she’s going to do the same thing”.
‘From the outside looking in, I guess our relationship can seem shallow. But it breaks my heart for someone to even speak something like dementia into existence for the man I love.
Since tying the knot in Las Vegas , Aaliya has found ‘a deep sense of peace’ – but the 23-year age gap has resulted in a few rather awkward encounters
The age gap couple now live together along with Aaliya’s daughter Addilyn (pictured in the middle)
Aaliya has been mistaken for being her husband’s daughter – with his own daughter a year older than her
‘On top of that, the statement is completely untrue.
‘I’ve taken into consideration everything that comes with dating a man older than me.
‘It may sound naïve, but I am prepared to deal with whatever is thrown at us and intend to take care of him until his last breath.
‘No matter how difficult it may get because that’s the kind of connection we’ve built in our friendship way before getting married.’
Despite the negativity they have faced, Aaliya insists the positive always outweighs the bad – including support from their followers.
Aaliya has received a stream of negative comments online since posting about their relationship- above is Steve photographed in 1998
Steve often gets mistaken for Aaliya’s father online and in person- pictured above is Aaliya in 1998
Despite the negativity they have faced, Aaliya insists the positive always outweighs the bad – including support from their followers
Despite the many negative comments, some have shared positive thoughts about the age gap relationship
The couple first met when Steve was in LA for a business meeting and she ‘caught his eye’ in September 2019
She said: ‘My favorite comment was, “I can tell he loves you so much by the look in his eyes”.
‘We’ve received a lot of support online from couples in their own age-gap relationships.
‘While I didn’t intend to be one of the faces of age gap love, I’m happy to step up and prove to the doubters that our love is real.’
The couple first met when Steve was in LA for a business meeting and she ‘caught his eye’ in September 2019.
Aaliya, who is mother to daughter, Addilyn, said: ‘At first there was no real connection beyond a normal physical attraction, but he was attractive enough that I gave him my number when he asked, and after some back-and-forth texting, I went on a date with him.’
At first, Aaliya said there was a physical connection when the couple locked eyes in a bar back in 2019
The age gap couple are looking into fertility options soon as they long to have a child of their own
Steve is also a father to Adrianna, 26, and Cristian, 22, from a previous relationship. But Aaliya is yet to form a close relationship with them
The pair have gone from strength to strength since tying the knot last August, with Steve now residing with Aaliya and Addilyn (pictured)
The pair have gone from strength to strength since tying the knot last August, with Steve now residing with Aaliya and Addilyn.
Aaliya said: ‘Addilyn loves Steve very deeply.
‘One of the reasons we married so soon is because we’ve been trying since November 2021 to have a child of our own.
‘We’re hoping to start looking into fertility help soon.’
Steve is also a dad to Adrianna, 26, and Cristian, 22, from a previous relationship.
Aaliya said: ‘I’ve met them both, but have not yet had the chance to build a relationship with them.
Now Aaliya is in a home that is owned by Steve, it gives her ‘a deep sense of joy and stability that I needed growing up’
After two years of dating, Aaliya and Steve tied the knot in a small ceremony in Las Vegas last August
The couple have caused a sensation online, with a clip garnering 7.5 million views, but trolls have slammed their relationship as ‘sick’
Aaliya with her daughter, Addilyn. She is looking into having fertility treatment so that she and Steve can have a child together
‘I understand this might be a little weird for them and they might not be sure of my intentions for their father.’
The mother also shared some of the benefits of having such a large age gap.
She said: ‘Some of the best parts for me of being in an age gap relationship is the wisdom and stability my partner has.
‘There were many things I didn’t learn or know when we met and he has really opened my mind to how limitless we all really are in life.
‘None of my family who lives in California own their homes, my husband has owned many and we currently own the home we live in, and that gives me a deep sense of joy and stability that I needed growing up.
Now, Aaliya is a stay-at-home mother, but she sometimes gets bored in the house alone when Steve is at work
Aaliya recognises the age gap between the couple- but is willing to look after Steve in his old age
Aaliya has dated men that her older than her before- but none of them were the right fit for her life
The mother-of-one urged others to ‘find someone who truly loves you and supports you’ and not let yourself be used
Aaliya said that she sometimes gets bored when Addilyn is at school and her husband is at work
‘Some of the worst parts are mostly problems I create.
‘I am only 25 and sometimes I want to stay up all night and giggle in bed or watch TV and my husband just can’t keep up with that – he needs his rest.
‘It’s not so much our age that gets in the way of my lack of responsibilities and his over-abundance of responsibilities.
‘I’m fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mother and not have to work, and that just gets a little boring sometimes when he’s gone at work and my daughter is at school.’
She also shared some advice for dating older men.
Aaliya said when finding the right partner ‘it’s really in the small details where you will find the answer to whether a person is right for you or not’
While the family have been out enjoying a meal together, Aaliya has been asked whether she needs the kids menu
Aaliya doesn’t find the comments she receives to be negative, but instead she finds them ’embarrassing’
Users have flocked to the comment section to share their thoughts on the relationship, and one thought Steve was Aaliya’s father
She said: ‘It is true that some men have bad intentions when it comes to dating younger women.
‘I’ve dated men older than my husband and they were not the right fit.
‘Don’t allow yourself to be used nor abused. Find someone who truly loves you and supports you.
‘It’s really in the small details where you will find the answer to whether a person is right for you or not.
‘For the people who create stigmas around age-gap relationships, I would just say I hope that you can find the love that we’re experiencing one day.’