When Van Dyke first met Silver at the 2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards, he was 81 and she was 35. They have a 46 years age difference.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 30, 2022. It has since been updated.
Love is blind, but that doesn't stop people who are not a part of the relationship from having a lot to say.
Now, Dick Van Dyke, 97, is opening up about his marriage to his much-younger wife, Arlene Silver, 51. He is sharing how worried fans would scrutinize their 46-year age gap. In a new interview with Closer magazine, the Mary Poppins legend mentioned that he “thought there would be an outcry about a gold digger marrying an old man, but no one ever took that attitude.”
Van Dyke—who has a reported fortune of $50 million, according to Heavy—first met Silver at the 2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards. At the time, he was 81 and she was just 35.
Silver, who worked as a makeup artist during the show, recalled the moment she first laid her eyes on the man who would soon become her husband. “He said, ‘Hi, I’m Dick.’ The first thing I asked him was, ‘Weren’t you in “Mary Poppins”?’ We got along immediately as friends, so it didn’t feel like he was so much older than me,” she told the publication.
Soon, they turned into friends and their friendship blossomed into a romance, and they wed in February 2012. Recently, Van Dyke and Silver celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary last month, and it seems they’re still as loved up as the day they said “I do.”
“We share an attitude,” Van Dyke cooed of his wife. “She can go with the flow. She loves to sing and dance, which we do almost every day. She’s just delightful.”
“He is the most perfect human being. I’ve never met anyone so happy, so genuine, so amazing. He’s just like a happy pill,” Silver said of his husband, to whom she is blissfully wedded.
Van Dyke, who is still in the top of his health, told NPR in 2015 that he regretted smoking and drinking when he was younger, saying he gave up the habits decades ago. He also told other seniors to “just keep moving.”
“I have arthritis and all those things, but I keep moving,” he stated. “I didn’t discover dancing and singing until I was in my 30s. It just happened out of nowhere. I regret that I didn’t train a little or take some vocal coaching or something. But I just enjoyed what I had and had fun with it.”
He added that his optimism helped him to stay young. “It’s more in my nature to be optimistic, I think,” he declared. “I’m one of those people who get up on the right side of the bed in the morning. I get up and have a cup of coffee and go to the gym because I talk myself out of it because I will as anybody will.”
“I sometimes forget that we’re doing a great experiment here — 46 years difference. And we work at it to some extent. There’s got to be some understanding, find out what old habits don’t work anymore. It takes some adjusting and fitting in, but that’s part of the fun of it,” he said, of his much younger wife keeping him on his toes.
Silver is Van Dyke’s second wife. The four-time Emmy winner split from his first wife and mother of his four children, Margie Willett, in 1984 after 36 years of marriage. Van Dyke was also in a relationship with actress Michelle Triola for more than 30 years until she died in 2009.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Frederick M. Brown