Despite the age gap, the couple finds ways to keep their youth alive.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 13, 2021. It has since been updated.
Dick Van Dyke, known for his role in movies like Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, first met his present wife, Arlene Silver when she was working as a make-up artist at the SAG awards in 2006. The two realized immediately that they had a spark. In fact, this connection forced Van Dyke to sit down at her table and introduced himself, something he usually never did. “I never approached a strange woman in my life,” the actor told Oprah: Where Are They Now?, quoted HuffPost. “[It was] instinct. So, I walked over, sat down, and introduced myself."
Silver, too, felt the same way about her husband. “I remember seeing Dick at the catering table with his bow tie and his big smile,” she recalled. “Right when I sat down, he was sitting next to me. He said, ‘Hi, I’m Dick.’ The first thing I asked him was, ‘Weren’t you in Mary Poppins?’”
The two started off as friends, and eventually, it grew into a relationship. “I didn’t really realize how powerful the relationship was becoming,” Silver, 50, said. “I would come over but I didn’t want to bother him I guess. He gets so many people around him I didn’t want to be intrusive, so I would just say I’ll come over after work and we’ll have dinner, and it turns out he was looking forward to it the whole day.”
She still remembers the first moment she saw her husband as more than just a friend. “When we were working together on a movie, there was one time when we were doing a night shoot… and he was laughing like he always does, but it was the way he was lit or something—he had on a sweater and I thought, ‘Wait a minute!’ I just felt a little different.” The two have a 46-year gap in their relationship, but that has never affected their love in any manner. As a matter of fact, Van Dyke is still young at heart, says Silver.
“He is a lot of fun. He’s not immature in a bad way. He’s immature in a good way with the wonder of a child,” she said. “He’s just fun, he’s open-minded. He’s not stuck in his ways at all. We’re both like children. We feel like we’re both having a second childhood.”
The time they spent in a relationship convinced the actor that Silver was the love of his life. “She would drop by, cook my dinner or bring me dinner, and just took care of me. So, I mean, I had to marry her,” Van Dyke joked. “I became totally dependent!” Then, on February 29, 2012, the two decided to take their relationship to the next level, by getting married. "She’s given me a third life, and I’m tickled to death with it,” he said. “It’s a really nice relationship, most people like her a lot,” Van Dyke's publicist told ABC News. “Despite their obvious age difference, Dick has never been happier. She brings a lot of light into his life.”
Van Dyke has been married twice before, but for Silver, this is her first marriage. “I haven’t been married before so it’s wonderful. He’s the perfect human being but he’s also the perfect partner,” she told HuffPost. “I went through a lot of frogs to get my prince.”
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Paul Morigi