They got married on July 7, 1946, and have been together ever since. They have beaten the record of former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush.
Some love stories last a lifetime. When you know you have found love, you do everything to keep that special person right next to you. A union like that is forged with respect, trust, and love.
Former President of the United States Jimmy Carter, 95, and his wife Rosalynn Carter, 92, celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary on July 7, 2020, making them the longest-married presidential couple in the US. They married on July 7, 1946, and have been together ever since. Last October, they became the longest-married presidential couple when they broke the previous record set by former President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush. The Bushes had been married 73 years and 111 days when the former first lady Bush died in 2018.
Long before Rosalynn found Jimmy, she thought she would be "an old maid." Even when boys would try to woo her when she lived in the town of Plains, Georgia, she ignored them. "I’d tell my mother to answer the phone and say I wasn’t home. I didn’t know a single boy I thought I’d want to spend my life with,” she recalled in Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas’ What Makes a Marriage Last, as per PEOPLE.
Where they grew up, everyone knew everyone and Rosalynn was close to the Carters. Jimmy’s sister Ruth Carter was her "best friend, and I spent a lot of time at their house, though he was never there," she says. "I always said I fell in love with a photograph of him on her bedroom wall," she says in the book. "My mother said it must have been his white uniform but I don’t know."
She first noticed him when she became a teenager and him 16. "I first started noticing him when I was thirteen,” she says, “and, I mean, there’s just no relationship between a thirteen-year-old and a sixteen-year-old in that situation."
In the initial days, President Carter thought his future wife as "the most timid person I’d ever met" but that turned out to be wrong. "Jimmy has always thought I could do anything. Always. And so I’ve done everything," the former first lady said in What Makes a Marriage Last, according to People. "I campaigned all over the country. I’ve done things I never dreamed I could do."
When they were on the trail, her husband would say, "Rosalynn's my secret weapon." When he was the president, she shone not just as the First Lady but also as a formidable person. "If Rosalynn okays you, you're in," a source told PEOPLE in 1976 after the couple took control of the Oval Office. "If she doesn't, you're dead."
When he lost the election to Ronald Reagan, she took it hard. “I searched for good things about not being reelected, to ease her pain," President Carter told Donahue and Thomas. "I was just fifty-six years old, I told her, and she was just fifty-three, so we had at least twenty-five years of life ahead of us. That’s when the Carter Center was born. It has been a wonderful challenge."
Now, many decades after their marriage, the former president says that they stay active even though it is hard to be alive until the age of 95. He attributes his long life to the "best spouse." "I think the best explanation for that is to marry the best spouse: someone who will take care of you and engage and do things to challenge you and keep you alive and interested in life," he added. He has battled several health challenges over the years, including being diagnosed with melanoma in 2015. In December 2019, he underwent surgery to "relieve pressure on his brain caused by bleeding from a fall," according to CNBC.
He says that they have had a "good life together." The couple share some hobbies like bird watching but also give each other space. And, at this stage in life they only plan one year in advance. They still live a public life working on their humanitarian efforts, something they will not retire from until the end. "Now when we have a quiet moment, like a birthday or something," he told PEOPLE, "we like to stay at home, just by ourselves, and enjoy a quiet day in our own house without any visitors and with minimum phone calls and emails coming in."