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Dick Van Dyke Feared Fans Would Think His Younger Wife Was A Gold Digger

Poppy Bilderbeck

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Dick Van Dyke Feared Fans Would Think His Younger Wife Was A Gold Digger

Legendary actor Dick Van Dyke has spoken out about the reservations he had before marrying wife Arlene Silver.

The American triple threat, who sang, danced and acted his way into family film favourites such as 1964's Mary Poppins and 1968 classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, has opened up about married life and how he found his own happily ever after with make-up artist Silver.

However, the 96-year-old has also revealed the nervousness he felt around Silver being considered a 'gold digger' because of the age-gap between the pair.

Dick Van Dyke and Arlene Silver at the 43rd Kennedy Center Honors. Credit: Alamy
Dick Van Dyke and Arlene Silver at the 43rd Kennedy Center Honors. Credit: Alamy

Van Dyke and Silver first met at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2007.

Silver was tasked with powdering the actor's nose before Van Dyke presented Mary Poppins co-star Julie Andrews with a lifetime achievement award, Closer reports.

Arlene reminisced: "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. [...] 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."

The pair, who have a 46-year age gap, got married in February 2012 and celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary last month.

Despite reflecting on how the duo 'share an attitude' and that Silver 'can go with the flow' and 'loves to sing and dance' –something the pair do 'every day' – Van Dyke admitted that when they first met he was worried there would be backlash over their romance.

Dick Van Dyke and Arlene Silver at the AMD British Academy Britannia Awards. Credit: Alamy
Dick Van Dyke and Arlene Silver at the AMD British Academy Britannia Awards. Credit: Alamy

"I thought there would be an outcry about a gold digger marrying an old man, but no one ever took that attitude," he explained.

Spending his retirement happily married and continuing to flex his Broadway talents, Van Dyke has also used the time to form an a capella quartet called Vantastix.

He noted: "I love to harmonize, so that keeps me going. It’s kind of my retirement amusement. I don’t play golf. I have more fun singing and dancing.”

The 96-year-old has also kept himself busy with backyard workouts, which make me feel even worse about the fact I could barely complete a 20-minute spin class last night...

The former performer was also spotted handing out wads of cash to jobseekers in California, proving that he is not only a legend in Hollywood, but also in real life.

In celebration of their love, Van Dyke and Silver posted a video of themselves onto YouTube on Valentine's Day singing and dancing along to 'Everybody Loves a Lover' by Doris Day.

As Van Dyke told the New York Post: "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."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: TV and Film

Poppy Bilderbeck
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