‘He’s not my dad, he’s my husband’: 39-year age gap
IF YOU see a man in his 70s with a girl in her 30s the obvious assumption is they are father and daughter. But then you notice they're holding hands …
"People give us double takes and stare at us all the time," Katja King shrugs. "I get that. People are trying to work out what we are to each other."
What they are is husband and wife. Kevin, 77, and Katja, 38 have been married for nearly ten years, have a six-year old son together and are still head over heels in love.
"We never meant for this to happen," Katja says, telling Kidspot how she met Kevin when she was backpacking around Australia from her home in Germany.
"The first time I saw Kevin wasn't exactly love at first sight," she laughs. "He'd just started a trip around Australia too and we met at a caravan park in Tasmania. We got chatting and he said if I needed a travelling companion I could travel with him."
Katja thought the idea was ridiculous. He was a man her father's, even her grandfather's, age and she politely declined. But at the same time she admits how immediately comfortable she felt with him.
"It was like we had known each other years not minutes," she says. "I think it was fate we both were going to Melbourne on the same day.
"It seemed silly to turn down the offer of a lift and things went from there."
Katja ended up travelling the east and west coasts of Australia with Kevin, just as friends.
"He had young daughters and didn't have designs on me. He was just lonely," Katja says.
Kevin had recently had a heart attack, brought on by working too hard. His travelling was in response to being told he needed to change his life and meeting Katja would do just that.
"We had a great time," she remembers. "Then we had a stupid row in a supermarket. I stormed off and said I was leaving. It was only as I was packing my bags I realised how upset I was."
She realised Kevin was crying too and as they tried to figure out what was going on they realised they might just have fallen in love.
"My brain was telling me no," Katja says. "I was so confused and worried about what people would think. It took ages to admit to myself but in the end I decided if it made me happy I had to see how it went."
Incredibly, after their families got over their initial shock they welcomed the relationship and Katja's mum, Karla, travelled from Germany to their Aussie wedding in November 2007.
"Kevin proposed at the end of our eight-month trip and as crazy as it sounds I said yes," Katja smiles. With the age difference and his heart problems I wanted to make the most of the time we had together."
And as it turns out the pair have been going strong ever since, even having a son, Pierre, together.
"Kevin was 70 when he was born, one of the oldest dads in Australia," Katja says. "Some people told us we were selfish to bring him into the world, not knowing if Kevin would be around for him, but nobody knows what the future holds. Kevin could still have years left."
And actually Katja credits Kevin as being the best father Pierre could ask for.
"They have a really special bond," she smiles. "When he had his other kids he was at work and missed out on so much, but he is always there for Pierre. He takes him to the bus for school and they sit together afterwards. He's the joy of Kevin's life."
For Pierre, having an older dad is how it's always been and, like Katja, he's used to people mistaking him for his Pop.
"He has a sense of humour about it," she says.
Kevin and Katja live in Hobart now and are looking forward to celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary later this year.
"People are very accepting when we tell them our story," Katja says.
"You don't choose who you fall in love with. I just happened to fall for Kevin and I'm so glad I did."