September 15, 2021

The German Approach to Age-Inappropriate Relationships: Heidi Klum & Tom Kaulitz.


Age is just a number—and, in some cases, it’s also none of our business.

After reading this amazing article about so-called age-inappropriate relationships, I immediately thought about Heidi and Tom.

Heidi Klum is 47, and Tom Kaulitz just turned 32—and they are happily married. It would be an understatement to say that they are the most famous German couple right now.

Most of you know Heidi Klum, but as a German, I also watched Tom Kaulitz grow up in public—and I am actually not that surprised these two got together. Of course, Heidi is 15 years older, but besides that, or maybe even because of that, they are a perfect match.

Heidi is from Bergisch-Gladbach (industrial town outside of Cologne), and Tom grew up in Eastern Germany, which makes both of them representatives of Germany’s rural population. Both got famous as teenagers—Heidi won a casting show (of course), and Tom shared the stage with his twin brother Bill as the frontmen of the incredibly successful band, “Tokio Hotel.”

Being a model or member of a teen-rock band made them a target for jokes and insults 24/7. At the same time, their popularity made it impossible to live a normal life in Germany. Eventually, both of them decided to move to Los Angeles—and that’s where they actually got to know each other.

Of course, we can focus on their age difference, but I feel that age plays no role in this relationship. They are two German celebrities who settled in a different country to start a new life, but they share a pretty similar cultural background.

Some might think that Tom is just after Heidi’s money—an accusation we often hear in the context of so-called age-inappropriate relationships—but it’s safe to say that Tom does not depend on Heidi’s money at all.

Of course, it was a surprise to the German public when they got together, but besides Heidi’s father, nobody really questioned their relationship—instead, we just kept making fun of their characters, as we always did.

I have to admit that I am one of these folks who constantly make fun of these two as individuals, but at the same time, I respect both of them for achieving something that I would call the “German dream.”

Both of them grew up surrounded by rural Germans. Everyone told them to get a serious job and stop dreaming about being a model or rockstar—but they made it happen. Tom often tells the story of how he got beaten up as a teenager for wearing make-up—and now, he is married to one of the most famous supermodels of our time.

Their relationships and each of their careers are a big f*ck you to German traditions, role models, and everyone who ever made fun of them.

And that’s my takeaway from this story: follow your dreams and don’t give a f*ck about what others expect from you.

Nobody needs to settle for what is expected of them—and maybe that’s the reason why some folks get upset when a woman dates a younger man—because it’s not what we expected.

Maybe that’s why folks get upset when Miley Cyrus performs a song with Metallica? Maybe that’s why some White men get angry when someone brings up Critical Race Theory?

These are unrelated topics at first sight, but they share the same dynamic. Most of us know the saying “rules are meant to be broken”—let’s change it to “traditions are meant to be questioned.”

That goes for age-inappropriate relationships, gender roles, politics, and basically all areas of life.

And in case you ever wondered how Heidi Klum’s career started in Germany, here is a video of her first appearance on TV from 1992:





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