Dick Van Dyke, 96, is speaking candidly about his marriage to his much-younger wife, Arlene Silver, 50, saying he worried fans would scrutinize their 46-year age gap.
In a new interview with Closer magazine, the “Mary Poppins” legend bluntly stated: “I thought there would be an outcry about a gold digger marrying an old man, but no one ever took that attitude.”
Van Dyke — who has a reported fortune of $50 million — first met Silver at the 2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards. At the time, he was 81 and she was just 35.
Silver — who was working as a make-up artist at the event — also spoke with Closer, recalling the moment she first laid eyes on her now-husband.
“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,” she told the publication.
The pair’s friendship subsequently turned romantic and they wed in February 2012.
Van Dyke and Silver celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary last month, and it seems they’re still as loved up as the day they said “I do.”
“We share an attitude,” Van Dyke cooed of his wife. “She can go with the flow. She loves to sing and dance, which we do almost every day. She’s just delightful.”
Silver subsequently chimed in: “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.”
Last month, the couple showed off their fun-loving relationship in a video posted in honor of Valentine’s Day.
The pair were seen dancing to a cover of the 1958 Doris Day song “Everybody Loves a Lover” performed by Silver’s band, Arlene & the Vantastix.
The video went viral online, with fans remarking on the fact that Van Dyke could still bust a move in his mid-nineties.
Back in 2019, Van Dyke shared his secrets to staying in great shape, telling Closer: “I’ve always been an exerciser and still am. I go to the gym three days a week, get in the pool and exercise. At my age, they say to keep moving. Put me on solid ground and I’ll start tapping.”
The star revealed he does water aerobics, lifts weights and walks on a treadmill.
He added that he also has “good genes” and is lucky he hasn’t been “hit by a bus.”
Meanwhile, Van Dyke told NPR in 2015 that he regretted smoking and drinking when he was younger, saying he gave up the habits decades ago.
He also told other seniors to “just keep moving.”
“I have arthritis and all those things, but I keep moving,” he stated. “I didn’t discover dancing and singing until I was in my 30s. It just happened out of nowhere. I regret that I didn’t train a little or take some vocal coaching or something. But I just enjoyed what I had and had fun with it.”
The “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” star added that his optimism helped him to stay young.
“It’s more in my nature to be optimistic, I think,” he declared. “I’m one of those people who get up on the right side of the bed in the morning. I get up and have a cup of coffee and go to the gym because I talk myself out of it because I will as anybody will.”
He also said much-younger Silver keeps him on his toes, declaring: “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.”
Silver is Van Dyke’s second wife. The four-time Emmy winner split from his first wife and mother of his four children, Margie Willett, in 1984 after 36 years of marriage.
Van Dyke was also in a relationship with actress Michelle Triola for more than 30 years until she died in 2009.