Longest Married Presidential Couple Jimmy And Rosalynn Carter Celebrate 74 Years Of Marriage

Longest Married Presidential Couple Jimmy And Rosalynn Carter Celebrate 74 Years Of Marriage

The couple broke the record set by former President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush to become the longest-married presidential couple.

Image Source: Twitter/Jimmy Carter Library

Former President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn Carter have been married for 74 years, and they just broke their own record of being the longest-married presidential couple. According to PEOPLE, the Carters became the longest-married presidential couple after they broke the previous record set by former President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush. The Bushes were married for 73 years and 111 days at the time of the former first lady’s death in 2018. Jimmy Carter, now 95, met Rosalynn Carter, 92, during the early 1940s when he was on break from the Naval Academy.


He asked her to a date and the two went for a movie, but not alone. Rosalynn's sister Ruth was also a part of the plan. According to PEOPLE, the very next day, Carter told his mom that he'd found the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with.“I just felt compatible with her,” the former president recalled in Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas’ book What Makes a Marriage Last, published in May. “She was beautiful and innocent, and there was a resonance. We rode in the rumble seat of a Ford pickup—Ruth and her boyfriend in the front—and I kissed her on that first date. I remember that vividly.”


However, he had to go back to the Academy, but not before coining the acronym “ILYTG.” ” ‘I love you the goodest.’ That’s what my mother and daddy used to say back and forth, and I picked it up with Rosa,” the nation’s 39th president told PEOPLE during an exclusive joint interview with his wife of over seven decades, Rosalynn Carter. They mentioned that this is now something their children also use on a regular basis. “Now all our children do the same thing – ILYTG on the phone or in emails. They generally just put the initials,” Jimmy Carter said. “And sometimes they change the initials and make you guess what they’re talking about.” 


The pair got married on July 7th, 1946. By their first anniversary, Rosalynn was in the hospital giving birth to their first child, Jack. They went on to have three more kids after Jack: sons Chip and Jeff and, after a 14-year gap, daughter Amy. All through their married life Jimmy Carter has been a constant source of support for Rosalynn, because of which she's done a lot of things she wouldn't have otherwise. “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. “I campaigned all over the country. I’ve done things I never dreamed I could do.”


In 2015, Jimmy Carter was diagnosed with Cancer, but within months, the cancer was gone following successful surgery and innovative immunotherapeutic treatments. Carter, however, credits his long-life to his loving spouse. “It’s hard to live until you’re 95 years old,” he tells PEOPLE. “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 then added that he and his wife have had a "good life together." 


Now, they only plan things for a year in advance. They relish some private moments they get, away from the public eye. “Now when we have a quiet moment, like a birthday or something, 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,” he says. Ever-optimistic, Jimmy Carter says that while they have aged physically, their brains are still as young as ever. “I think both mine and Rosa’s minds are almost as good as they used to be, we just have limited capability on stamina and strength,” he added. “But we still try to stay busy and do a good job at what we do.”


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