At this rate, the actor will soon reach a point where the typical age gap with his romantic partners will be greater than the age of the women themselves. Yikes.
The jokes basically write themselves. On Tuesday, news broke that Leonardo DiCaprio and Camila Morrone had broken up after almost five years together—just two months after her 25th birthday. And just like that, Morrone joins a rapidly growing sorority. As @zedonarrival put it in an extremely viral tweet, “there’s no phenomenon on this planet more reliable than leonardo dicaprio breaking up with his girl by age 25, the stats are breathtaking.”
Honestly? The stats are pretty remarkable—there are even charts about it. It appears that since 1999, DiCaprio, age 47, has never publicly dated a woman who is older than 25. We’ve had five different presidents during that time and started at least one illegal war—and it’s becoming increasingly likely that this man’s next girlfriend won’t be old enough to remember who Dick Cheney was.
Leo’s apparently strict preference for women who can’t rent a car without forking over a young renter’s fee has been a cultural meme for a while. At the Oscars earlier this year, he laughed along to a joke about it when host Amy Schumer told the crowd, “He’s done so much to fight climate change and leave behind a cleaner, greener planet for his girlfriends.” Schumer wasn’t the first, either; at the 2020 Golden Globes, host Ricky Gervais told the room, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is three hours long. Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere and by the end, his date was too old for him.”
But what is it about age 26, anyway? Is it the power dynamic? Is DiCaprio on a mission to avoid women old enough to remember his “Pussy Posse” era in the ’90s? Is this a man lost in the memories of his own early twenties, when he starred in both Romeo + Juliet and Titanic? Does the sight of a 26-year-old awaken in Leonardo DiCaprio the unshakeable fear of time’s irrevocable forward march, as well as the corresponding anxiety that we are all tiny little specks in the universe who will inevitably be left behind and forgotten?
Older men date younger women all the time in Hollywood, but the age gaps in DiCaprio’s dating history are actually not even the most striking or disturbing detail. It’s the broader pattern—that reliable planetary phenomenon of Leo rising in age while his public romantic partners remain stuck in time. (That said, the relationship with Morrone was uniquely awkward because DiCaprio reportedly met the Marmalade actress through her former stepfather, his friend Al Pacino, when she was a pre-teen and he was in his thirties. Us Weekly makes sure to note that the two didn’t “spark dating rumors” until a decade later, when Morrone was 20.)
There’s no way to know if DiCaprio is ending these relationships or if his girlfriends are. Truthfully, however, his age floor might be even more crucial to his public image than the widely discussed ceiling. Since the turn of the millennium, DiCaprio appears to have maintained a strict age range, 20 to 25, in his public relationships. And by sticking with ages 20 and above, the actor has generally managed to evade the discomfort that surrounds men who’ve dated girls in their late teens (for instance, Dane Cook and Scott Disick). DiCaprio has denied dating a 19-year-old model on at least one occasion.
Curious readers will also find scant detail about DiCaprio’s dating history in his interviews, which tend to reveal little about his love life and focus instead on his environmental activism and film projects.
As writer Allie Jones noted in a piece for Vice, DiCaprio’s girlfriends have stayed conspicuously silent about their relationships with him over the years. No source has confirmed that the actor requires romantic partners to sign NDAs, but when Cosmopolitan asked Sports Illustrated model Sara Sampaio in 2015 whether DiCaprio was “a legend” among models, she offered a curious answer: “I don’t know if I can say anything on that.”
Jones also observes that Gisele Bündchen—among Leo’s most famous and powerful former girlfriends—appears to be one of the only exes to discuss her time with him publicly. The model told Porter magazine in 2019 that she broke things off with DiCaprio when she chose to party less as she worked to manage her anxiety.
“No longer numbing myself with smoking, drinking and too much work, I was becoming more and more aware of things that I’d chosen not to look at,” Bündchen told the magazine. “Was I alone in wanting to do some serious soul-searching while he stayed the same? In the end, unfortunately, the answer was yes.”
At this rate, we’re rapidly approaching a point at which DiCaprio’s typical age gap with his romantic partners will be greater than the age of the women themselves. What remains to be seen is whether that will ever stop getting laughs at Hollywood parties—and whether DiCaprio himself will ever choose to expand that age window even a little more. For now, however, it seems more likely that he’ll keep dating his way through the gorgeous twenty-something models of the world. Lana Del Rey’s Great Gatsby song has never felt more poignant.