Now that Demi Moore has announced her intention to divorce Ashton Kutcher, the ageist concept of cougarism is rearing its furry snout. Many observers think the 16-year-older "May" half of the wedded pair should have known better than to marry a man still wet behind the ears, a relative child (he's closer to Moore's older daughter Rumer Willis's age) whose worldly experience was no match for the twice-divorced mother of three when the two first hooked up.
When the daring actress (she posed nude for Vanity Fair when she was seven months pregnant) became romantically involved with her much younger husband, she acted as shocked as everyone else to end up with a dude she could have babysat for in high school. "If somebody would have said, 'OK, here is the prediction: You're going to meet a man 25 years old and he's going to see being with you and having your three kids as a bonus,' I would have said, 'Keep dreaming,'" the former wife of Bruce Willis told Vanity Fair in 2007. "I think it caught us both by surprise, and particularly him."
Now that the Charlie Sheen replacement on "Two and a Half Men" has allegedly cheated on Moore at least twice with women barely out of their teens, many people are saying she is getting her just desserts for sitting at the kiddie table. One British columnist zinged the "Margin Call" star with a Simon Cowell slam: "All that dogged perseverance of keeping young and staying beautiful -- and your 33-year-old dolt of a toyboy husband, Ashton Kutcher, still cheats on you with a hot blonde bimbette wearing too much make up who is young enough to be your daughter."
Moore, herself, has never liked being labeled a cougar. "Cougar has become so distasteful. I really hate that expression," she told Harper's Bazaar last year. "(Puma) has a sweeter quality, more elegant. And then somebody said to me, 'Pumas are only for people in their 30s.'"
Now almost 50, the doll collector is well beyond the puma stage, and the difference in years between the aging actress and her youthful December mate have become more acute. Despite his wife's looking amazing for a woman of her demographic, the roving-eyed "Punk'd" star heaped an extra dollop of humiliation on his betrayal by dallying with girl-women his step-daughters' ages.
Though few have dwelled on the even bigger 23-year spread between Moore's "Moonlighting" ex and his younger wife, Emma Hemming, many in the Twittersphere have focused on "Dashton's" age divide as a factor in the couple's fractured marriage. "Someone call Animal Control, there's a cougar on the loose...." tweeted a Demi basher. Another wannabe comic chirped, "Under community property laws, #DemiMoore & #AshtonKutcher will evenly split her AARP membership benefits."
Whether Moore's marriage mishap will serve as a yellow light to other female celebs is hard to say. Big stars like Madonna and Jennifer Lopez are frequently used as headline fodder for chilling with child-men. One wonders if they will heed the words of the brutally blunt British writer who warned the frail star two months ago: "Drop the cougar act Demi. It's time for an old codger in a cardigan."
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