Former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter are celebrating a huge milestone today: they’ve been married for 77 years!
That’s an anniversary few couples ever reach, and it extends their record as the longest-married US presidential couple in history. It’s a testament to both their longevity and their loving commitment to one another.
The celebration comes after a difficult year for both spouses. In February, it was announced that Jimmy, 98, would receive hospice care, deciding to “spend his remaining time at home with his family.”
And on May 30, the Carter Center announced that Rosalynn, 95, had been diagnosed with dementia.
But despite their recent health difficulties, the long-married couple are still celebrating their anniversary together. According to AP, they’re keeping things simple with a quiet day in their home in Plains, Georgia.
ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 30: Former president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn prior to the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Cincinnati Bengals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
While there have been no further updates about their health, the Carters have reportedly been enjoying time together and receive plenty of visits from family members and close friends.
It’s incredible to think that Jimmy and Rosalynn have been together 77 years, but their love story goes back even further than that. The two have known each other nearly their whole lives.
Jimmy & Rosalynn grew up three miles from each other, and she was friends with his sister. Even back then, it was love at first sight.
“I thought he was the most handsome young man I had ever seen,” Rosalynn wrote in her memoir.
Years later, when Jimmy Carter was home from the U.S. Navy Academy, Jimmy’s sister set them up on a date, and they hit it off. They married on July 7, 1946 in their hometown of Plains, Georgia.
Jimmy Carter remained in the military until 1953, when he resigned after the death of his father and took over his family’s farm, but soon pursued a career in politics, winning a Georgia Senate seat in 1962.
Through it all, Rosalynn was right there by his side: “We developed a partnership when we were working in the farm supply business, and it continued when Jimmy got involved in politics,” Rosalynn Carter told AP. “I knew more on paper about the business than he did. He would take my advice about things.”
Jimmy Carter went on to be Governor of Georgia and finally the 39th President of the United States, defeating incumbent Gerald Ford in 1976. As First Lady, Rosalynn supported her husband’s policies and took up the cause of mental health advocacy.
After Carter’s term in office, the couple continued to do inspiring humanitarian work. Jimmy established the Carter Center to promote and expand human rights, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Rosalynn has continued to be an advocate for many causes, especially mental health.
The couple are also known for their longtime support of the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity. Well into their nineties, Jimmy and Rosalynn were still often seen helping to build houses for people in need.
Through it all, their love kept going strong. “The best thing I ever did was marrying Rosalynn,” Carter said, according to KDVR. “That’s a pinnacle in my life.”
As both spouses survived well into their 90s, Jimmy credited his marriage for keeping him going all these decades.
“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 told People in 2019. “[We] have had a good life together.”