Lesley knew early on that Vincent is forty years older than her, but it didn't make a difference. Despite a decades' large age gap and the judgment of others, this couple says their connection is genuine. This is their story.
Meet the multi-talented Lesley Hunter. After graduating high school, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Economics at Illinois Wesleyan University. While Lesley was a great student, her interests went beyond books.
Hunter finished college in 2009 and went on to juggle a variety of jobs. She was a host and talent recruiter for a weekly radio show, worked in Search Engine Optimization at a digital business company, and later a Marketing Coordinator for State Farm. But that wasn't all.
A Pageant Queen
After college, Lesley worked a variety of modeling and promoting gigs. She advertised energy drinks at grocery stores and modeled bikini and clothing lines. But perhaps Hunter's greatest passion was competing in beauty pageants and meeting other hard-working women.
Lesley started partaking in beauty competitions as early as 2009. She traveled across Missouri competing. Hunter's dedication to the pageant industry later paid off in a very big way - she was the first runner-up for a state title in The Golden State.
Sometime after she started to compete, Lesley moved to California and joined the pageant community there. In The Golden State, the young contestant became Mrs. Pasadena, a title Hunter held for various years. During one of those years, Lesley was the first runner-up for the Mrs. California United States title.
As Mrs. Pasadena and an almost Mrs. California, Hunter made a name for herself in the beauty pageant world. Lesley also made sure to give back to the community she represented through volunteering and philanthropic work. But it was a different hobby that brought her to someone extraordinary a couple of years before.
A Love for Music
Lesley had a love for music for pretty much since she could remember. The talented woman was a "classically trained pianist since age 4," as listed on her professional website. If there was a piano, the odds of finding Hunter playing away on it were high.
From Bach to Mozart and Beethoven, if Hunter could play it on the piano, she wasn't afraid to learn it and wow audiences with her talents. Little did a younger Lesley ever imagine that this musical passion would lead to a chance meeting in Chicago with the love of her life...
This Is Vince
Forty years before Lesley came into the world, Vincent (Vince) Fiorillo was born in Brooklyn, New York. Raised in Manhattan for most of his life, Vince later attended the City University of New York-Baruch College from 1979 to 1982. That marked the beginning of a long and successful career.
While studying at Baruch College, Fiorillo worked as a Sales Manager at a brokerage. Vince then held the same position at Merrill Lynch until he worked up the corporate latter to a director's position at Smith Barney. But it was at Morgan Stanley where Fiorillo earned the big bucks.
The Executive Director
Vince worked at Morgan Stanley, a world-renowned investment banking and financial services company, for a whopping sixteen years. Lesley was starting college hundreds of miles away as Fiorillo stepped down from his Executive Director position at the bank in 2005.
Vince left to become head of trading at a different company for a couple of years before working at a prestigious investment management group. While Fiorillo eventually rose to CEO at Park Slope Advisors LLC, he first met his soulmate in quite an unexpected way.
Meeting a Special Someone
Long before becoming a top guy in the finance industry, Vincent had a passion for music. And when Fiorillo took to the mic one night in Chicago, it seemed that destiny was pushing him to the gorgeous woman playing the piano next to him. We're talking about Lesley, of course.
"We met in Chicago at a place called Gibson's while I was singing, and the beautiful lady was playing piano," said Vince. The duo met on Halloween night. "I was... dressed as a pirate wench in 6-inch heels," Lesley happily recalled. The two musicians hit it off right away.
He Asked Her Out
While he didn't yet know exactly how old Lesley was, it wasn't hard to tell there was a significant age difference between her and Vince. Fiorillo had been married before and had multiple children and grandchildren. Hunter was single with no kids. Would she be interested in him?
Vince wasn't sure if he should ask out the young, beautiful woman who had been playing piano next to him all night. But ultimately, Fiorillo decided it was best to shoot his shot and see what happened. "Vince said, 'I would love to take you out on a date. Would you like to go out with me?'" Lesley shared.
The First Date
The two acquaintances hardly knew each other, but they'd just had a blast singing together in the Chicago venue. And so Lesley happily accepted Vince's date offer, hoping their connection wasn't a one-time kind of thing. Not long after that Halloween night, the musicians met again for their first date at Chicago's Hubbard Inn.
And that's when Hunter and Fiorillo learned just how big their age difference was. "The first night we went out and we had dinner, I asked Lesley, 'Do you know how old I am?' because it felt a little awkward," Vince explained. At the time, he was around 66 and she was about 26. Would Lesley be ok with it?
Others Judged Them
Vince was likely a bit nervous as he asked Lesley whether she realized his age. But at least at first, Hunter seemed fine with being on a date with someone forty years her senior. "She was comfortable and I got comfortable," Fiorillo recalled. But other people, including strangers, felt differently.
Lesley and Vince noticed very quickly that people around them seemed curious about the relationship. "When we're out and about, [there's] a lot of raised eyebrows," said Hunter. "We mostly get the grandpa statements, you know, regarding him. Like, 'Oh, why are you with that old guy or old man?'" And that wasn't all...
They Called Her a Golddigger
People didn't only give them curious looks and rude questions. Some suspected that Lesley must be with Vince for his net worth. "Every once in a while, I've gotten, 'Oh, you must be with him for his money,' or the kind of gold digger references so, that can be annoying," she shared.
These kinds of comments bothered Lesley, as she worked hard to establish herself professionally. Not only did Hunter study economics and compete in beauty pageants -she owned her own business, too. Lesley founded Resume Makeover, a resume editing service. Still, people had opinions on their age gap, including her own family.
Her Fam Wasn't Happy
It wasn't just onlookers on the street or restaurants that had an opinion about the new couple. When things started to heat up between Lesley and Vince, the young woman knew she had to tell her family. Hunter was close to her parents and siblings, and they had a lot to say about the situation.
"At first, my family, especially my parents, had a lot of reserves," Lesley admitted. "Naturally, they were concerned that Vince being an older man, was just dating me to have a pretty young thing on his arm. So they expressed their concerns very vocally." Her mom was perhaps the most concerned of all.
A Serious Talking-To
Mrs. Hunter was a bit shocked when she learned of the four-decade age gap between Lesley and her new boo. "Initially, I didn't know how old he was. And when I found out he was 40 years older, I told her we needed to have a talk," the worried mama said.
So what exactly did Mrs. Hunter want to discuss? "I had concerns," she explained. "I posed the appropriate objections and questions about where this was going and why was it going there and, you know, to make sure you had asked yourself all the questions that needed to be asked."
Lesley Was Embarrassed
Some might be surprised to hear that loved ones actually weren't the only ones to question the relationship; Lesley herself wasn't sure about it. It might've been because of the unsolicited opinions of strangers or the harsh questions from family members, but she was embarrassed.
"Honestly, I have to say that in the very beginning, when I was dating him, I was a little embarrassed. I was more sensitive to the grandpa statements," Lesley confessed. Getting told that her new boyfriend could be an elderly family member wasn't easy.
"Most of My Friends Are Jealous"
While Lesley experienced some shame over being forty years younger than Vince, and her family questioned the relationship's genuineness, the finance professional had a different experience. Vince said that his friends were "jealous" of the relationship.
In his late 60s, Fiorillo had landed his dream girl: passionate, driven, hard-working, and by chance, beautiful and young. "Most of my friends are jealous," he laughingly admitted. But how did Vince's family feel? Jealous was certainly not the word to describe their emotions.
Vince's Family Was Skeptical
Vince had a big family. The Italian-New Yorker had three children, some of whom already had kids of their own. When the Fiorillo clan found out their father was dating someone forty years younger than he, they were not the biggest fans of the relationship.
"My family had reservations. When they first met Lesley, they thought she was very nice but like, 'What the hell are you guys doing together?'" Vince admitted. His siblings and kids were confused by the huge age gap between the two lovebirds. Especially since Hunter was younger than some of Fiorillo's closest loved ones...
Vince's Kids Were Older Than Lesley
The forty-year age difference between Lesley and Vince wasn't the only, shall we say, awkward age gap involved. Hunter soon learned that she was younger than her boyfriend's children, too, adding a layer of complication to the whole dynamic. It wasn't easy.
"I have three children. Two in their 50s, one in their 40s," shared Vince. With Lesley in her 20s, it was hard to understand how someone half their age could date their father. "There was tension and I didn't like the tension," Hunter said of her relationship with Fiorillo's family.
She Was Understanding
Lesley "didn't like the tension," but she was empathetic as to where it came from. "But I do understand; if my father were with someone 40 years younger, I would probably be concerned initially," Hunter admitted. "So I completely understood what they were thinking."
But it all added up: Lesley's family's concerns, her own embarrassment over the age gap, Vincent's children's discomfort, plus the stares and whisperings of strangers. Could Hunter and Fiorillo's newfound love survive the many pressures on the relationship?
Lesley was admittedly self-conscious about her relationship with an older man. It was hard not to be when there was a 40-year age gap, and people accused Hunter of being a golddigger. But a while after the lovebugs started dating, she stopped paying attention to the haters.
"Within a year of us dating, I was just like, 'Screw them.' I didn't really care anymore," Lesley explained. "It's like, you know, water off the duck's back. It's like, 'Yeah, I've heard it already,'" Vince added of the cruel comments from strangers. The future had a lot in store for the lovebirds.
"I Consider Him My Soulmate"
It wasn't long before Lesley and Vincent were head-over-heels in love with one another. "She makes me feel complete. I wasn't necessarily expecting to find love again, and I have found it, and it's been wonderful," Fiorillo admitted. And his girlfriend felt the same way.
"What I love about Vince, first of all, he has a beautiful smile. Mostly it just feels like home being with him," Lesley shared. "Age is totally just a number. I consider him my soulmate. 100%. So as long as you're happy, it doesn't matter." With time, the relationship got more intense.
A year into the relationship, the once-embarrassed Lesley was completely smitten. After staying in one weekend to spend quality time with her boo, the 27-year-old took to Instagram to proudly show off her love. "What is happening to me??" Hunter asked.
She continued, "I'm usually out socializing on a Friday night and living up to my nickname 'LesleyOnTheTown.' Is this what setting down is like?" Well, Hunter must've liked it because around this time, the lovebugs got engaged. "I asked Leslie to marry me about a year after we met," said Vince.
Tying the Knot
It only took a year for the lovebugs to know they wanted to spend forever together. But not in a rush, Lesley and Vincent decided to have a lengthy engagement. The couple finally tied the knot about two years after the proposal. On April 3, 2016, they became Mr. and Mrs. Fiorillo.
"We both said 'I Do' on a beautiful, California day, surrounded by vineyards and our wonderful friends and family," Lesley shared. "So happy to be forever and always Mrs. Fiorillo." That marked the beginning of the smiling newlywed's next chapter together.
A Romantic Honeymoon
Lesley and Vincent had made the move from Chicago to Cali sometime before tying the knot. But after saying their "I do's," the excited newlyweds left The Golden State for a romantic honeymoon abroad. Mr. and Mrs. Fiorillo traveled together around South Africa.
They visited beautiful national parks around the country, went on safaris, and stayed at luxury hotels. While strangers in the U.S. often gaped at their age difference, in South Africa it was nothing but love as the hotel staff greeted them with celebratory flowers and treats. But could the romance last forever?
Keeping the Spark Alive
Lesley and Vincent sure knew how to keep the spark alive post-honeymoon phase. And all of the traveling they continued doing together didn't hurt. The couple spent time in Fiorillo's home state of New York, where they did some high-end shopping and made their way to Florida for warmer weather.
But South Africa wasn't the last of Vince and Lesley's international travels. The lovebugs have also made their way around Europe. They've visited Italy, France, and St. Barts, to name a few. With every trip, the age gap couple fell deeper for each other. But were their families still skeptical?
How Did Her Family Feel?
"I was concerned about age because it's such a large difference in age," Lesley's mom explained. "I wondered if Lesley knew what that age difference could mean in a progression, as time goes on. What are the factors that are in play, health-wise?" Luckily, her family eventually came around.
"But I began to warm up to him. I wanted to be sure he understood that she had her life to live and that she had her goals to accomplish," Mrs. Hunter said. "I accept them fully now because they're each happy with each other." With their approval, was Lesley ready to start a family of her own?
Will They Have Children?
With a forty-year age gap, did Lesley and Vince want kids together? "The topic of children has come up. We've talked about it. There are some pluses and minuses we've got to deal with, including my age, obviously. But it is not off the table," Fiorillo shared.
Lesley added, "I'm figuring out what's best for me, but it is wonderful that my husband is even open at his age to even being a father again." Of course, Vince already had kids from a previous marriage. What did they think? Would they support their now 74-something-year-old dad having more children?
His Kids Were "More Comfortable"
As noted before, tensions were especially high between the couple and Vincent's children when the lovebugs first got together. The Fiorillo kids, some of whom already had sons and daughters of their own, were concerned by the age gap and their dad's now-wife being younger than them.
With time, they came around. Although not completely. "As far as my kids go, I think they've gotten a little bit more comfortable. Not totally comfortable but definitely got more comfortable," Vince explained. As for how they feel about the Mr. and Mrs. having children of their own? He didn't say.
Appearing on Talk Shows
Although Vincent's children were still "not totally comfortable," the happy couple became unafraid of showing off their love. They appeared on local shows to discuss being a couple with a forty-year age gap and later starred in a video spotlighting their love for a YouTube channel with millions of subscribers.
Of course, putting themselves out there in the name of destigmatizing age gap relationships came at a price. "She is living her dream with the sugar daddy," wrote one YouTube user. Another said, "It would be so unfair to have children, and when they kiss it looks like the way you would kiss your grandfather on the cheek."
The Test of Time
Could Lesley and Vince withstand all of the hate? Theirs was a long road to getting accepted by loved ones, and the continued judgment from strangers could have a toll. But at the time of this article, the lovebugs have been together for around eight years and married for five.
And they're going strong. "Fortunately we did not allow others judgment or small-mindedness prevent us from fulfilling the path that God set for us in being together," Lesley said. And the proud wifey isn't afraid to share why she's still madly in love with her now 74-year-old partner.
Never Taking Each Other For Granted
According to Lesley, this age gap relationship stayed firm partly because Vincent appreciates his young wife. Fiorillo has no expectations of Hunter but is grateful for everything she does. "You don't expect but appreciate, and you always say thank you," she said to Vince.
Lesley continued, "Not a lot of men continually appreciate and lift their woman up, but you do. And this truly makes me want to do even more for you! Thank you for never taking me for granted." It seems that these two lovebirds were destined to be together, age gap or not.