No one would blame Aaron Johnson for basking in his first big moment of red-carpet glory. An unknown in Hollywood just a few weeks ago, the 19-year-old actor was the center of attention at the premiere of his superhero film Kick-Ass
in London last month. But the rising star only had eyes for his seven-months-pregnant fiancée, British artist Sam Taylor-Wood, kissing her each time he had to step away for photographers. Says Johnson: "I've got a wonderful woman."
And a controversial one: At 43, Taylor-Wood is 24 years Johnson's senior. Already a mother of two, Taylor-Wood was newly divorced from her husband of 11 years, art dealer Jay Jopling, when she met Johnson in '09 on the set of her directorial debut, Nowhere Boy
. "We had quite a psychic link," Taylor-Wood told Britain's The Guardian
newspaper. "I felt that link almost from day one of meeting him."
Engaged months after meeting, Johnson brushes off skepticism about their whirlwind romance, telling The Sunday Independent
last December, "I'm an old soul and she's a young soul." He also says his parents have given their blessing: "They are really proud and supportive." For her part, Taylor-Wood-who fought colon cancer in 1997 and breast cancer three years later-says those battles have helped her tune out the critics. "Going through all the crap I've been through, I don't really listen to other people's opinions. [I] just follow my heart and my instincts." (Not to be outdone, her estranged husband was reportedly linked last year to pop star Lily Allen, 24.)
As the couple prepare for the arrival of their baby this summer, Johnson insists he's undaunted by the challenges of fatherhood. "It's not scary," he says. "I'm already a stepdad to two [Taylor-Wood's kids Angelica, 13, and Jessie, 3] anyway. So the nerves have sort of gone." He's planning to take time off from his budding career to be with his newborn. "I don't want to miss it," he says. "Life is more important than what film I do next."