Cindy McCain Lied About Her Age to John – At First

Cindy McCain Lied About Her Age to John – At First
John and Cindy McCain
Daniel Aguilar/Reuters/Landov

07/09/2008 AT 01:20 PM EDT

What's a little lie when love is involved?

Cindy McCain says when she first met John McCain, the two dodged one important thing: their real ages.

"He made himself younger, and I made myself older, of course," the 54-year-old wife of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told Ryan Seacrest during on his KIIS-FM radio show.

But, as McCain explained, the truth about their 17-year age gap – John is 71 – eventually came out ... and just in time for the couple's 1980 wedding.

"In Arizona when you apply for a marriage license, it's published in the newspaper," she told Seacrest. "Of course when they published the application, we both found out together our true ages."

The result? "It didn't matter anyway," she said. "I felt like he wouldn't be interested in someone as young as me – and he felt I wouldn't be interested in someone that was older, like he was. So it was for true love that we did it. And it's been a funny joke for our kids ever since."

Married for 28 years, the couple have four children: Meghan, 23, Jack, 22, Jimmy, 20, and Bridget, 16. And while McCain told Seacrest that raising a houseful of teenagers at times can prove as trying as a presidential campaign, she still manages to have fun – and find common interests – with her kids.

"My son and I got into car racing together," said McCain, who is also a pilot. "I always enjoyed cars, anyway. [But] he was the one that encouraged me – and ... we built a drift car together and began drift racing together."

But don't sign her up for NASCAR yet.

"Mind you, this is all amateur stuff," McCain said. "It's a small part of our life ... it's fun to do something with your children."

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