Chris Quinten had lied about his age before, so considered telling Robyn Delabarre he was a whole decade younger than he really was.
The former Coronation Street star was feeling low and had not been in a relationship for 10 years when he first laid eyes on the dancer while working at a strip club.
"When I saw her it was a lightning bolt. A feeling I hadn’t had before. You get it only once, twice if you’re lucky," Chris told The Mirror last year.
"It was her aura that attracted me to her and the fact she genuinely liked me. We started meeting for drinks before work and then after work going for breakfast.
"Over a fry-up in a greasy spoon, I knew it was love."
However, Chris had to reveal something to Robyn which could have been fatal for their relationship.
The Corrie actor, who left the soap in 1989 before Robyn was even born, did not tell her there was a staggering 41-year-age gap between them.
"I was going to tell her I was 51 instead of 61 when she asked me my age, as I have lied to women over the years about my age," confessed Chris.
Robyn, who was 20 when they met, was actually convinced that Chris was just 45-years-old at first.
To begin with she was astonished, but after the initial shock she was not bothered by the drastic differences in ages.
"At first I was shocked. But then it didn’t bother me. My nan used to fancy him on Corrie. She thought he was a heart-throb – but I think he’s better looking now," admitted Robyn.
She added: "I need someone older than me. I’m sick of all the men who are shallow and vain on Instagram showing off six packs and spending hours grooming."
The unlikely romance started when Robyn's nan, who was a big Corrie fan, brought her granddaughter to audition as a dancer at The Secret Lounge in west London.
"Everyone told me he had been on the telly but I had never heard of him," she told The Mirror in June last year. "The other girls showed me pictures of him online."
Chris had been working there at the time and relationships between staff were off-limits, but the attraction between the pair was too much.
Robyn explained: “There was so much chemistry. We constantly flirted.” At first she was wary, but adds: “I’ve learnt to trust him now.
"It was really hard to begin with. I thought, ‘I’m not going to be able to have a relationship with him working here’, but he’s proven to me I can."
They managed to keep their relationship secrets for months, until Chris made a very public declaration of love.
At Robyn's 21st birthday party, Chris got down on one knee and proposed, then whisked her away for a holiday on Greek island Mykonos when she said 'yes'.
A video of the romantic moment went viral and Robyn was forced to come clean to her parents.
During a live interview on This Morning in June 2019, Robyn confessed she had lied to her family, who struggled to come to terms with the bombshell at first.
"I had to lie to other dancers, my family," explained Robyn
"They were more disappointed that I didn't tell them because they're fine about it now."
Revealing that her parents are both younger than her fiance, she added: "They found it really difficult at first …just the big age gap, it's a big thing."
Chris even cheekily joked that he was old enough to be Robyn's "grandad" – and explained he had spoken to her mum but not her dad at that stage.
"My dad was the most shocked,” Robyn told The Mirror in 2019. "I didn’t want to tell him about us as he’s so protective."
She was so scared of telling her 38-year-old mum that she got her aunt to break the news to her instead.
"She called me up in tears and asked me what was going on,” said Robyn. "She was more worried he worked in a strip club than his age as she thought he wouldn’t be committed.
"I told her I couldn’t be with someone who treats me badly and that would be far worse than the age gap."
Both her parents eventually gave their blessing to the relationship and came round to the idea of marriage.
Chris added: "We don’t care what anyone thinks. All we know is we’re in love."
There was another major obstacle that the couple had to get other, as romances between colleagues were banned at the club they both worked at.
"I told them I'd gone up north to see my daughter and that week it had been raining and I had this sunset [photo] and I think they put two and two together and we had to come clean then," Chris told The Mirror.
"She had to move as they wouldn't allow us to work in the same place. To me I was distraught."
Robyn was forced to move clubs and missed spending every day with her man, but they moved in together in Hammersmith.
"Everyone is going to judge and people are so nasty online and call me a gold digger, but I still work, I have my money. Chris doesn’t pay for anything for me," argued Robyn.
Chris said: "At the beginning you do feel you can’t hold hands or put your arm around her. But as soon as we knew we were soulmates it changed.
"I have been mistaken for her dad, which is ironic as he’s younger. After I ordered a Burberry cake for her 21st the bakery said ‘did your daughter enjoy it’.”
Despite their age gap, the couple have a lot in common, including a love of Elvis Presley.
Chris, who feels young at heart and more like a 25-year-old than his actual age, has been mistaken for Robyn's dad before.
But the age difference does not deter the couple and they want to have children of their own in the future.
Chris has been married before and has three children with three different partners, one of whom is only seven years younger than Robyn.
“I put our age gap aside when it comes to thinking of children," said Chris, who admitted he would happily kick a ball around at the age of 90.
"It’s never going to work if I think about it, so I’m just going to try to have a baby.”
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