It's been established that quite a few Disney princesses end up meeting and marrying older men:

How many Disney princesses end up with older men?

These relationships seem problematic on the face of it. Often the girls are naive and of an age where a relationship with an adult male would be at least frowned upon, if not illegal depending on jurisdiction. For example, Jasmin is 14 while Aladdin is either 18 or 21 depending on who you ask.

What motivated Disney to include these relationships in movies aimed at children? My perception is that other media made for children tends to avoid the subject of relationships and marriage entirely, where as Disney makes it a major part of the plot and, as far as I can tell, always with an older man and in some cases between a child and an adult.

Note: This is not a duplicate of the linked question. I'm not asking for numbers, I'm asking if any explanation has ever been given for the trend revealed in the answer to that question.

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    @Tetsujin sure, but the point is that, for example, in the UK and I believe the US Jasmine would not be legally allowed to marry Aladdin and in modern times many parents would be concerned about such a relationship. Yet Disney chose those ages and portrays the whole thing in a very positive light, and I'm asking if any Disney staff ever commented on it in the many, many interviews they have given over the years, or if any notable sources (e.g. books about Disney) have discussed it.
    – user
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 12:34
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    The two questions are closely related, but they aren't duplicates. The first question was asking whether the trend actually existed, and this question is asking why such a trend exists.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 12:49
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    @F1Krazy indeed, I wanted to ask this one but realized I needed to establish if the premise was true first.
    – user
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 12:51
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    The movies are based on fairy tales written when life expectancy was considerably lower, moral ideas about appropriate age for marrying and having kids were different, etc. And, as Darth Locke says, I don't think the ages are mentioned, or at least made a big deal of. Jasmine being 14 is news to me; from what I remember, she looks a lot older. Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 14:13
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    @AnthonyGrist The "life expectancy was considerably lower" argument is a bit false; while the average life expectancy was brought down significantly by children dying early a lot more often, those who survived to adulthood generally lived to 50~60 or so (barring wartime, extreme events like the Black Death, etc.).
    – JAB
    Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 19:14

2 Answers 2


Because Disney base their stories on tales that were made (or written down) when girls were married as soon as they could breed kids, and, because of medical complications, they often died during childbirth, so a 21 year old male could already be a widower.

Also, 3 years age difference is pretty normal. Relationships where the husband is older than his wife make up to 52% of married couples (age disparity in sexual relationships).

Also, history. If you take a look at royal families where children were "engaged" during infancy, you will notice that pretty often males were older than females.

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    Do you have any references to support that being Disney's motivation? Considering the liberties they took with those stories and the fact that by the time Aladdin in came out they were sensitive to things like male nipples (famously he doesn't have any), it seems a stretch to say that their decision was based on historical/"canonical" accuracy.
    – user
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 12:03
  • @user Alladin is two years older than Jasmine. When it came out a 18 year old guy courting a 16 year old was normal. Yes, you made a mistake. Jasmine is soon to be 16. And Aladdin is 18. Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 13:00
  • Again, sources for this? But also I think you are missing the point a little bit, particularly that in modern times even if Jasmine were soon to be 16 (i.e. age 15) in many parts of the world, including if I'm not mistaken Disney's home market, such a marriage would be illegal.
    – user
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 15:24
  • @user Thomas, Bob: "Chapter 9: A New Tradition", pages 133-135. Disney's Art of Animation: From Mickey Mouse to Hercules, 1997. So it's good that the story took place in Agrabath and not in contemporary USA. I think what you actually ask for is "why Disney don't make contemporary movies but go into "time period" stories". Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 15:35
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    @SZCZERZOKŁY Even in the US, 18+16 isn't an uncommon situation for dating, and there are still plenty of states where you can get married at 16 (as low as 14 in some of them) if you meet the right conditions. You might not see it much, but it is (somewhat) permitted.
    – JAB
    Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 19:08

Disney isn't the most original company on earth, especially when it comes to story telling and are pretty lazy

Disney Film Sources

At the above link one can peruse the fairy tales that Disney has used for their films, a few of them being:

Film - Source - Author, Year of Death

Snow White - Snow White, Brothers Grimm, German, died in 1859/1863

Cinderella - Cinderella, Charles Perrault, French, died in 1703

Aladdin - Arabian Nights (Antoine Galland's version), French died in 1715

Mulan - Hua Mulan, a traditional Chinese Story

The Little Mermaid - The Little Mermaid Hans Christian Andersen, Danish, died in 1875

Beauty and the Beast - Jeanne-Marie Beaumont, French, died in 1780

And others.

But to be honest, it's all fine. Because stories are constantly being copied and modified or just stolen from everyone since the beginning of telling stories...the modern film scene isn't exactly riff with original stories lately...

To get to your question,

Why did Disney do this in their stories? Because well, the stories they took from did, and Why change a perfectly fine story for children who don't know or even care about the multi-cultural and Western societal hookups and taboos of fantasy marriages?

Your real question should be, Why do the authors of the stories write stories with such young marriage ages.

The two things in common with the examples I listed at least, is that none of them are from North America and all of those stories are a couple hundred years old, and two of them even older AND from non-western societies.

So it's hard to put them in a North American perspective and criticize it for not holding North American marriage standards 3 hundred years in the future. (Well, we can and should, but that's a different discussion)

So, if we look at typical age of marriage at the time in some excerpts:

...in most of Northwestern Europe, marriage at very early ages was rare. One thousand marriage certificates from 1619 to 1660 in the Archdiocese of Canterbury show that only one bride was 13 years old, four were 15, twelve were 16, and seventeen were 17 years old; while the other 966 brides were at least 19 years old


In France, until the French Revolution, the marriageable age was 12 years for girls and 14 for boys. Revolutionary legislation in 1792 increased the age to 13 years for girls and 15 for boys. Under the Napoleonic Code in 1804, the marriageable age was set at 15 years for girls and 18 for boys.[23]

And just to put this into an interesting perspective,

In Canada

...No person who is under the age of 16 years may contract marriage.4 These provisions were enacted in 2015. Before 2015, it was possible for children less than 16 years old to get married in some jurisdictions of Canada....

3 of the 6 authors of those stories in the small list I gave are French, and apparently in Canada until before 2015, you could marry at any age it seems as long as you had parental consent!

So to answer your question, Why is there such a disparity in age for marriages, in Disney films?

It was common at the time, is apparently still common, and Disney is a lazy Corporation that cares about money and not what children think, or their parents.

  • hookups -> hangups Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 18:48

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