Jimmy Carter Met Wife a Day after Her Birth — They Were Married for 77 Years despite His ‘Adultery’

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter are examples of true love. Although they have gone through many challenges, they were married for 77 years, and until the Former First Lady died.

The love story of former POTUS Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, was straight out of a fairy tale, and it proved that they were always meant to be together.

After 77 years of marriage, four children, and a four-year presidential tenure, they were still in love. Unfortunately, Rosalynn died on November 19, 2023, at 96. She passed peacefully at her home in Plains, Georgia, surrounded by her family

Before her death, it was announced that she had been under hospice care at home and that she and her husband were spending time together. However, the family asked for privacy and extended their gratitude for the ongoing support they have received.

Rosalynn survived her husband, Jimmy, and her children, Jack, Chip, Jeff, and Amy. She also had 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, but one grandson died in 2015. In a statement, Chip praised his mother for being a loving parent, an „extraordinary” First Lady, and a humanitarian. He added,

„Her life of service and compassion was an example for all Americans. She will be sorely missed not only by our family but by the many people who have better mental health care and access to resources for caregiving today.”

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In the decades they spent together, Rosalynn and Jimmy were the longest-married presidential couple but had faced challenges along the way including the former president’s „adultery.”

Meeting Rosalynn for the First Time

Born in October 1924, Jimmy grew up with his businessman father and nurse mother in and around Plains, Georgia, a small town where about 600 people lived in the mid-1920s. In 1927, Jimmy’s mother helped deliver Rosalynn, her neighbors’ first child. She brought her three-year-old son over to see the baby one day after Rosalynn was born.

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and President Jimmy Carter at the White House in Washington DC in 1979 | Source: Getty Images

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and President Jimmy Carter at the White House in Washington DC in 1979 | Source: Getty Images

Years later, Rosalynn said that Jimmy „looked through the cradle bars and saw [her].” They didn’t know it then, but a life together was in their future.

Rosalynn’s family went through challenging times after her dad died at 13. She worked to help the family make ends meet. Still, she was an excellent student who graduated near the top of her high school class and fulfilled her dad’s wish by attending college.

Asking Rosalynn Out and Popping the Question Many Times

Due to Jimmy and Rosalynn’s three-year age gap, nothing romantic happened between them for years even though she was friends with Ruth Carter, Jimmy’s younger sister. Their relationship’s dynamic changed in 1945.

Jimmy was on a break from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and planned to date a Georgia beauty queen. However, she couldn’t make it due to a family reunion.

Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter at a White House Congressional Ball, Washington, D.C. on December 13, 1978 | Source: Getty Images

Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter at a White House Congressional Ball, Washington, D.C. on December 13, 1978 | Source: Getty Images

He proposed with an engraved compact, but she said no.

He still wanted to go on a date because he was about to return to Annapolis for „another time of isolation.” He drove around Plains and saw Rosalynn and Ruth in front of the Methodist church.

Something about her struck Jimmy. He invited her to see a movie, and she said yes. When his mother learned about his date, she asked about his thoughts on Rosalynn, and Jimmy said:

„‘She’s the one I’m going to marry.’ I knew that she was quiet, she was extremely intelligent… beautiful. There was just something about her that was irresistible.”

Rosalynn Carter and Jimmy Carter in Atlanta, Georgia, circa October, 1994 | Source: Getty Images

Rosalynn Carter and Jimmy Carter in Atlanta, Georgia, circa October, 1994 | Source: Getty Images

Rosalynn, then 17, developed a crush on Jimmy when he became a naval officer and would walk around Plains in his white uniform. Ruth knew it, and she conspired for her brother to ask Rosalynn out.

Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn on September 30, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia | Source: Getty Images

Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn on September 30, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia | Source: Getty Images

Less than a year after their first date, Rosalynn visited Jimmy at the Naval Academy. He proposed with an engraved compact, but she said no. He grieved and persevered for months, and when he proposed again, she said yes. They married in July 1946.

Moving Often and Having Children

Jimmy and Rosalynn’s married life has been far from perfect. Due to his military duties, they moved and traveled often. Their first child, John, was born in 1947 in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter on February 6, 2015 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter on February 6, 2015 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

In 1950, when the couple lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, James „Chip” III joined the family. They welcomed their third son, Donnel, in New London, Connecticut, in 1952, and their youngest child, Amy Lynn, was born in Georgia in 1967.

Jimmy Carter, his wife Rosalynn and daughter Amy in Plains, Georgia in 1976 | Source: Getty Images

Jimmy Carter, his wife Rosalynn and daughter Amy in Plains, Georgia in 1976 | Source: Getty Images

According to Rosalynn, the mid-1950s was the rockiest period of their marriage. In 1953, Jimmy’s dad passed away. Although Rosalynn was already used to living in Schenectady, New York, he took his family back to Plains to care for the family peanut business.

Jimmy Carter on February 3, 2016 in London | Source: Getty Images

Jimmy Carter on February 3, 2016 in London | Source: Getty Images

She was sure that the best part of her life had ended when they returned to Plains, especially because she couldn’t find a role to put herself on equal footing with Jimmy. Luckily, she took over the farm’s finances and helped it turn a profit.

People considered he used words that „don’t sound presidential.”

Opening Up about His Adultery

In the 1960s, Jimmy started his career in politics by winning a seat in the Georgia State Senate. He became the Governor of Georgia in 1971 and the President of the United States in 1977. Rosalynn never stopped supporting him throughout the years.

Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn at the Sotheby's Auction in New York City, on October 4, 1983 | Source: Getty Images

Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn at the Sotheby’s Auction in New York City, on October 4, 1983 | Source: Getty Images

The presidential couple made headlines in November 1976 (shortly before Jimmy was elected POTUS) when Playboy magazine released an interview where he talked about the importance of religion in his life. He said:

„Christ said, ‘I tell you that anyone who looks on a woman with lust has in his heart already committed adultery.’ I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.”

It is essential to point out that Jimmy only admitted to looking at other women with lust, but he never said he cheated on his wife. Still, his interview was shocking.

People considered he used words that „don’t sound presidential,” but his honesty helped him win the presidential battle against Gerald Ford.

Learning the Secrets of Their Lovely Marriage

Jimmy, 98, and Rosalynn, 95, were married for 77 years and were still in love. The former POTUS, who still blushed while talking about his wife, was photographed kissing Rosalynn on 2021 New Year’s Eve.

Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter at the Habitat For Humanity Benefit in Los Angeles, California in 1995 | Source: Getty Images

Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter at the Habitat For Humanity Benefit in Los Angeles, California in 1995 | Source: Getty Images

The couple was in Plains celebrating the annual „peanut drop.” Jimmy enjoyed the event from his car while Rosalynn did it from the street. However, she quickly returned to the vehicle to kiss her husband.

Later that year, Jimmy and Rosalynn shared the secrets to their successful marriage: space. About the „policy” they agreed on, Jimmy said:

„We give each other plenty of space to do our own things. And we try to find things we like to do together, and we try to concentrate on them.”

Some of the activities they’ve done together include skiing, bird-watching, fly-fishing, and playing tennis. They discovered they had plenty of everyday things to do together by doing all that.

Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter at the Jimmy Carter Work Project in Detroit in 2005 | Source: Getty Images

Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter at the Jimmy Carter Work Project in Detroit in 2005 | Source: Getty Images

Rosalynn and Jimmy also avoided going to sleep angry at each other. They argued „often,” but they always tried to get over it before bedtime. What a lovely couple!

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