A 21-year-old student fell in love with a ventriloquist 43 years her senior after the pair bonded over a shared love for Harpo Marx.
Alexandria Gayton-Gutierrez, from San Antonio, Texas, and Jonathan Geffner, 64, met online when she was 19 before deciding to meet in person shortly after she turned 20.
Divorcee Jonathan flew three hours from New York City to Texas for their first date, bringing his youngest daughter Sabrina, then 16. That same day he also met Alexandria’s parents, who at 62 and 54 years old are both younger than him.
Over the last year the couple have been in a long distance relationship, travelling back and forth between San Antonio and New York City for dates. However the couple admit that strangers are often confused about their relationship.
Alexandria and Jonathan, pictured, bonded over their shared love of comedian Harpo Marx
The couple share a kiss in the middle of Times Square – but admit their relationship turns heads
‘People do sometimes think we are father and daughter, but we just laugh it off,’ Jonathan said. ‘It might be unusual, but our relationship works.’
Jonathan and Alexandria met on a Harpo Marx Facebook page Alexandria had created and in March 2016 they added each other as friends so they could private message and began chatting.
‘I told her about my work as a ventriloquist, my daughters, Michelle, now 20, and Sabrina, now 17,’ he explained. ‘I learnt she was about to go to college and lived 1,800 miles away San Antonio, Texas.’
As well as talking about their lives, the pair shared titbits about the Marx brothers, Harpo, Chico, Groucho, Gummo and Zeppo, and jazz music, of which they are both fans.
Alexandria flew to New York to stay with Jonathan in January and spent the summer with him
Jonathan first tried to deny his feelings but eventually admitted he had fallen for Alexandria
Jonathan continued: ‘The chat got personal. I complimented her, I thought she was wonderful and very beautiful.’
Within a few weeks, the couple were speaking every day, largely through Facebook but occasionally via video chat.
Two months later in May 2016 Alexandria confessed something which had been playing on her mind.
‘I told him I thought he was very attractive,’ she said. ‘That I really liked him.’
Jonathan, a divorcee, admitted he didn’t believe her at first.
‘I told her I was too old for her,’ he said. ‘I really couldn’t believe someone like her could like me.’
They continued chatting but Jonathan continued to rebuff Alexandria’s advances. ‘She’d sometimes say she was falling in love with me,’ he said. ‘I was trying to fight it, but truthfully I felt the same.’
Finally, despite having never met in person, Jonathan confessed his true feelings, telling Alexandria: ‘It would be a mistake to be with you, and it would be a bigger mistake not to pursue a relationship with you.’
A few weeks later in November 2016, he flew the three hours to San Antonio to see her. During the trip, Johnathan met Alexandria’s parents, who he got on well with.
Their families thought the pair were just friends and did not realise the depth of their feelings towards each other. They shared their first kiss at an animal sanctuary.
‘It was magical,’ Jonathan said. ‘Behind a tower I realised she was the one.’
In January 2017 Alexandria flew to New York City to visit Jonathan. In the summer she spent two months with her partner.
After initial scepticism, people, including her parents, have now accepted their relationship.
‘They can see we are happy,’ Jonathan said. ‘Right now, she is in college studying for about three years. I want her to transfer to a college here though.’
Reflecting on the relationship, Alexandria added: ‘We met virtually in a Harpo Marx fan page on Facebook. I’d set it up because I love him.
‘Jonathan joined the group and the rest is history. We’ve Harpo Marx to thank to for bringing us together.’