15 Heartwarming Moments from Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's Decades-Long Love Story

A Lasting Love

In July 2020, former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn broke their own record for the longest-married presidential couple, celebrating their 74th wedding anniversary. 

Jimmy, who turned 96 on Oct. 1, and Rosalynn, 93, tied the knot in 1946. Here, we’re taking a look back at the beloved couple’s history together over the past seven decades. 

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Origin Story

The longtime loves first met in the early 1940s, when he was on break from the Naval Academy. He asked Rosalynn — who was best friends with his younger sister, Ruth — on a date to the movies.

“I just felt compatible with her,” he recalled in Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas’ book What Makes a Marriage Last, published in May. “She was beautiful and innocent, and there was a resonance. We rode in the rumble seat of a Ford pickup—Ruth and her boyfriend in the front—and I kissed her on that first date. I remember that vividly.”

Here, the couple is pictured embracing on election night in 1976.

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A Growing Family

The couple share four children together: son Jack, whom they welcomed one year after their wedding, followed by sons Chip and Jeff in 1950 and 1952, respectively. After a 14-year gap, the pair welcomed their daughter Amy, who spent part of her childhood growing up in the White House. 

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In It Together

The pair were all smiles at a Valentine’s Day fundraiser in 1976. While on the presidential trail in the ‘70s, Carter called his wife his “secret weapon.” 

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Stepping into the Spotlight

Rosalynn stood by her husband’s side while he was sworn in as the 39th President of the United States on Jan. 20, 1977.

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A Cause for Celebration

After being sworn in, the new president and first lady waved to the crowd as they walked from the Capitol to the White House during the inauguration parade. 

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A Sweet Embrace

The couple shared a private moment in the White House in April 1977. 

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Having a Ball

That same year, the Carters made a glamorous pair while dancing at a White House congressional ball. 

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A Leg Up

Here, the Carters are pictured along with their youngest child — their daughter Amy (left), whom they welcomed in October 1967 —  and their grandson, Jason, at the 1977 White House Easter Egg Roll, an annual tradition.

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The ‘Art’ of Love

The pair glowed at a Sotheby’s Auction in New York City in October 1983, two years after his single term in the White House ended. 

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Pucker Up

The couple has been known to share a sweet smooch whenever the Kiss Cam pans to them — which has happened a number of times over the years at various sporting events in their native Georgia. 

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Weekly Tradition

The Carters’ Saturday night routine often consists of walking a half-mile from their two-bedroom rancher in his hometown of Plains, Georgia, to their friend Jill Stuckey’s house. There, they dine together and enjoy a single glass of “bargain-brand Chardonnay,” according to the Washington Post

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Staying Active

Carter previously told PEOPLE that he attributes their ongoing active lifestyle to marrying “the best spouse.” 

“It’s hard to live until you’re 95 years old,” he said. “I think the best explanation for that is to marry the best spouse: someone who will take care of you and engage and do things to challenge you and keep you alive and interested in life.”

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Tips to Making Marriage Work

“We found out a long time ago that disagreements are inevitable between two strong-willed people,” Carter told Donahue and Thomas about his and Rosalynn’s 74-year-union in What Makes a Marriage Last.  “But we decided early on to give each other plenty of space. If Rosalynn is interested in something, she does it her own way, accepting my help when she needs it. And she gives me plenty of space to work on my own projects but helps me when I need it. We also look for things to do together.” 

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Stop the Spread

In July, The Carter Center — the Atlanta-based nonprofit that the couple founded in 1982 — shared a photo of the pair wearing face masks printed with the center’s logo, encouraging everyone to “please wear a mask to save lives” in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The center is committed to a handful of humanitarian efforts, including fighting against preventable diseases.

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