When You’re 15

Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens & More Cougarettes (PHOTOS)

The oddest part of Taylor Swift’s new love might be the age difference. See more starlets who date young.

Splash (center right); Getty Images (others)

Splash (center right); Getty Images (others)

Taylor Swift knows something about teenage angst—she once sang about high school love with the line, “When you’re 15…” Now Swift is 22, and she’s dating someone who is 18, Conor Kennedy. Just a few months ago, she was said to be interested in another 18-year-old: Conor’s cousin Patrick Schwarzenegger. She’s among a class of 20-something starlets—from Carey Mulligan to Selena Gomez—who seem to prefer younger men. Take a look at these cougarettes.

Getty Images; Splash News

Taylor Swift and Conor Kennedy

Age difference: 4 years, 6 months, 19 days

Although she’s only 22, Swift has already been in (and written about) a lifetime of high-profile romances, including her time with John Mayer. But several of her boyfriends have been significantly younger than Swift. Taylor Lautner, her 2009 beau, was almost three years her junior, prompting one blog to ask: “Should a 17-Year-Old Date a 20-Year-Old?”. This summer, she started courting Kennedy scion Conor, when he was 17, according to several reports. “We’re told Conor’s cousins would accompany them on dates, but the family insisted they wait until after he turned 18 to come out as a couple,” reported Page Six. How serious is this love story? Now that Connor is 18, Swift has supposedly purchased a $4.9 million house in Hyannis Port, Mass., across the street from her new teenage man’s family property.

Valerie Macon, AFP / Getty Images

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber

Age difference: 1 year, 7 months, 7 days

Selena Gomez was only 18, when she started dating 16-year-old pop sensation Justin Bieber. Some of the Beliebers—Bieber fans—were absolutely heartbroken, and they chronicled every frolic and kiss of the relationship, from steamy makeout sessions by the pool to their Hawaii getaway. Gomez was criticized when she was spotted sharing a hotel room with the underage Bieber. At least Bieber turned 18 on March 1. Gomez is now 20, and they still appear to be going strong.

Francois Durand / Getty Images

Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Hutcherson

Age difference: 3 years, 9 months, 28 days

After a lengthy romance with Zac Efron, whom she met on the set of High School Musical in 2006, 23-year-old Hudgens rebounded with another co-star. She was spotted with Journey 2: Mysterious Island cute guy Josh Hutcherson (from The Kids Are Alright and Hunger Games), though he was nearly four years her junior. By the time press for their movie had wrapped, the couple had split. Hudgens’a current boyfriend is Disney star Austin Butler, who is slightly older than Hutcherson but still much younger than Hudgens. He’s only 20.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images for Doha Film Institute

Frieda Pinto and Dev Patel

Age difference:  5 years, 6 months, 5 days

Can an Oscar bring you love? It did for these two young Slumdog Millionaire stars, both of whom were unknowns until the 2009 Danny Boyle movie swept the awards circuit. Following the Academy Awards ceremony, after much speculation in the press and subsequent denials, they confirmed that they had become a real-life couple. Pinto was 24 at the time; Patel was 18. They moved in together last November. In February, Patel brushed off engagement rumors. “No, we are no engaged,” he said. “I am 21!” But she’s 27!

Dave Kotinsky / Getty Images

Carey Mulligan and Marcus Mumford

Age difference: 1 year, 8 months, 3 days

Carey Mulligan’s breakout role was in 2009’s An Education, where she played an English teenager who was romanced by a much older man. In real life, the reverse has been true. In August 2009, she started dating Shia LaBeouf, a year her junior. In April, at a barn wedding ceremony, she married the Mumford & Sons lead singer Marcus, who is younger than she is by almost two years.

Kent Phillips, Disney / Getty Images

Ashley Greene and Joe Jonas

Age difference: 2 years, 5 months, 25 days

Two giant tween franchises came together in this short-lived romance. In the fall of 2010, the Twilight star Ashley Greene, 23 at the time, was seen holding hands, shopping, and riding in a Porsche with Joe Jonas, then 21. But long-term love was not in the cards: their relationship ended in March 2011.  

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Dianna Agron and Alex Pettyfer

Age difference: 3 years, 11 months, 11 days

“She’s an amazing woman and she’s got this old school, classic movie star elegance to her,” Alex Pettyfer, a model turned actor, said last year, about his new girlfriend, Glee star Dianna Agron. He was 20. She was 24. They starred in the movie I Am Number Four together. But in February 2011, when they’d been together for less than a year, tabloids started running stories about their rocky breakup. Us Weekly quoted a source saying that Agron was “terrified” and staying at a hotel under an alias, after Pettyfer reportedly blew up at her.

Mark Davis / Getty Images for Belvedere RED

Paris Hilton and AfroJack

Age difference: 5 years, 11 months, 11 days

Last year, Paris Hilton was 30 when she started dating AfroJack, 24, a music producer and DJ who was working on her new album. He reportedly moved in with her—and then moved right out, according to a report in May from RadarOnline about how he dumped her. “Paris has tons of money, but that isn’t enough for her,” a source said. “Look, she is still going to clubs on a very frequent basis and she is 31 years old. You don’t see a lot of people over 30 going to clubs.” Perhaps that’s why she has a preference for younger men. She was four years older than her 2009 boyfriend, Doug Reinhardt, a former Hills actor and baseball player with abs of steel.