PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter on Saturday turned to his wife Rosalynn and thanked her for 75 years of marriage, telling her that she’s always been right for him.
“I want to express particular gratitude for being the right woman that I chose for my wife,” Carter said at a 75th wedding anniversary celebration in his hometown of Plains, Georgia. About 300 friends and family members attended the event at Plains High School, part of which was livestreamed.
Rosalynn Carter, sitting by his side, recounted how she didn’t care for dating young men while growing up and never thought she’d get married.
“I didn’t know how to talk to them, I didn’t want to go out with them,” she said. She added that she used to urge her mother to tell suiters calling for her on the phone that she wasn’t around.
“And then, along came Jimmy Carter and my life has been an adventure ever since,” she said.
In a recent interview, the 39th president told The Associated Press that the couple’s marriage is “a full partnership.”
The two met in Georgia when Jimmy Carter, at the time a young midshipman, was home from the U.S. Navy Academy. His younger sister set him up on a date with Rosalynn, who was a family friend who already had a crush on the future Georgia governor and U.S. president.
The two were married on July 7, 1946, in Plains, a town of fewer than 1,000 residents.
Their anniversary is the most recent milestone for the longest-married presidential couple in American history. Rosalynn Carter is 93. The former president, at 96, is the longest-lived of the 45 men who’ve served as chief executive.
Those who attended Saturday’s celebration included former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Country music stars Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks; and media businessman Ted Turner also attended, the Carter Center said in a statement.
Carter, wearing a dark suit jacket with a yellow flower on the chest, closed his brief remarks with six simple words to those gathered: “I love you all very much.”