Better Late Than Never: 5 Couples Who Found Each Other Later In Life
1. Pacharin Pibulsonggram and Teddy Spha Palasthira
There is something particularly charming in the tenderness between 74-year-old Pat, also known as Pacharin, and 80-year-old Teddy. Perhaps it is due to the many years of wisdom both have accrued in life. “We’ve known each other for almost 50 years—we were both married to different people but the four of us were close friends,” explains Pacharin, as she produces a photo showing two smiling couples and a young woman. “This is the four of us with Teddy’s daughter, Malina, when she was still a student,” she says.
eddy adds, “Pat was married to Nitya Pibulsonggram, former foreign minister and ambassador to the US and the United Nations—a very old friend of mine. We were always close as couples, almost like a family, and over these years we went skiing and travelled all over the world together.”
How did Pat and Teddy get together after all those years? “We were very supportive of one another during our respective bereavements. My husband passed away almost five years ago now, and Manuela, Teddy’s wife, passed a few years ago. We supported each other as friends, and then one day it just happened,” Pat says calmly. “It took us by surprise actually—a pleasant surprise, but like a bolt of lightning,” she chuckles.
It was very sudden, very unexpected, but everyone seemed to be very happy about it.” For better, for worse, in sickness and in health, the two friends are getting married this year, much to the delight of family and friends.
2. Sermkhun Kunawong and Yupharet Ketsakhorn
Sermkhun Kunawong, the 58-year-old chief executive officer of CMO, met 45-tear-old Clé de Peau Beauté brand manager Yupharet Ketsakhorn at a dinner hosted by a mutual friend. “That was around five or six years ago,” she recalls. “But we didn’t get to talk that evening so Sermkhun asked our friend to arrange for us to have afternoon tea. Whether it was out of politeness that he asked to meet me again or whether he had ulterior motive, I wouldn’t know,” she laughs.
“Well, she caught my interest,” he smiles. “I was previously married but lived a quiet life following my divorce. When I saw Yupharet I felt straight away that she was the right one for me.” The couple took their time and met frequently over a period of seven months before officially dating. They eventually married last year.
After Sermkhun introduced Yupharet to his two daughters, Muanfun and Vadfun, the two pointed out a strange yet enticing coincidence. A collector and artist, Sermkhun has produced many works including sketches and woodblock prints, amongst which are portraits of a woman that bears an uncanny resemblance to Yupharet. What’s more surprising is that these works were produced two years prior to the couple first meeting. “That’s why people think we were acquainted long before we actually were. Some who have seen the portraits before having met me have said, “Oh, so you’re the lady in the paintings!”’ Prophetic indeed—a premonition of the lady who would become Sermkhun’s muse and capture his heart.
3. Thomas Wright and Srichanok Wattanasiri
Srichanok, now 64 and known as Nong, and 74-year-old Tom, met back in 1998 and were married a year later. “Our offices were on the same floor of the Golden Pavilion building. We hadn’t met but as workaholics we were both at work on a Sunday evening when Nong saw a light on in my office,” Tom explains. “The proprietor of the building wanted to raise the rent and I wanted an ally to help me object, so I approached Tom,” Srichanok adds. “When I first met her, I thought, this is one elegant woman—she’s not the office cleaner, that’s for sure,” he jokes. “We chatted. She was very well-spoken and after striking up a conversation we took it from there.”
“We saw each other at the office for more than a year. One thing led to another and we got married in December 1999,” says Nong. After they got together, Tom says that it took time for Nong’s daughters, Praire and Prao, to adjust to him. “At first I think they saw me as competition for their mother’s affection, but as time went by I earned their trust. I love them dearly—we gave them lots of love, and when they were bad, we loved them more,” he laughs. “Nong’s mother, too, was worried at first—me being a foreigner—but eventually we became very close. When she passed away, I missed her dearly.”
he couple work well together, cooking and decorating their home. “We think very differently, but we always end up arriving at the same conclusion,” says Nong.
4. Peter and Duangkamol Vephula Waagensen
Meeting 47-year-old Dane Peter and Duangkamol, who is 44, at their Bang & Olufsen showroom at Gaysorn Village, one can feel the energetic dynamic between the two. Peter and Duangkamol, also known as Prae, met for the first time at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. “That was more than 10 years ago. I saw Prae playing golf and I was quite struck by her,” he says. Was it love at first sight? “Interest at first sight,” he says, at which Prae quips, “Interest and also love at first sight, please!”
Peter continues, “It actually took me two years to get a friend of mine to introduce us—I didn’t know who she was, but I kept seeing her playing golf and wanted to get to know her.”
Prae then explains that their mutual friend, Thipvipa Chantapasa Srivikorn, introduced Peter to her. “I was a bit shy. I didn’t have the courage to talk to her and excused myself and went home early that day,” he laughs. Summoning more courage, he eventually asked for her phone number.
“He would message to ask if I wanted to play golf, and after that we started to get to know each other through golfing day trips,” Prae continues. “He was around 37 back then and I was 35, so we both knew what we wanted in life. We had our own lifestyles but they happened to be similar. For instance, in addition to golf we both like biking and cooking, so we’re very compatible.”
5. Atichat Rucksajit and Jittima Wattanasin
What is meant to be will invariably come to pass, just as the stars aligned themselves for 53-year-old Jittima Wattanasin and Atichat Rucksajit, who is 58. “To be honest, we used to meet frequently with both of us working in the modelling industry,” says Jittima, or Jan. “I always looked up to P’ Aek when I was young—mind you, he was very handsome back in the day and such a kind and hard working senior in the industry.”
Recalling an incident that sounds like a scene from a rom-com, Jan explains that they first met in person when she bumped her car into his during her freshman year at university. “I only remember that she was a very polite girl,” Aek says. Over the years, their paths crossed but it wasn’t until eight years ago that they started to get to know more about each other.
Married in 2015, Jan muses on the importance of communication as a couple. “In a mature marriage communication is key. As you grow older you become much more aware of what you want in life and are more able to express your views and feelings. You also have to show more patience—you have to listen to your partner more.”
When asked what they love about each other, the couple exchange an indulgent look. “Jan is someone who really loves her family,” says Aek. “She shares her love equally amongst the people close to us, and that extends to my mother and siblings, as well as my two daughters and my niece, Leyon.”