Fly fishing

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter discuss their ‘extraordinary’ 75-year marriage

Like many couples, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter have spent a lot more time together during the pandemic.

This period has only brought the former president and the first lady closer together, the two men told ABC News’ Steve Osunsami in an interview in their hometown of Plains, Ga., Last week before their 75th anniversary. wedding anniversary.

“It was just Jimmy and I,” said Rosalynn Carter. “And it was really wonderful.”

At 96 years old, Jimmy Carter is the oldest and longest-serving US president in the history of this country.

He and his wife have known each other most of their lives – they lived nearby in their hometown of Plains, and Rosalynn Carter was Jimmy Carter’s little sister Ruth’s best friend.

“I spent a lot of time in this house, but it was still in school,” recalls Rosalynn Carter, 93. “He was so nice to Ruth. He wrote her letters, and she talked about him all the time. And she had her picture on the wall in her bedroom. And I literally fell in love with that picture.”

Jimmy Carter recalled that after their first date, he told his mother, “She was the girl I wanted to marry.”

When he first proposed, about six months later, Rosalynn Carter actually said no – she wanted to graduate from college first, as she had promised her father on his deathbed a few years ago. earlier. “But he was persistent,” she said.

Both married July 7, 1946, at a Methodist Church in Plains after Jimmy Carter graduated from the United States Naval Academy.

The president said marrying Rosalynn Carter was “the most important thing in my life.”

“It was happy and joyous and obviously long lasting,” he said. “Rose finally said OK, and staying with me all this time has been the most wonderful thing of my life.”

After 75 years together, four of them in the White House, the Carers are the longest-married presidential couple in U.S. history.

It hasn’t been without its ups and downs, but it made it exciting, Jimmy Carter said.

“We’ve survived this long together because first of all we give each other a lot of space to do our own thing,” the president said.

At the same time, they also strive to “share as much as possible,” he said, from bird watching and skiing to fly fishing, which they have done in over ‘ten countries, he said.

“We’re making it a big week-long trip,” he said. “We have made it an important part of our leisure time.”

Jimmy Carter tells us that he and his wife were still fly fishing regularly at their home in Plains as recently as last year.

“We’re always looking to do things or find things we can do together, like fly fishing and bird watching and just go to the pond, catch a fish,” said Rosalynn Carter.

The two read the Bible together every evening. “We have been doing it for 60 years, probably,” the president said.

“When I am abroad and Rose is at home, we know that we are reading the same Bible text, and even though we are physically separated, it makes us think of the same scriptures and warnings from God, guidance from God, before we go to sleep, “he said. “So that helps a lot.”

They too, as the Bible takes into account, try not to go to bed angry, they said.

And, of course, there’s their decades-long volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, where they participated in the annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project and helped build and repair homes in over a dozen. of country.

“We were fortunate enough to be able to travel the world, almost,” said Rosalynn Carter. “Everything with Jimmy Carter has been an adventure.”

To mark their milestone, the couple, who have four children and more than a dozen grandchildren and great-grandchildren, hosted a birthday party at a school in their hometown.

“We set everything up to be able to accommodate a large crowd,” said Jimmy Carter.

The president also bought his wife a diamond necklace, with the number “75” drawn on the back, which she said she had not taken off since he gave it to her last month.

“During 75 years of marriage, we have always deepened our love for one another,” said the president. “I think it’s kind of an amazing thing. It doesn’t happen to a lot of couples, but it sure has happened to us.”

Watch Steve Osunsami’s interview with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter on ABC News Live July 5 at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. The segment will also be available on Hulu on July 6.

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