Soviet-era Russian film star Ivan Krasko has shrugged off his 84 years to give marriage a fourth try – with 24-year-old student Natalya Shevel.
The couple tied the knot in a small ceremony for close friends and family on Wednesday in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg, during which Krasko donned the same naval uniform he had worn aged 23 when serving on an amphibious assault ship in the Soviet navy.
The happy couple after the weddingThe happy couple after the wedding Photo: CORBIS
“I feel like I am 23 years old… she is not a simple person but I find this interesting,” Krasko told Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda on the day of the wedding. “I have taken her under my wing. And I should have enough strength for the seven years that I have promised her.”
The Russian octogenarian actor, beloved in his home country for over 100 film and stage appearances, met Shevel five years ago whilst teaching at the university where she was studying — and was impressed by her ability to write poetry.
84-year-old Russian actor Ivan Krasko and 24-year-old Natalya Shevel84-year-old Russian actor Ivan Krasko and 24-year-old Natalya Shevel Photo: CORBIS
He proposed to Shevel on a Moscow metro platform, reportedly getting down on both knees and presenting her with a diamond ring.
Both Shevel and Krasko have told Russian media that they might look to have children, but they said that up until the wedding at least their relationship had been platonic.
“What’s sex? Sex is the relationship between the two sexes. Kissing or touching is already sex,” Shevel told news website super.ru. “Has Ivan Ivanovich kissed me? Of course he has kissed me. Has he embraced me? Of course he has embraced me. That means sex has happened.”
Krasko’s friends at the wedding included a few illustrious names from the Russian theatre world, while Shevel was accompanied by some student friends with whom she studies.
After the service, the two kissed for the cameras in the back of a vintage car before being photographed, as is traditional at Russian weddings, at some of the tourist sites of Russia’s northern capital. They are due to spend their honeymoon in Venice.
The newlyweds in an open top carThe newlyweds in an open top car Photo: CORBIS
Known for his many roles in Soviet television series and films as well as his long career in the theatre, Krasko has not sought to hide his relationship with the Shevel.
Shevel, who has been divorced once, dismissed any suggestion that the match was inappropriate.
“In this age they do almost anything, we already have single-sex marriage and so on. Those who love and respect Ivan Ivanovich [Krasko] should love and respect his choice, be happy for him that he is well, that he still has some sort of life and that he can be happy. Why is it bad?” she told Komsomolskaya Pravda.
“He’s a true romantic,” Shevel told Russian celebrity gossip website super.ru on the eve of their marriage. “If he thinks I’m cold he takes off his jacket and forces me to put it on. He’s always asking if I have got enough money to travel and gives it to me if not, looks after me, and brings me coffee in bed.”
Krasko divorced his previous wife, Natalya Shchepinsky — who was 47 years his junior — after their relationship ended in 2011. The actor already has six children from his previous marriages, including another famous Russian actor, Andrei Krasko, who died aged 49 in 2006 from heart failure.