Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter just became the longest-married presidential couple

Updated 5:02 PM EDT, Fri October 18, 2019
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(CNN) —  

Twenty-six thousand seven hundred and sixty-six days – and counting.

That’s more than 73 years. And that’s how long former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, have been married – making them the longest married presidential couple.

The Carter Center celebrated the milestone Thursday when the couple bested the record held by the late George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush.

And to think it might have turned out differently.

When Jimmy Carter first proposed, Rosalynn Smith – as she was known then – rejected him. Why? She had made a promise to her dying father she’d finish college first.
As she recounted in her memoir, “First Lady from Plains,” the pair grew up three years and three miles apart.

There were no girls in town who were her age. So Rosalynn became best friends with Jimmy’s younger sister.

“I thought he was the most handsome young man I had ever seen,” she wrote in her memoir.

Her father died when she was 12. But she kept her promise. She graduated from Georgia Southwestern College.

The pair went on their first date in 1945. They married the following year.

He was 21. She was 18.

“The best thing I ever did was marrying Rosalynn,” Carter once said. “That’s a pinnacle in my life.”

That’s not to say it’s been easy sailing all through. Take the time the couple decided to write a book together.

“It’s the worst problem we’ve ever had since we’ve been married,” Jimmy Carter jokingly told CNN at the time.

“It would be like God had given her this text at Mt. Sinai and she had brought it down and presented it to me in stone.”

He is now 95. She is 92. And their love story is still going strong.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said the Carters have been married more than 75 years. They’ve been married more than 73 years.