Paul Walker Was Wrong To Date A 16-Year Old…And I Know That From Experience

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Paul Walker and his girlfriend Jasmine in Hawaii in 2009(Photo: Will Binns / Pacific Coast News)

UPDATE #2: In case anyone was worried that I'm not getting enough feedback for writing about this, I've received over 1,200 responses. Here are some of the angriest ones, and here are some of the most encouraging and supportive.

UPDATE: For those of you suggesting that I'm wrong and Paul's behavior with Jasmine was okay because it was a one-time thing, meet Aubrianna Atwell, an ex-girlfriend of Paul's with whom he began a relationship when he was twenty-eight and she was…yup, sixteen.

I've been getting a lot of heat from commenters lately who are upset that I pointed out the widely-reported seventeen year age difference between Paul Walker and his longtime girlfriend Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell. His death was undeniably tragic, and no one is bringing that into question, but in reading posts about the loved ones who survived him, I was coming across some disturbing information. I kept seeing Jasmine's age listed as twenty-three right next to information that said they'd been dating for seven years. Given that Paul was forty at the time of his death, that meant that when they started dating, Paul was thirty-three and Jasmine was…sixteen.

I thought that was a thing we could all agree on as unacceptable, given that Paul was a parent by the time Jasmine was eight years old and started dating her when she was still a sophomore in high school, but some readers of our readers disagree. Particularly in light of Paul's sudden and tragic death in a car accident this past weekend, they aren't ready to hear anything about him that isn't a glowing review of his admirable accomplishments. And understandably so. In the days after someone dies, especially someone famous, the last thing people want to be reminded of is not only the fact that he was a human being who makes mistakes, but that they never knew him at all.

To that end, I've been getting a lot of really hateful commentary from people who are upset with me for suggesting that there's anything wrong with a thirty-three year old man dating a sixteen-year old girl. I've heard things like ‘you can't put a number on love' and ‘the age of consent is 16 in California' and ‘who are you to judge'? That's a good question — who am I to judge? Well, not that it matters, since we have a lot of laws specifically designed to do that judging for us, but I'm someone who was in a very similar situation.

Since you ask.

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