Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter talk about the future of the Carter Center and their global work during a town hall held on Sept. 17, 2019, in Atlanta. On Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, the Carter Center announced that the two Georgians had become the longest-married presidential couple in U.S. history.  BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Photo: Branden Camp
Photo: Branden Camp

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter now the longest-married presidential couple

As Jimmy often tells it, he was rebuffed the first time he proposed marriage to the then-Rosalynn Smith. 

Eventually, thankfully, she surrendered to his peanut-farmer charm and became a Carter — a decision that would take them both to the Georgia Governor’s Mansion, the White House, foreign countries, even the cancer ward and pretty much everywhere in between.

Now, more than 73 years later, those committed youngsters from Plains have a new title: longest-married presidential couple. 

A timeline: 10 of Jimmy Carter’s major accomplishments

The Carter Center, the former president’s nonprofit based in Atlanta, made the announcement on Thursday. Jimmy and Rosalynn’s 26,765 days together (and counting) was a record, surpassing the mark that George H.W. and Barbara Bush had amassed before the latter died last year. 

Jimmy Carter was just 21 when they married at Plains Methodist Church on July 7, 1946. Rosalynn was just 18. 

Their latest milestone is just, well, their latest. 

There was the 73rd anniversary earlier this summer, of course. In March, Mr. Carter became the oldest living former president — an achievement that was very much in doubt after his cancer diagnosis in 2015.

Jimmy Carter turned 95 earlier this month. A few days later, he fell at home and had to get stitches above his eye. 

But the former president was undaunted. 

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were in Nashville, Tennessee, a few days later for a scheduled build with Habitat for Humanity.

It marked the the 36th year the couple had participated in such a project.

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