Vicar and Model's May-December Romance Ends Tragically

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday June 5, 2020

Florin Marin
Florin Marin  (Source:Florin Marin / Instagram)

The May-December romance that flourished between an 81-year-old retired English vicar and his half-century-younger Romanian husband came to a tragic end when Philip Clements, the older of the couple, succumbed to illness in a Romanian hospital, news reports say.

As reported previously at EDGE, Clements and Marin wed in April of 2017, after Clements sold his home in England and moved to Bucharest.

The marriage hit the rocks early on, due in part to the couple's younger half, aspiring model Florin Marin, going out clubbing and seeing a Spanish man closer to his own age. But the couple reconciled and adapted, deciding to open their relationship in order to calm the stormy relationship waters.

The two were not always able to be together due to their different nationalities and Marin's career, but when they were apart they relied on technology — such a instant messaging — to help them stay close.

"I would be a little bit jealous I have to admit," Clements allowed last year, when their unusual relationship made headlines. "That other chap, who doesn't exist at the moment, is getting more of what I should be enjoying."

The vicar spent 60 years in celibacy, news sources said. Once he found love, Clements was unwilling to surrender it: "It was like losing an arm or a leg," the vicar said of the couple's temporary separation, which occurred before they agreed to an open relationship. "I knew for certain that I needed him."

"Now it's much better than in the past," Marin added, going on to say, "Philip had to change from the beginning to understand more my culture, from where I come from, how I am... all this stuff."

Added the young husband, "Sometimes he doesn't understand the culture — he's English, I'm Romanian, I have my manners, he has his manners."

But the language of love is the same everywhere. Asked whether he would take on the responsibility of looking after his husband should he become infirm, Marin replied, "Of course."

But Clements had health problems, and simply being older in a time of COVID-19 carries certain risks. The disease, which is caused by the novel coronavirus, makes about one in six people seriously ill, with the elderly and people living with underlying medical conditions being particularly vulnerable.

It was a fear of COVID-19 that caused medical staff to separate Clements and Marin when the younger man took his ailing husband to the hospital, reported UK newspaper The Mirror. Staff placed Clements into isolation, separating the spouses. Tragically, Clements fell into a coma and died in a cardiac ward, still separated from Marin, news articles said.

Tests indicated that Clements did not have COVID-19, but tests for the disease can present false negative results, so it may not be known for certain whether or not Clements had the coronavirus.

The British press took a dismissive tone, referring to Marin as Clements' "toyboy" and focusing on the assets that passed to Florin.

UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported on the inheritance Clements left to Marin: A pension of £2,000 (a little more than $2,500) per month, a life insurance policy worth £150,000 (a little more than $190,000), and a house worth £100,000 (about $127,000) that had been transferred to Marin's name before Clements died.

Florin told the Daily Mail:

"People will think that I am a widow with a black hat who is crying, and I did cry, but two days is enough.

"Philip didn't want me to cry, he wanted people to be happy whatever happened."

Though not able to attend to Clements in person, Florin gave a letter to a nurse to pass along to his husband, the Daily Mail said.

Marin recounted that the letter "told him that everyone who loved him was praying for him in England and that the cat was fine and missing him.

"I told him I loved him and that everything would be fine, but I don't know if he read the letter," Marin added.

The funerary plans are for Clements' body to be cremated and a small ceremony to memorialize him. Marin said he intended to find an Anglican cleric to preside.

The Daily Mail noted that the Romanian church is opposed to marriage equality.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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