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Cougar CUBS

There's an unusual romantic trend developing among young famous fellas -- meet the teen toyboy generation and their cougar cubs.

In the latter half of 2011, it's fair to say that the phenomenon of the cougar is well established, and even not that unusual anymore. Demi Moore, Cameron Diaz, Sharon Stone and Madonna are all known for their fondness for younger men, some even young enough to be their sons.

Many women in their 30s and 40s are dating men in their mid to late 20s, but as all are consenting adults, eyebrows aren't as likely to be raised about a regular cougar relationship these days.

After all, men have been dating women decades younger than them since the year dot; it seems women have simply taken advantage of the same opportunity enough times that it's been destigmatised, which can only be a good thing in terms of feminism.

However, as is the way with many strands of pop culture nowadays, the trend has gone even younger. Female celebrities are now seeing fit to date, kiss and even have babies with teenage boys who are barely above the legal age of consent.

A paternity suit was even filed this week alleging that 17-year-old superstar Justin Bieber (currently dating 19-year-old Selena Gomez) is the father of a 20-year-old fan's newborn baby, although he and his camp are dismissing the claim.

With young women said to be years ahead of their male counterparts in terms of emotional maturity, it's easy to wonder what attracts these ladies to such young men, and if the relationship could be in any way balanced.

However, it's all legal and above board, and as the trend seems to be growing, not waning, will these cougar cub/teen toy boy relationships become the norm?

Young First LovE: Justin (17) and Selena (19) 21 months older than her teen toy boy

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are one of the most famous couples in the world right now. Both are only children raised by single mothers, both found fame barely out of puberty, both spend their time touring the world and are adored by millions of teens.

It's easy to see why they came together, but Selena, at 19, is older than her 17-year-old boyfriend. It might not sound like much, but 21 months between a teen boy and girl is a lot in terms of development, emotional and physical. It may be different from your average teen relationship because Justin and Selena are so famous, and normal rules don't apply; doubtless they understand each other's lives better than most.

Mind The Age Gap: Delta (26) and Nick (18) Eight years older than her teen toy boy

Delta Goodrem is 26 and, until earlier this year, she was engaged to Brian McFadden. Nick Jonas is 18 and formerly his only significant relationship was as a 15-year-old with fellow teen star Miley Cyrus.

If these two seem like a very unlikely couple, it's because they are, but they appear to be going strong. Delta has met the Jonas family who seemingly approve, the couple are frequently papped out together and on holiday and seem very affectionate.

Although Nick is the youngest Jonas Brother, he was always said to be the most mature and the driving force in the brothers' success. Perhaps he is emotionally able to handle a woman that's been previously engaged? Time will tell.

Woah, Mamma: Aaron (21) and Sam (43) 22 years older than her (formerly) teen toy boy

Even the most liberal of people surely raised an eyebrow at this pair, who got together in 2009 when Aaron Johnson was only 18 years of age.

An up and coming actor and teen heart-throb, Aaron fell for 41-year-old Sam Taylor Wood when she directed him in the John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy. Not only did they begin a public relationship right away, they became engaged after a few months, with Sam announcing her pregnancy weeks later. Aaron is now 21 and a father of one, with another baby on the way with his fiancee.

One Direction: Cougar Lovers

They're gorgeous, talented and barely legal, but that hasn't stopped famous ladies in their 20s falling for the lads from One Direction. Thirty-one-year-old Xtra Factor presenter Caroline Flack allegedly had a drunken snog with 17-year-old Harry Styles last week, but is reluctant to confess despite being questioned about it live on air by Louis Walsh.

If it is true, he wouldn't be the first one of his teenage bandmates to experiment with an older woman. Liam Payne is in a relationship with 22-year-old X Factor dancer Danielle Peazer, four years his senior, while Zayn Malik was involved with 24-year-old fellow X Factor contestant and mother of two Rebecca Ferguson.

These lads could have their pick of their millions of teenage fans, but there's something about the allure of an older woman that seems to be drawing them in.

Purity Rings: Gone Forever?

When the Hollywood machine was churning out well-behaved role models in the aftermath of former good gals Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan going off the rails, many of these teen stars took to wearing purity or promise rings, signalling their plans to remain abstinent until marriage. Selena Gomez, the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato all wore them religiously around 2008 and 2009, but now that they're all a little older and many of them are in high-profile relationship, the rings appear to have disappeared from their wedding fingers.

Was it a trend, a reminder for good behaviour before the age of consent, or do these young people simply not need a shiny trinket to remind them to stay pure any more?


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