Love at First Dance for 'Real Modern Family' Couple Separated in Age By Nearly 30 Years


Meet the Bautistas of Jacksonville, Fla. Jennifer is 28. Her husband, Valentino? 57.

"He's Filipino and he's the most handsome and most lovely man in the world," Jennifer, a kindergarten teacher, told "Good Morning America."

That age difference is one of the reasons that they believe they are the embodiment of the real "Modern Family," the hit TV sitcom that follows the hilarious lives of three separate families whose members have ties to each other.

"Good Morning America" has been conducting a search for real-life modern families -- families whose lives may mirror those of the sitcom's characters.

"My family is a modern family because I'm in love with a man that's almost 30 years older than me," Jennifer said.

Courtship Creates Conflict

They met on a dance floor. Jennifer was 21 and a college senior. Valentino was divorced.

It was love at first dance, and they've been married for four years.

But not everyone was prepared for their relationship. Jennifer's grandmother, Edna, was so upset that one night she just couldn't sleep.

"And I got up about 4 in the morning and wrote her a letter. I just poured my heart out ... trying not to make her angry but consider all the things she would be getting herself involved in by marrying an older man and someone of a different culture," Edna said.

Despite their fears, Jennifer's family soon embraced Valentino.

Like the fictional Jay and Gloria in "Modern Family," the Bautistas have big differences, both in age and culture.

Sometimes their life really looks and sounds like a scene from the show.

"She's a challenge. Sometimes it's like to talking to one of my kids," Valentino said, speaking of his wife.

"I have a trophy wife here, trophy girl, that's what makes me proud inside," he added.

To that, Jennifer replied: "I don't know if I want to be called a trophy wife but, hey, if it makes him feel good in front of the guys at work, go for it. But I know the truth."

Their courtship turned heads everywhere they went, including on their first dinner date.

Bautistas Teach Each Other About Life, Love

"And I remember waiting for the table. We were standing outside and all these eyes were on us and I was like, 'Oh my goodness, I'm not going to be able to handle this,'" Jennifer, a kindergarten teacher, recalled. "Everybody was staring at me and I was like 'OK people, I know he's old enough to be my father but we're dating.' And I was so nervous and on edge ... I couldn't even think."

In the national hunt for real-life modern families, "Good Morning America" learned of many couples with similar age gaps. As it turns out, there are a lot of Jays and Glorias out there.

"I think we definitely connect with Jay and Gloria ... just seeing their age difference with Gloria being young and even more modern, Jay is a little old fashioned because of his age," Jennifer said.

"And she introduces him to many things he's not familiar with and I definitely do that with Valentino," she said.

One of those things is the computer.

"He's never had to use a computer before in his life. Even last night I was trying to teach him what the track pad is and he was like, 'What am I doing?'" she said.

Valentino works for the U.S. Postal Service, and has never used a computer at work, so he's learning now.

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