Love and marriage can be tricky things, especially when the groom is 51 and the bride 16.
Which is why actor Doug Hutchison and his new wife, Courtney Stodden, have found a full-time job in addressing their many critics and clearing up rumors about...
Well, a lot of things.
"We have to have a sense of humor about it," Hutchison said in an exclusive interview with E! News airing tonight at 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. With that in mind, he considers their joint media appearances to be "a forum to hopefully help people change their perspective and expand their minds about love."
And maybe have a laugh?
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First of all, Hutchison wanted to make clear that there was "nothing illegal or immoral" about their courtship, which began online in January after someone Hutchison knew asked whether the actor would discuss acting with a friend's daughter.
"It turned from professional to personal, and slowly as we became more and more familiar with each other, it turned into long conversations...There was a lot of texting," explained Hutchison, who was in The Green Mile and had prominent roles in Lost, 24 and Lie to Me.
"Our communication was very innocent and open--there was nothing inappropriate about it whatsoever," he said. "There were no sexual innuendos, there was nothing until we began to fall for each other. We started using the L-word and confessing to one another we were having feelings for each other."
"Falling for each other!" added Courtney.
Hutchison said that Courtney, an aspiring singer and actress, is a Christian who had been "saving herself for marriage."
"I've got to say, if there's only one caveat to the ocean between our [ages]," he said, "I wished I was a virgin when we met."
"It's fine that he wasn't!" Courtney exclaimed, laughing. "He's a tiger!"
"You're so bad," Hutchison said, leaning in for a nuzzle.
Of course, there have been plenty of people who, aside from being a little disturbed by the May-December love story, didn't even believe that Courtney was 16 in the first place.
MORE: Is this even a legal marriage?
But E! News obtained her birth certificate proving her tender age, and the couple provided a copy for our cameras as well.
"We had a lot of people, especially in my camp, because I'm in this profession, suggesting we keep [the relationship] under wraps for fear of the repercussions of whatever--career, perception--and I was adamant that I didn't want to hide," Hutchison said.
And Courtney didn't seem to have a problem with that, either.
"I don't take things too seriously," she said of all the haters out there, "hiding behind the Internet."
One rumor that has gotten Hutchison's goat more than the others is the one about Courtney being a "plastic Barbie doll" shaped by plastic surgery.
"The truth of the matter is," he asserted to us, "it's not true. Courtney is beautiful."
"I was born this way out of the womb," she said. "God was her only plastic surgeon," her husband added.
Hutchison admitted that he's had to cut ties with "certain people who had a hard time" with his decision, but, "Courtney's more important to me than my career."
"I believe there's one rule in Hollywood, and that's that there are no rules," Hutchison continued. "That also can apply to love, and there are no rules, so...Was I afraid [of going public]? No."
In fact, he said, he's had more career opportunities now than he's had in 22 years in the business.
"What's kind of blown my mind about how this has all gone so global and viral," he said, "is that I have had more opportunity now...I've been courted by producers, directors, agents, record executives...publishers, because I write."
"So, a career killer? No," Hutchison concluded. "I don't think love is a career killer."
--Reporting by Will Marfuggi
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(Originally published July 19, 2011, at 3:15 p.m. PT)