TV & Movies

Sergio Carrallo & RHODubai Star Caroline Stanbury Ignore Age Gap Critics

The former soccer pro’s dad even tried bribery to break them up.

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 06: Sergio Carallo attends Rhonda’s Kiss Good Fortune Gala at TAO on M...
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Given the nearly 19-year age difference between Caroline Stanbury and her second husband, Sergio Carrallo, the Real Housewives of Dubai star, 46, joked on the Bravo series that she has handbags older than the 27-year-old retired pro soccer star. When they first met at Stanbury’s Divorced Not Dead promo tour stop in Newport Beach, California, following her 2019 divorce from financier Cem Habib, Carrallo even initially lied about his age. “I said I was 31, because I knew she wouldn’t talk to me otherwise,” he admitted to the Daily Mail in November 2020, adding that he was the one “pushing for a date” with the Ladies of London alum.

Carrallo was living in Newport Beach when they met. After a six-year stint playing for Real Madrid in his native Spain beginning in July 2012, he retired stateside as a member of the New York Cosmos in 2018. That’s when he moved near his Silicon Valley exec father in California and enrolled in two accelerated certificate programs — media and global communications and digital marketing — at the University of California, Irvine. According to a Winter 2019 alumni spotlight profile, Carrallo was interning with California Coast Yachts in Newport Beach, having already worked with Nike, Instagram, and Abercrombie & Fitch. The former athlete also noted that he’d spent “several summers in Los Angeles learning English” as a child.

He and Stanbury eventually went public with their relationship in July 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated their romance. Carrallo traveled to Dubai, where Stanbury lives with her three children, and, knowing he might not see her again for several months, ended up moving into the apartment next door. (Premarital cohabitation was illegal in the United Arab Emirates, at the time.) At least at first, Carrallo’s parents strongly opposed the coupling.

“Dad offered me a good amount of money — anything I wanted — to give Caroline up,” he told the Daily Mail. Meanwhile, his mother “cried, and not in a good way,” Carrallo recalled, adding, “She said, ‘Why do you have to do this? Why not get a normal life with a younger girl and build a family?’ And I was like, ‘But Mum, I love her!’” However, after meeting Stanbury, his mom fell “super in love with her,” the retired footballer shared.

In January 2021, Stanbury announced on Instagram that Carrallo had proposed to her during a recent trip to the Himalayas. As she explained on Real Housewives, they found out in late 2021, however, that they “couldn’t get married” in Dubai because she’s Jewish and divorced and Carrallo is Catholic. So they had three weeks to “run very quickly” to Mauritius where they were legally married in November 2021, while also still planning a lavish Dubai ceremony. The latter nuptials, which viewers will see on the Bravo reality series, eventually took place on Dec. 18, 2021 at Raffles the Palm Resort in Dubai. More recently, Stanbury shared with Women’s Health that they also just bought their first home together, calling married life “amazing, really.”

On RHODubai, Stanbury denied insinuations that Carrallo is “a toy boy,” adding, “At my age, I get a whole do-over — and with a very hot, very darling husband.” However, he seems to be, at least jokingly, embracing the title, captioning a June 2 Instagram post, “Forever her #toyboy.”

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