Former President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter, the longest-married presidential couple in U.S. history, celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary on Tuesday.
Jimmy Carter, 95, met then-Rosalynn Smith, 92, though his younger sister, Ruth, who was childhood friends with Rosalynn. They began dating in 1945 while Jimmy Carter was home from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. After their first date, Jimmy Carter told his mother that Rosalynn was the woman he was going to marry.
The couple exchanged vows July 7, 1946, in their hometown of Plains, Georgia. Since then, they’ve lived in the Georgia Governor’s Mansion and the White House. Together they’ve raised four children.
Jimmy Carter with his wife Rosalynn Carter pose for a photo in Georgia in 1971.
Then-Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, share a moment aboard his campaign plane on October 24, 1976.
Jimmy Carter, his wife, Rosalynn, and their daughter, Amy, pose for a family portrait in 1976.
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter wave to the assembled Democratic National Convention after he accepts his party’s nomination for president in 1976.
Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, pose for a photo in Washington D.C. on April 25, 1977.
First Lady Rosalyn Carter and President Jimmy Carter greet well-wishers as they dance during one of their Inaugural Balls in Washington DC on January 20, 1977. (Photo by Warren K Leffler/PhotoQuest/Getty Images)
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter return to the White House on December 26, 1977, after spending Christmas in Plains, Georgia with their family and friends.
First lady Rosalynn Carter pats President Jimmy Carter’s cheek during the Democratic National fundraiser held in his honor on January 20, 1978.
President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter dance at a White House Congressional Ball on December 13, 1978.
President Jimmy Carter, with first lady Rosalynn behind him, addresses a crowd from the stage at a White House Jazz Concert on the south lawn on the 25th anniversary of the Newport jazz festival, in June 1978.
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter are seen at the arrival of the deputy premier of China, Deng Xiaoping, in Washington, DC on January 29, 1979.
Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, relax in the sun aboard the riverboat The Delta Queen on August 20, 1979, after the craft left Dubuque, Iowa.
Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn Carter pose for a photo in 1980 in New York City.
Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn at the Sotheby’s Auction in New York City, NY, October 4, 1983.
Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, attend the start of the Habitat for Humanity — Jimmy Carter Work Project 2002 at Durban’s International Convention Center on June 2, 2002, where local and international volunteers built houses for low-income families.
Rosalynn Carter and former President Jimmy Carter talk during the second day of the Habitat for Humanity – 2005 Jimmy Carter Work Project at Benton Harbor in Michigan.
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter arrive onstage at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.
About 300 volunteers, including former President Jimmy Carter, and wife, Rosalynn, worked on houses in Baltimore, Maryland and Annapolis on Tuesday, October 5, 2010, as part of a week-long nationwide project with Habitat for Humanity.
Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter attend dedication ceremonies for the new George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, Thursday, April 25, 2013.
Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter attend church on Easter Sunday at Maranatha Baptist Church on April 20, 2014 in Plains, Georgia.
Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter arrive at the 2015 MusiCares Person of The Year event honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 6, 2015.
Former President Jimmy Carter walks with his wife, Rosalynn Carter, along with Secret Service along West Church Street following dinner at a friend’s home on Saturday August 04, 2018 in Plains, Georgia.
Former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter answer questions during a news conference at a Habitat for Humanity project Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Jimmy Carter wears a bandage after a fall the day before at his home in Plains, Ga. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
(Front row) Former US president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter and (back row) Jill Biden, wife of former vice president Joe Biden, and former vice president Al Gore attend a funeral service for former US president George H. W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC on December 5, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR BOYS AND GIRLS CLUBS OF AMERICA – Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn attend a special ribbon cutting ceremony at the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Boys & Girls Club on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 in Plains, Ga. Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Unit was one of 30 Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide to receive a $50,000 grant through the Lowe’s and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Renovation Across the Nation program. (Kevin D. Liles/AP Images for Boys and Girls Clubs of America)
In 1982, the Carters founded the Carter Center, an organization aimed at resolving issues around human rights and democracy. Their work earned the couple a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999. Then-President Bill Clinton said the couple has “done more good things for more people in more places than any other couple on Earth.”
On his 75th birthday in 1999, Jimmy Carter said the most important decision he ever made in his life was “Marrying Rosalynn.”