Florist Zara Boots opened up about her romance with divorced dad-of-two Paul Fisher – 27 years her senior – on Channel 5's Age Gap Love.
She told how she found her “soulmate” in the part-time mechanic – who she met when she was just a teenager – and had left her family in Exeter, Devon to settle down with him in Cheltenham, Gloucs.
But we can reveal the relationship has caused a deep rift in her close-knit family amid claims he "preyed" on the straight A student.
Zara's aunt Kate accused "lazy" Paul of "sponging off" her niece – and revealed her dad Lloyd wants "nothing to do" with him.
Speaking to The Sun Online from her home in Exeter, hairdresser Kate, 48, blasted: "He's far too old for our lovely Zara.
"We're a really close family so when she announced a couple of years ago that she'd met this guy who was 27 years older than her, we were naturally very concerned.
"Lloyd is disappointed about her choice of boyfriend. He brought her up to have clear goals and to be successful in life and Paul just seems to be sponging off her.
"I watched the show and I wasn't too impressed, to be honest.
"He is supposed to have a job as a mechanic, but Zara says he actually only works part time, while she works full time as a florist.
"He seems a bit lazy and we're worried he's taking advantage of her."
Furious Kate claimed that Paul – who at 48 is just four years younger than Zara's dad – broke things off last year.
But the pair rekindled their love in May, just weeks before filming started.
Zara – who moved 120 miles from her family home to move in with Paul – said: "My family think of him as the villain".
"They think he's someone who's kind of trapped me or preyed on me or is kind of moulding me to his life. That's not him at all."
Kate added: "Zara is such a lovely, sparky person, full of love and jokes and he just seems, well, boring.
"There are a lot more fish in the sea and we all hope that eventually she'll come to her senses and leave him – and maybe find someone her own age."
Zara’s gran also hinted at the family’s rift over the romance.
Margaret Boots, 74, said she had "enjoyed" watching her granddaughter on the tv show.
Asked if she approved of Zara’s choice of Paul as her boyfriend, she replied: "No comment."
She then added: "I’m sorry, but I do not wish to say anything further."
The programme made no mention of their split, focusing instead on their loved-up life together in the South West.
On the show, Paul told how doting Zara has made him a packed lunch every day since they got together – and often slips romantic notes in with the food.
One reads: "I love you with all my heart. I'm yours, Handsome."
Another says: "I'm lucky to have found my soulmate."
The pair will be unable to have kids, as Paul – who already has two teenage sons – underwent a vasectomy before meeting Zara.
But she told the show: "I've just turned 21 and kids are not really on my mind yet."
She added: "There are plenty of women who don't have kids, and it's not the end of the world and I can still have a great life without them."
Paul said: "She's my best friend and everything else rolled into one. I couldn't wish for anything better. or want, to be honest."
The Sun Online has approached Zara and Paul for comment.
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