A gran-of-three is planning to marry her toyboy who is 28 years her junior after she met him on Tinder.

Sharon Hawkins, 50, matched with 22-year-old Perry Hopstein after she lowered her age range on the dating app to 19.

The secondary school teacher is often mistaken for Perry's mum but the loved-up couple, from North Carolina, US, plan to marry this year.

Divorcee Sharon said: "I may be old enough to be Perry's mother, but I won't let that stop me from chasing happiness.

"Perry and I know we're meant to be together and we don't care what other people think."

The secondary school teacher is often mistaken for Perry's mum

Sharon said her 16-year marriage to her ex-husband, who was a similar age to her, ended in 2015 after they 'grew apart'.

"In the last year of our relationship, I found myself stealing glances at men in their 20s whenever we went out," she said.

"I vowed to find someone more suited to my spontaneous personality."

Sharon matched with Royal Marine Perry in January 2020 after she changed her settings on Tinder.

She says: "I'd lowered the age range down to 19.

"I scanned Perry's profile and realised he was 22, which made him 28 years younger than me.

"He was also younger than my three kids.

"Perry had piercing blue eyes, brown hair and muscular arms.

Sharon's three children are older than Perry

"He looked like a model.

"I told him how I was a grandmother but he didn't care."

During the next few days, Sharon and Perry flirted back-and-forth over messages and she invited him to her home the following week.

"He was even sexier in real life," Sharon said.

"Even though we had such a large age gap, Perry was an old soul.

"We had a deep connection.

"Thankfully, my 23-year-old daughter who lives with me was fine with it."

The following week, Perry returned to Sharon's house to cook dinner for her and her daughter.

Sharon lowered her age preference to 19 on Tinder

Sharon says: "As Perry handed my daughter her plate, she said, 'Thanks, kid.'

"We all laughed.

"I was glad we could make a joke of it."

But a week later, Sharon and Perry had doubts about their age gap and stopped seeing each other but they stayed in touch every day and after a few months, they realised they missed each other and resumed dating.

In June 2020, they officially became a couple.

Sharon says: "Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Perry moved in with me straight away.

"It was fast, but I was the happiest I'd ever been and it just felt right.

"My friends all called me a cougar, it was hilarious.

The pair officially became a couple in June 2020

"Admittedly, sexually, mine and Perry's age gap was a kink.

"But it wasn't just about that.

"He was romantic too, surprising me with hot oil massages and filling the house with red rose petals constantly.

"He made me feel so special."

Soon after, the couple grew concerned over how Perry's family would react.

Sharon says: "We had to come clean to Perry's mum, who was the same age as me.

"I was so nervous.

"Perry lied and told her I was in my 40s, not wanting to give her too much of a shock.

Perry initially lied about Sharon's age to his mum

"Then, eventually, I met her and much to my relief, she welcomed me with open arms.

"She said she could tell how happy I made Perry.

"I was so relieved she'd accepted me into the family.

"Not long after, Perry met my sons, who are in their late 20s and my grandkids too.

"They all hit it off."

Since then, Sharon and Perry began receiving dirty looks from strangers.

She says: "It was really weird at first but we soon began to laugh it off.

"Then one day, we were out shopping and I gave Perry my bank card to pay for something while I rummaged through my handbag.

"The cashier said, 'You can't let your son use your card.'

"Perry and I tried not to laugh.

"Perry had such a sweet baby-face, it wasn't her fault.

"Not wanting to embarrass her, we didn't correct her.

"After that, people constantly confused Perry for my son whenever we for dinner or shopping.

"After a while, we made it a personal joke of ours where Perry would tell me to stop mothering him whenever I told him to do something."

Now, the couple are engaged and are planning to get married this year.

Sharon says: "I don't care about a silly number.

"It's the person who Perry is that I fell so deeply in love with."