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Former Eastry priest, Philip Clement, 80, slams online criticism of his relationship with Florin Marin, 25

By KentOnline reporter

An ex priest who married a male model 50 years younger than him has hit out online criticism of their relationship.

Philip Clements, 80, has been back together with Florin Marin, 25, for seven months after they separated weeks after the former clergyman transferred ownership of his flat to his young love.

At Christmas, KentOnline reported how the pensioner had said separating from his Romanian beau would be like "losing a leg".

Florin Marin and Philip Clements
Florin Marin and Philip Clements

However, following this the duo came in for criticism with readers commenting that their relationship was not real and "creepy".

People questioned Mr Marin's motives and suggested the pairing was doomed.

But writing today, Mr Clements said: "We are not the sordid couple some of your correspondents describe.

"I was and am a sincere Anglican priest who served the Church faithfully for 50 years, repressing my sexuality during full time ministry because I did not want to break the Church's rules for the clergy.

"Our relationship is for the most part, a close one, and when we are together, we enjoy normal activities like eating out and the cinema."

Philip Clements with Florin Marin at his former home in Eastry (6205596)
Philip Clements with Florin Marin at his former home in Eastry (6205596)

Mr Clements, who comes from Eastry near Sandwich, added: "We do not seek publicity, but I do have a message for the Church, that some clergy are living stressful lives because they have repress their natural instincts.

"Finally, there is no connection with paedophilia.

I have worked with children, but would never harm a child or even want to.

"I am sorry that some of your correspondents feel that they can judge two people without knowing or meeting us.

"Such people are not obliged to read about us. I am grateful for the support and kindness of so many of my friends, including members of church congregations."

In June last year, Mr Clements appeared on ITV's Jeremy Kyle show to discuss their relationship.

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