The survey found that people's favourite 'age-gap' celebrity couple was actor Michael Douglas and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is 25 years younger.

London - The perfect age gap for partners is four years and four months - but only when the man is older, a survey has found.

A study of 2,000 adults showed that just one percent of women believed the “ideal relationship” was with a younger man.

Men were also reluctant to be a toyboy, with just two percent saying they would rather be with an older woman.

The majority of respondents said an age gap was preferable, however.

Forty percent said three to four years was the ideal age gap, while thirty percent said five to six years.

Celebrity couples with a four-year age gap include actress Gwyneth Paltrow, 40 and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, 36, who have been married for nine years and have two children. Paltrow defied convention by choosing a younger man.

The Queen, 86, meanwhile, married Prince Philip, 91, five years her senior, as did model Kate Moss, 39, when she wed musician Jamie Hince, 44.

The survey, by, found that many women would be happier with a larger age gap, with one in three saying they would date a man seven years older.

Despite this, more than a third said they assumed when they saw a women with a much older men that he “very rich”, while one five assumed “it wouldn’t last”.

A quarter said that they viewed women with older men as “gold-diggers”.

Those in favour of an age gap said the main benefit was that “you can learn from the different perspective of the other partner”, while four in ten said “the youthfulness of the younger partner rubs off on the older partner”.

The survey found that people’s favourite “age-gap” celebrity couple was actor Michael Douglas and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is 25 years younger.

Hollywood actor Harrison Ford and actress Calista Flockhart, who is 22 year his junior, and Australian actress Deborah Lee Furness and X-men actor Hugh Jackman, who is 13 years younger, also featured on the list.

Counsellor and relationship expert Julia Cole said: “Age gap relationships are becoming more and more common because of the greater acceptance of the diversity of couples and families.

“Couples can make loving relationships across ages and genders, but age gap relationships can bring with them issues that are not often considered when the couple first start seeing each other.

“If the age gap is fairly wide - more than ten years - and the relationship grows into a commitment, it is important to talk about attitudes to money, expectations of family life and what parents, siblings and friends will think about an older partner in their life as well as yours.” - Daily Mail