By Liana Jacob
MEET THE woman who is engaged to a man TWICE HER AGE and admits that they have received backlash over their relationship but insists that their love is strong – and now she even goes PARTYING with his daughter who is almost the same age.
In August 2016, entrepreneur and fitness coach, Najlah Muhammad (24), from Arizona, USA, first met business man, John Malott (48), from Wisconsin, USA, at a nightclub where he was celebrating his birthday.
One of Najlah’s friends introduced them to each other and since they met, they became inseparable; dancing and laughing. Within just a few weeks of dating, Najlah fell in love with him and despite their relationship being tested by people trying to break them up by telling lies about John cheating on her and losing friends along the way, they stood confidently alongside each other.
Najlah and John’s families were not happy with their union initially, but she says that when her family met John and discovered how genuine he is, they accepted their relationship.
John is a dad to four daughters, three of whom are close to Najlah’s age, Jessica (18), Carissa (25) and Lauren (26), one of whom is only two months older than her. She didn’t take their relationship well in the beginning but since she met Najlah, she has grown to like her, and they even go out together now.
In November 2017, John took Najlah’s family to his villa in Mexico, where they went out for a meal and when they arrived back at the villa, he took them all to his balcony where he got down on one knee and proposed to her, to which she said yes.
They are now discussing the possibility of children and even John’s youngest daughter (9) is keen on the idea.
“It all started at the very end of summer in 2016, in the midst of old town Scottsdale’s bar scene,” Najlah said.
“I was having a night out with my girls when a friend asked if we wanted to come to this club called Mint because his boy, John, was celebrating his birthday.
“We met, danced, laughed and literally became inseparable since that day and I didn’t expect I would fall in love within weeks of dating.
“It was almost love at first sight – within weeks actually. The amount of time we spent together, all day and night, our connection grew very strong.
“What attracted me to John at first was how well this man could dress. Then when I saw his dance moves and rhythm, I was very impressed. He’s also very charismatic, handsome and has a kind heart.
“John says my beauty is what attracted him at first, but he then fell in love with how well we connected and how it didn’t seem that he was talking to someone younger than him because the conversations never went dull.
“I think we get along extremely well because I’m a bit mature for my age and I guess you can say he can be immature but never in a bad way.
“When people found out about us, they would find ways to try to destroy our relationship, gossiping and even making up lies about us both so we could stop seeing each other.
“People would lie that John was seeing other girls and that one time in particular he was out with some random girl but I knew it wasn’t true because he was with me that day and we were living together.
“At first our families were shocked, some were disappointed and didn’t understand. Eventually most of our families came around to the idea of us once they knew how serious we were about each other.
“John has four daughters; in the beginning of our relationship it was tough for the daughter who is closest to my age, so she refused to meet me or talk to me.
“Eventually when we met, she got to know me and now we all feel pretty close and talk frequently. Now they say that they are very happy for their dad and we all party together when we get together.”
Despite both having affluent jobs, the couple do receive negative comments about their relationship such as Najlah being called a ‘gold-digger’, which they took sensitively at first. Najlah even admits that their mixed race has also made people uncomfortable.
Now they are so loved up they don’t notice the comments anymore and have already set a wedding date of June 2019. They also hope to have children in the future.
“John took my family and I to his villa in Puerto Penasco, Mexico during Thanksgiving weekend,” Najlah said.
“We all went out for a nice big family dinner and when we arrived back at the villa, he asked everyone to meet up at the top balcony for a toast when we got there, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
“Friendships we had for years ended, but we didn’t let any of it tear us down. Looking back, it actually made us stronger.
“It became an ‘us against the world’ kind of thing. In more words, John and I are not the same race, I am black, and he is white. John and I are not close in age, he is forty-eight and I am twenty-four.
“The combination of those two factors made people feel uncomfortable around us and our relationship.
“The stares, the uncomfortableness in social settings, the outright hate of our relationship to our faces and especially on social media has been difficult.
“People sometimes laugh or give dirty stares as if they’re confused. The most common things people say are ‘why are you with that old man?’ and ‘you’re a gold digger’.
“People see that I’m a younger woman dating an older gentlemen and assume I’m after him for money; I have my own business and we’re building businesses together but we don’t feel the need to have to prove anything to anyone.
“It was a little challenging talking to my family at first about him since I’m the fifth of six girls until my parents actually met John and knew that he was truly a genuine person.
“Our problems have only been other people and their ridiculous views of our relationship, but we’ve learned to block it out and keep moving. We don’t let the opinions of other people affect our life and our relationship.
“We most definitely want to have children; John would like a son to carry on his legacy, but we would be happy with a boy or girl or even both.
“His youngest daughter is very eager to be a big sister and asks me almost every time when we are having a baby.
“I would say that judging a book by its cover has never been a good idea. People don’t have to look like brother and sister to have a great relationship. The facade is never as important as the foundation.”