Don’t tell the French that age is just a number.
Russian researchers shockingly have claimed that Jeanne Calment, the oldest recorded person in history at 122 years and 164 days, was not the woman she claimed to be.
Velery Novoselov and Nikolay Zak had earlier asserted that Calment of Arles, France, had died in 1934 at the 59 and that it was actually her daughter, Yvonne Billot, who passed away in 1997.
But French officials aren’t buying the story, calling it a “conspiracy theory” and won’t budge on altering Calment’s death sentence, stating her age is “well-documented,” reported BBC News.
Novoselov and Zak argue Billot assumed her mom’s identity in a tricky scheme just to avoid paying an inheritance tax.
They cited documentation that appeared to indicate Calment’s reported eye color varied and presumed it to be two different women. They also referenced Arles’ mayor remarked that she appeared very young for her age when she hit 100.
Born Feb. 21, 1875, in Arles, Calment claimed to have met Vincent Van Gogh while purchasing paint in 1888. She referred to the Dutch master as “ugly as sin” and “an awful character.”
She also was a smoker with a weakness for chocolate and wine.
When asked what was the secret of her longevity on her 120th birthday, Calment joked, “I only have one wrinkle and I am sitting on it.”
She married her husband, Fernand, in 1896 and the two were married for 46 years before his death. She would outlive him by a staggering 55 years.