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The World's Oldest Woman Says Singledom Is the Key to Long Life

The World's Oldest Woman Says Singledom Is the Key to Long Life

Emma Morano, the oldest woman in the world, turned 117 on Tuesday. She had two separate parties with two different cakes, one prompting her to joke, "I hope I don’t have to cut it!"

The Italian woman is the last person on Earth who was born in the 1800s. She wasn't the most likely candidate for this title, since her life "wasn't so nice," she told Reuters TV. "I worked in a factory until I was 65, then that was that." On top of that, her only son died as a baby.

Her doctor was even surprised. “When you were young everyone used to say you were weak and sick," he told her.

So how did she make it so far? Morano thinks her secret may have to do with staying single and independent for almost eight decades. “I didn't want to be dominated by anyone,” she told The New York Times last year.

She learned this the hard way: At age 26, after her fiancé was killed fighting in World War I, another man forced her to marry him. “Either you agree to marry me or I will kill you," she remembers him saying. She divorced him soon after her son's death and lived alone until last year, when a caregiver moved in.

She also admits, though, that her longevity could also have to do with her diet. “I eat two eggs a day and that’s it," she told AFP last month. "And cookies. But I do not eat much because I have no teeth."

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Photo Credit: Getty Images