B. Smith’s husband, Dan Gasby, made an appearance on “Third Hour of Today” to respond to the backlash he’s received about having a girlfriend while caring for his wife as she battles Alzheimer’s disease.
In a Washington Post interview published last week, Gasby, 64, explained his romance with Alex Lerner, 53, who he began dating about two years ago while still married to his wife of 26 years. The article garnered much attention as many of Smith’s fans criticized Gasby, calling him “disrespectful” and questioning his faithfulness to his ailing wife.
But during his appearance on “Third Hour of Today,” Gasby said he and Smith discussed the future of their marriage before her illness worsened. He also wrote about it in a complimentary piece for Today.com.
“She and I talked about what she wanted. She said if she were incapacitated, she wanted me to care for her but also have my own life,” he said. “I am doing what my wife asked me to do: Living my life. I can still care for B. and also have happiness thanks to Alex.”
He also discussed race and marriage, addressing those who said he and Lerner, a white woman, were taking advantage of Smith and her money.
“The 800-pound gorilla in this situation is she's white,” Gasby said of Lerner during the interview. “I’m not supposed to be conscripted to somebody because of their race.”
Dana Gasby, Gasby’s daughter from a previous relationship, also weighed in on the criticism.
“I mean, why shouldn't my dad have companionship? Why shouldn't he have someone to talk to? For the first few years, it was just me and him. And it's hard. I'm not his wife, I'm his daughter. I can't give him the support that a girlfriend, a friend, you know, a companion can give,” she said. “I am beyond happy for them [her dad and Lerner]. I'm more pissed at the people complaining about them.”
Lerner said she wants people know she, Gasby and Smith are in a very caring and loving relationship. She said their situation sparks a much larger conversation, though uncomfortable, about marriage and caregiving.
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