B. Smith’s husband is not backing down against people who have criticized his decision to date another woman while caring for his sick wife.
Dan Gasby, 64—who has been the restaurateur and lifestyle guru’s primary caretaker since she was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease six years ago—opened up about his unconventional relationship with girlfriend Alex Lerner, 53, in a profile published in the Washington Post on Monday.
“If This Is Us and Modern Family came together, it would be us,” he told the Post of his family’s dynamic, which involves the trio living together in the couple’s East Hampton home when Lerner is visiting from Manhattan.
Gasby has been the subject of criticism since he first went public with Lerner in December, but since the new profile came out, the critics have been especially vocal. Commenters on Facebook and Twitter have called their relationship “shameful” and suggest his choices qualify as cheating on Smith, 69.
Gasby seemingly addressed specific bloggers and writers—some of which he feels are “spewing racist innuendo” because he is dating a white woman—who spoke out against him with a post on Facebook shortly after the Post article went live.
“To the idiots and ignorant people calling for my arrest and saying B is or has ever been abused I only wish someone in your immediate family has Alzheimer’s so you can see feel and experience the pain of millions of people across this country so you can know first hand what it’s like to care 24/7/365 for someone who can no longer care for themselves!” he wrote.
He continued by asking the critics to consider what they would do if they were in a similar situation.
“5-10 years from now when many of you who will have an almost predestined meeting with Alzheimer’s because of genetics, obesity, and a myriad of inflammatory diseases,” he wrote, “you’ll be wishing for someone to share moments with and ease the pain of loneliness and despair.”
“I love my wife but I can’t let her take away my life!” he continued.
Some followers—many whom also care or have cared for a loved one with Alzheimer’s—have come to Gasby’s defense.
“There are no right or wrongs to how a couple wishes to live in their love,” one commenter wrote on Facebook. “Anyone who steps outside of those restricting boundaries are seen as odd. The bottom line is everyone is happy. No one is hiding and everyone is getting along. I respect anyone who lives boldly.”
Lerner and Gasby first met in the summer of 2017 at a Hamptons bar, and struck up a conversation. Romance didn’t come at first. “We were friends,” Lerner, a divorced mother of three, told the Post, adding that she had socialized with Smith previously at charity events. “I didn’t want to go out with a married man.”
But at a breakfast with Gasby and Smith one morning, Lerner realized, “This is not a man cheating on his wife.”
“What I admire about him,” she said, “is that he takes care of her.”