The husband of B. Smith is opening up about his relationship with another woman as he cares for the famed restaurateur and lifestyle guru amid her ongoing battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Dan Gasby, 64, first went public with his romance with Alex Lerner, 53, back in December, in a post on the Facebook page he shares with B. Smith, who he has been married to for 26 years.
On Monday, The Washington Post published a profile of the trio, with Gasby and Lerner explaining in their own words how their relationship came to be.
“If This is Us and Modern Family came together, it would be us,” Gasby told The Post.
The two 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, 69, 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 is that he takes care of her,” she explained to The Post.
Lerner, in turn, has also begun taking care of Smith. She has a room in Gasby and Smith’s East Hampton home, where she stays when she visits from her Manhattan apartment.
“If I can be compassionate to her … if I can do anything for her, it makes me feel good,” she told The Post, her voice “breaking,” according to the outlet. “If it is giving her something to drink, or making her something to eat — she loves to eat — I feel good.”
Smith was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s six years ago, after Gasby noticed her become increasingly — and uncharacteristically — moody and forgetful.
The news came as she was continuing to build her empire. Over the years, she opened three eponymous restaurants, wrote three cookbooks, and hosted the nationally syndicated show, B. Smith With Style. She also made history as the first African American woman to grace the cover of Mademoiselle magazine, as well as the first African American woman to launch her own brand of home goods (at Bed, Bath and Beyond.)
Her restaurants have all closed now, with Smith and Gasby instead turning their attention to Alzheimer’s advocacy work. They even chronicled their experience with the disease in the 2016 memoir, Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer’s.
At the time, Gasby told PEOPLE that taking care of Smith was a round-the-clock job. “It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever dealt with,” he said. “Anybody who is an Alzheimer’s care giver knows exactly what other caregivers are going through. It’s 24/7. The complexity and the intensity of it is very tough.”
Caring for Smith “is overwhelming most of the time,” Gasby admitted to PEOPLE then. “I’m taking it one day at a time,” he said. “It’s extremely difficult. At times I feel like I am between the Titanic and the iceberg and the water is cold and it makes a difference which one I get on.”
While restaurateur and lifestyle guru B. Smith battles with Alzheimer’s disease, her husband is dating, and fans are not happy about it.
Smith’s husband, Dan Gasby, opened up about his relationship with Alex Lerner as he serves as a caregiver for his wife. He spoke about the relationships in a profile published in The Washington Post on Monday.
Gasby has been married to Smith since 1992. Smith revealed her diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, saying that in the years before she was diagnosed she noticed she was repeating herself and forgetting things.
Gasby, 64, first revealed his romance with Lerner, 53, on the Facebook page he shares with Smith back in December, according to the Washington Post.
Barbara Smith shows off some of the dishes at her Washington restaurant, B. Smith’s, Wednesday, July 10, 2002. Barbara Smith, known as B. Smith, is a black model and entertainer, whose appeal has crossed ethnic lines. Smith herself sings the opening theme song to her nationally syndicated TV show. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) ORG XMIT: NY835 (Photo: Susan Walsh, Associated Press)
“If ‘This is Us,’ and ‘Modern Family’ came together, it would be us,” Gasby said of their current situation.
Gasby and Lerner met in summer 2017, and struck up a conversation. “We were friends,” Lerner, said to The Post, adding that Lerner had met Smith previously at charity events. “I didn’t want to go out with a married man.”
Lerner has a room in the house Gasby and Smith share, and shared that she has begun to take care of Smith. “This is not a man cheating on his wife,” Lerner said in the profile. “What I admire about him is that he takes care of her.”
Gasby said in the profile that his critics are racist and angry at him because Lerner is a white woman.
“I have been married to a black woman for 26 years,” he said. “I have a PhD in black love.”
Smith, 69, came to fame as a model, becoming one of the first black women to grace the cover of Mademoiselle. She later entered the food space, becoming a restaurateur and opening multiple eponymous restaurants in New York and Washington, D.C., while also launching her own home collection and magazine, along with having a regular “Today” show gig.
Fans of Smith are not having it, taking to social media to air their feelings about the situation.
“B. Smith’s husband is trash. Point blank,” one Twitter user wrote. “Married is still married.”
Following the publication of the profile, Gasby took to the couple’s shared Facebook page and addressed his critics.
“I love my wife but I can’t let her take away my life!” he wrote in the post on Monday. “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, you’ll be wishing for someone to share moments with and ease the pain of loneliness and despair.”
Fans took to the comments of Gasby’s Facebook post.
“You have the nerve to flaunt this woman, your girlfriend, the one you refer to as your life partner,” one commenter wrote. “You are both disrespectful.”
Another wrote: “Please someone get B. Smith adequate legal guardianship and remove him and the mistress from that house and her banks accounts.”
One fan replied: “If you were truly at peace with your decision, would other’s opinions bother you so much?”FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInB. Smith through the years FullscreenRestaurateur and former model B. Smith was reported missing on Wednesday. Earlier this year, Smith, 64, announced she has Alzheimer’s disease. Here, Smith poses as the 2012 BET Honors. Frank Micelotta, AP