When a couple gets married, they typically vow to stand by one another “in sickness and in health,” but B. Smith’s husband has fans questioning if he knows what that means.
As Complex reports, Barbara Smith, 69, known mostly for her career as a restaurateur, model, and lifestyle maven, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this form of dementia only worsens over time and on average, a person suffering from the disease lives four to eight years after diagnosis.
While there are no cures, current Alzheimer’s treatments can temporarily slow down the progression of symptoms.
Nearly six years after Smith’s diagnosis, Dan Gasby, her husband of 26 years, has a new girlfriend, who he claims is a means of coping with the added stress of caring for his wife.
In 2016, Gasby told People what it was like caring for his wife:
It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever dealt with. 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.”
Since the couple met in 2017, Alex Lerner, 53, has begun helping Gasby take care of his wife and even has a room in the couple’s home.
Lerner, a divorced mother of three, said the two started off as friends and that she “didn’t want to go out with a married man.”
However, after having breakfast with the couple one day, Lerner said she realized:
This is not a man cheating on his wife.”
She emphasized her compassion for Smith and how helping her makes her feel good.
If I can be compassionate to her … if I can do anything for her, it makes me feel good. If it is giving her something to drink, or making her something to eat — she loves to eat — I feel good.”
However, Smith and Gasby’s fans weren’t very comfortable with the idea of another woman being in their home.
Dan Gasby , you are so disrespectful to your wife and her life. First, to move your girlfriend (mistress) into your wife's home is disgusting. Your girlfriend should be ashamed of herself. As they say , "what goes around comes around". KARMA!!
— Valarie Roberts (@vrobert0584) January 29, 2019
One user tweeted:
Dan Gasby , you are so disrespectful to your wife and her life. First, to move your girlfriend (mistress) into your wife’s home is disgusting. Your girlfriend should be ashamed of herself. As they say , “what goes around comes around”. KARMA!!
My mother + aunt had Alzheimer’s. It’s rough.
That said, it’s a VIOLATION of his MARITAL VOWS to have his “girlfriend” in the house he shares with his wife— that SHE PAID FOR, with a lifetime of hard work as a model, restaurateur + cookbook author!
Dan Gasby is fucking trash. pic.twitter.com/du52GkNLKt
— #ImpeachBarr! (@TheMominatrixx) January 29, 2019
While another tweeted:
My mother + aunt had Alzheimer’s. It’s rough.That said, it’s a VIOLATION of his MARITAL VOWS to have his “girlfriend” in the house he shares with his wife— that SHE PAID FOR, with a lifetime of hard work as a model, restaurateur + cookbook author! Dan Gasby is f*****g trash.
In part, he wrote:
…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!
And last of all but to me least of all to those religious Neanderthal who judge as if Jesus was a ball and God is a bat swinging wildly and judging harshly I say to you!
(B. Smith’s) worst day is 10x better than you’ve experienced.
I love my wife but I can’t let her take away my life!
According to Complex, he also responded to critics who accused him of dangling a white woman around his sick wife.
I have been married to a black woman for 26 years. I have a PhD in black love.”
However, in response to his Facebook post, supporters did come to his defense.
Dan could have divorced, or worse yet abandoned, B. Smith. He could divorce her, pay for her to be cared for in a home … but he is not. It is selfish and presumptive for us to judge this man, as if we know his path and have walked it ourselves. KEEP LOVING AND CARING FOR HER AS BEST YOU KNOW HOW DAN… All we need is love, and that looks different to different people at different stages. <3 <3 <3 This seems like a caring and loving home to me and a place I would much rather be than in a nursing home.
Another supporter wrote:
This is a beautiful story. B. Smith’s husband is doing the best thing he can do for his wife: taking care of himself and finding happiness that clearly is rippling through everyone’s life. Alzheimer’s runs strong thru my family. Acknowledgment and understanding that it is a slow and painfully degenerative, disease with no cure, and allowing caregivers to live with grace, despite social norms, is an enormous source of healing and empowerment. I fully applaud this.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Helpline at (800) 272-3900