The Washington Post profiled the trio's arrangement earlier this week after Smith's husband, 64-year-old Dan Gasby, went public with his relationship with Alex Lerner, 53, in December.
Gasby has been married to Smith, who's been called the "black Martha Stewart," for 26 years. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's six years ago and has since become a shell of her former self, largely unable to remember her husband or their life together. She was once the head of a lifestyle empire, but her restaurants are now closed, and these days, Smith, 69, can barely string together a coherent sentence.
While more and more of his wife faded away, Gasby documented the couple's daily struggles on their Facebook page.
Eventually, late last year, he revealed his romance with Lerner by sharing a photo of the two of them out at dinner on social media.
Commenters went nuts. “You don’t bring your mistress in the house where your WIFE lives. She’s not dead,” said one person, the Post reported. "If he feels a need to have another woman he should not bring her into their household!!" said another. Some even called for his arrest, alleging abuse.
Though Gasby has told Smith about Lerner, he said that she seems to not understand what that means. But they seem to get along great.
Video shows Smith and Lerner sitting together at breakfast. In another instance, Lerner watches as Smith gets a manicure and a pedicure.
For her part, Lerner was reluctant to date Gasby at first. “I didn’t want to go out with a married man,” she told the Post. He, in turn, asked her to meet Smith.
“This is not a man cheating on his wife,” Lerner said she remembered thinking after they ate breakfast together.
In the wake of the Post piece, Gasby stands firm in his decisions.
“[T]o 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 on Facebook Monday.
“I love my wife but I can’t let her take away my life!”