Tony Bennett’s Wife Susan Benedetto Says Star ‘Doesn’t Know’ He Has Alzheimer’s
Tony Bennett, 95, gave his final performances in August with two shows alongside friend and frequent collaborator Lady Gaga
Tony Bennett‘s wife, Susan Benedetto, is opening up more about the singer’s health condition.
“He recognizes me, thank goodness, his children, you know we are blessed in a lot of ways,” Benedetto told the journalist. “He’s very sweet.”
“He doesn’t know he has it,” she added, referring to his Alzheimer’s.
Previously, Benedetto said that Bennett was unable to understand what the disease is.
During the 60 Minutes broadcast, Bennett performed a song with his pianist — recalling each word and note without sheet music or lyrics in front of him.
“Well that was really one of the great honors I’ve ever had,” Cooper, 54, said, thanking Bennett for the song.
“Tony likes to say he’s in the business of making people feel good, and he still is,” Benedetto commented, to which Bennett confirmed, “That’s it.”
Dr. Gaytari Devi, who diagnosed Bennett with the disease in 2017, said in the 60 Minutes interview that the star “knows he’s Tony Bennett and he knows how to behave like Tony Bennett.”
“That’s an area of the brain that’s just so an innately hardwired part of his brain,” she told Cooper. “And it’s also an area of his brain that gives them real meaning and purpose in his life, and it’s imbued with emotion.”
She continued, “I mean that’s the other thing about music that sets it apart, is that it is a part of the brain that’s very emotional. Music is housed in different parts of the brain, including parts of the brain that deal with emotion, and therefore, it’s easy to be moved by it when you hear it.”
When asked by Cooper if Bennett’s final performance is “a sad story,” Gaga gave her own reflection on the “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” crooner.
“It’s not a sad story,” she said. “It’s emotional. It’s hard to watch somebody change. I think what’s been beautiful about this, and what’s been challenging, is to see how it affects him in some ways, but to see how it doesn’t affect his talent.”
“I think he really pushed through something to give the world the gift of knowing that things can change and you can still be magnificent,” she concluded.