B. Smith Has Alzheimer's Disease at Age 64: Model and Restaurateur Reveals Battle With Illness

Celebrity News Jun. 6, 2014 AT 11:00AM
B. Smith B. Smith revealed that she is battling Alzheimer's disease. Credit: Wendell Teodoro/WireImage

B. Smith is opening up. The model and restaurateur, 64, sat down with CBS News for a revealing new interview this week, speaking to the network's medical correspondent, Dr. Jon LaPook.

In the talk, Smith confessed that she has been battling Alzheimer's disease for years. "It meant something bad—really bad to me," she told LaPook about her diagnosis. 

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The businesswoman, who was one of the first African-American models to cover Mademoiselle magazine, began to tear up as she said, "You do try to hide it from everybody." She even tried to hide it from her husband, Dan Gasby, at first, telling her doctor about her symptoms four years ago, before she turned to her spouse for support.

According to CBS News, she saw her first signs of health trouble when she started unknowingly repeating herself and forgetting to answer questions. 

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Smith was unable to provide basic information to LaPook in the interview. She got emotional when she couldn't tell the doctor the date, month or year it was when the chat took place. "Things like that make me very sad," she said about her lack of recall.

The groundbreaker is reportedly seeing a specialist in New York City in an attempt to treat her disease, but continuing her work at her namesake restaurant in the Big Apple in the meantime. In addition to her flagship midtown eatery, Smith also boasts housewares and books to her name, and once hosted a syndicated television show. 

On Thursday evening, June 5, a new message was posted to her Twitter account reading, "The B. Smith recipe for getting through tough times—equal measures of faith, hope, courage and love. Season with style and elegance."

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Smith's full interview with CBS News airs on the Sunday Morning program on June 15. 

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