Tony Bennett’s Wife Susan Says the Music Icon ‘Doesn’t Know’ He’s Battling Alzheimer’s

by Samantha Whidden

On Sunday (October 3rd), 60 Minutes’ Anderson Cooper sat down with Tony Bennett and the legendary singer’s wife Susan Benedetto to discuss his current battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. 

During the interview, Susan revealed that Tony Bennett actually doesn’t know he is battling the infamous memory and mental function illness. “He recognizes me, thank goodness. His children you know, we are blessed in a lotta ways. He’s very sweet. He doesn’t know he has it.”

Susan also said that while Tony Bennett has continued to sing even after his diagnosis, it’s been really on him. “It was Gayatri Devi, our doctor, who said, ‘If he wants to sing, let him sing because that’s the best for him.’ You know, all the times and all the treatment they do to stimulate your brain. For him, there’s nothing more stimulating than performing.”

Also speaking about his performance at the Radio City concert, Susan said once Tony Bennett saw the audience, he raised his hands. “I knew we were alright because he became him. He just turned on. You know, it was like a light switch.”

Lady Gaga Opens Up About Tony Bennett’s Fight against Alzheimer’s 

Also during Sunday night’s episode of 60 Minutes, Lady Gaga shared some details about Tony Bennett’s fight against Alzheimer’s disease. The duo notably collaborated for her 2014 album “Cheek to Cheek” and worked together this past summer on the “Love for Sale” album and Bennett’s last concert at the Radio City Music Hall. 

Lady Gaga spoke about Tony Bennett saying her name for the first time in a long time. “[He said] ‘Woah, Lady Gaga!… I like that!’ That’s the first time that Tony said my name in a long time.”

Lady Gaga then said she had to keep it together after Tony Bennett said her name. “Because we had a sold out and I have a job to do. But I’ll tell you, when I walked out on that stage, and he said, ‘It’s Lady Gaga,’ my friend saw me. And it was very special.”

The pop icon also shared that the last thing she said to Tony Bennett on stage was, “Mr. Bennett, it would be my honor if I could escort you off the stage.” His reply was simply ok. “And I did,” Lady Gaga shared. “And, just simply being the woman that got to walk him off stage. That’s enough for me.”

When asked if Tony Bennett’s last performance story was considered sad, Lady Gaga went on to add that it wasn’t sad, 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.”

Tony Bennett’s doctors have told him to officially retire from touring due to his illness.