Tony Bennett’s wife, Susan Benedetto, speaks out after death
Susan Benedetto, the wife of the late Tony Bennett, has spoken publicly for the first time since the iconic singer’s passing at the age of 96. In a statement posted on Bennett’s Instagram account on Friday, Benedetto expressed gratitude to all the fans, friends, and colleagues who celebrated Tony’s life, humanity, and his musical legacy. She acknowledged the joy that Tony found in performing the songs he loved and bringing happiness to people. Despite the sadness of the day, she emphasized that Tony’s legacy will continue to bring joy forever. The statement was co-signed by Benedetto and one of Bennett’s sons from his first marriage, Danny. Tony Bennett, known for his hit song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” died in his hometown of New York City on Friday, just two weeks before his 97th birthday.
Benedetto, a former schoolteacher, married Tony Bennett in 2007, making her his third wife. Prior to Benedetto, Bennett had been married to Patricia Beech, whom he met in 1951 and married in 1952. They had two sons together before separating in 1965 and finalizing their divorce in 1971. Bennett then married aspiring actress Sandra Grant in 1971, and they had two daughters before splitting in 1983. Bennett and Benedetto, with a significant age gap between them, began a long-term relationship in the late 1980s and eventually tied the knot in a private civil ceremony in 2007.
In his memoir, “Just Getting Started,” published in 2016, Bennett acknowledged the initial challenges posed by the age difference between him and Benedetto but highlighted the transformative power of love. The couple was frequently seen together at various events, including the US Open, and they also worked together on philanthropic endeavors. They co-founded Exploring the Arts, a charitable organization dedicated to supporting and promoting arts education. In 2001, they established a performing arts high school in Queens, New York, named after Bennett’s close friend, Frank Sinatra.
In a 2021 interview with AARP Magazine, Benedetto revealed that Bennett had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The singer’s memory began to decline in 2015, leading to difficulty in remembering fellow musicians’ names. A neurologist diagnosed Bennett with the brain disorder a year later. His condition worsened while recording an album with Lady Gaga a couple of years later. Benedetto expressed her nostalgia for the “old Tony” and shared that he still embodies his true self when he sings.
Tony Bennett’s wife, Susan Benedetto, is speaking out for the first time since the legendary singer’s death at the age of 96.
A statement shared on Bennett’s Instagram Friday read, “Thank you to all the fans, friends and colleagues of Tony’s who celebrated his life and humanity and shared their love of him and his musical legacy.
“From his first performances as a singing waiter in Queens to his last performances in 2021 at Radio City Music Hall, Tony delighted in performing the songs he loved and making people happy. And as sad as today has been for all of us we can find joy in Tony’s legacy forever.”
The statement was signed by Benedetto and one of Bennett’s sons from his first marriage, Danny.
The “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” crooner died in his native New York City earlier Friday, a scant two weeks before his 97th birthday.
“Tony left us today but he was still singing the other day at his piano and his last song was, ‘Because of You,’ his first #1 hit,” read a post shared on his Instagram account.
Former schoolteacher Benedetto, 56, was Bennett’s third wife.
In 1952, he married art student Patricia Beech, whom he had met the previous year after a nightclub performance. The former couple had two sons: Danny, who became his father’s manager, and Dae. They separated in 1965, and four years later Patricia sued for divorce on grounds of adultery. Their divorce was finalized in 1971.
Bennett had become involved with aspiring actress Sandra Grant while separated from his first wife, and they quietly wed in 1971. They welcomed two daughters together, Joanna and Antonia, before splitting in 1983.
In the late ’80s, the Grammy winner began a long-term relationship with Benedetto (née Crow).
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They finally tied the knot decades later in 2007 in a private civil ceremony witnessed by Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York.
In his 2016 memoir, “Just Getting Started,” Bennett admitted that his and Benedetto’s 40-year age gap had been a sticking point at first but then melted away.
“Susan Benedetto has shown me how love gives you the confidence and courage to be your best self, and the inner peace and contentment that come with them,” he wrote.
The couple was often spotted together at events around the city and the US Open in addition to working on philanthropic projects.
Together, they founded Exploring the Arts, a charitable organization that supports and promotes arts education.
In 2001, they founded a performing arts high school in Queens, N.Y., named after Bennett’s longtime pal Frank Sinatra.
In a 2021 interview with AARP Magazine, Benedetto revealed that the “Rags to Riches” singer had been battling Alzheimer’s disease.
The singer’s memory began to falter in 2015 when he had trouble remembering fellow musicians’ names. A neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital diagnosed him with the brain disorder a year later.
But Bennett’s condition declined two years later while recording an album with Lady Gaga.
Benedetto opened up about their home life in the interview.
“There’s a lot about him that I miss,” she shared. “Because he’s not the old Tony anymore … but when he sings, he’s the old Tony.”