Top lawyer reveals he has wife AND millionaire girlfriend after former art exec spouse developed Alzheimer’s aged just 51 and told him to find someone new

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Top lawyer Townsend Davis shared a candid glimpse into his life with his screenwriter girlfriend while his wife lives at home  
  • He revealed the complexities of his new reality, with his Emily in Paris writer girlfriend Deborah Copaken saying she feels like an ‘interloper’ in his life 

A top New York City lawyer has shared how he juggles a complicated domestic life with a millionaire screenwriter girlfriend – while also caring for his wife with Alzheimer’s disease at home. 

Townsend Davis, 60, said in a heartfelt op-ed for the New York Times that he still struggles with handling his reality, eight years on from his art executive wife Bridget’s diagnosis. 

With two sons aged 11 and 13 at the time, Bridget, then-51, pleaded with him to ‘please go find someone else’, leading him to start a whirlwind romance with Emily in Paris writer Deborah Copaken, 57. 

Sharing their story to help others living their own lives while caring for a sick loved one, Townsend said after he and his new lover enjoyed their first Thanksgiving with his wife and children, she was still left with a bemusing reaction.

‘I can’t help but feel like an interloper.’

Top lawyer Townsend Davis shared a candid glimpse into his life with his screenwriter girlfriend Deborah Copaken (pictured together) while his wife lives at home

Townsend's wife Bridget (right) was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease eight years ago, upending both of their lives dramatically

Townsend’s wife Bridget (right) was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease eight years ago, upending both of their lives dramatically 

Townsend said his wife’s decline came rapidly, as she was a respected, high-powered art executive at the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.

As a successful woman, Bridget had refused to accept any of her early symptoms were serious, and waited until she was making dangerous mistakes before seeking help.

This included running stop signs, burning pots, and even forgetting to show up for her own 50th birthday dinner. 

But after her condition worsened, she could barely consent to his new relationship, leaving him in a limbo where all he had to go off was her early insistence that he find a new partner. 

Townsend admitted that when he told his wife about Deborah and she said it was a ‘good idea’, he was sure she didn’t understand what he was talking about. 

Recalling how he slowly began dating again with his wife at home, the father-of-two said he initially put it off for years, feeling sure he would be wracked with guilt as soon as he met someone else. 

It took him six years to even broach the subject, until he was set up on a surfing day out in Montauk by a mutual friend, who was concerned that he was lonely, and Deborah lacked companionship after her divorce. 

At that first meeting, he bluntly told the writer: ‘I’m OK not ever marrying again and getting different things from different people.’

At the time, he maintained that dating was out of the question. The duo would go on to meet up for bike rides and movies, all for friendship instead of romance. 

‘After several months, I began asking myself: “What exactly am I waiting for?”’ he wrote. 

‘If it didn’t work out for whatever reason, I would be back to square one: married but effectively alone.’ 

Bridget had been a high-powered art executive before her diagnosis, but realized something was wrong when she began running stop signs, burning pots, and even forgetting to show up for her own 50th birthday dinner

Bridget had been a high-powered art executive before her diagnosis, but realized something was wrong when she began running stop signs, burning pots, and even forgetting to show up for her own 50th birthday dinner 

Townsend seen with his new girlfriend while on a fundraising walk for his wife in Central Park

Townsend seen with his new girlfriend while on a fundraising walk for his wife in Central Park 

However, after taking a leap of faith that he likened to diving into an ice-cold ocean, Townsend said he kissed Deborah one Friday night and ‘suddenly my life took on a new dimension.’ 

‘Our romance did so many things at once,’ he wrote.

‘Helped me regain hope, process loss, rediscover wonder, and remember what it was like to be in a reciprocal relationship.’

The new romance swept him off his feet, as he had previously been taking care of Bridget for years with the help of a caregiver, and had moved to a separate part of the house as her condition continually worsened. 

After years without his wife’s usual handiness – which before her diagnosis saw her organize the budgets of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum on Excel spreadsheets – his new lover’s attentiveness blew him away.

‘The first time she made me dinner, I practically fell off my chair with gratitude.’

Despite feeling some trepidation, they shared their first Thanksgiving as a couple with his family last year, hoping it would have been like any other as his family gathered for their traditional meal.

‘Turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy and a mashed-yams-with-mini-marshmallows concoction we affectionately call “glop”‘, he wrote. 

But as others piled their plates high, Deborah sat with a tear in her eye, which he put down to his wife barely recognizing her own son just moments before dinner. 

Deborah had been married for 25 years until divorcing in 2018, and their three children were celebrating with her ex-husband a few miles away. 

However, as the meal came to a close and hey drove to her lavish $2.9 million Brooklyn apartment, she revealed what had actually been disturbing her. 

‘This is her holiday in her home, and I’m taking her place, but she’s still here,’ she said.

‘I know it’s irrational, but I can’t help thinking she must feel that displacement.’ 

Despite feelings of guilt and confusion over his wife at home, Townsend said his relationship with Deborah 'helped me regain hope, process loss, rediscover wonder, and remember what it was like to be in a reciprocal relationship'

Despite feelings of guilt and confusion over his wife at home, Townsend said his relationship with Deborah ‘helped me regain hope, process loss, rediscover wonder, and remember what it was like to be in a reciprocal relationship’

The lawyer said he is happier than ever with his new relationship

The lawyer said he is happier than ever with his new relationship 

The issue is common for those navigating a loved one with Alzheimer’s, as Townsend had no intention of divorcing his wife or stopping caring for her, all while she barely knew who he was.

For others in a similar position, Townsend’s op-ed shared aspects that made Deborah the ideal partner to navigate the complex situation, as she allowed him space to be with his wife without jealousy.

Although getting permission from his wife was no longer feasible, the couple were still faced with the daunting prospect of introducing their families to their romance. 

He admitted that her two children were ‘understandable reluctant’ to accept him until he proved he was serious, while his were more open to the idea. 

‘My children seemed grateful to have a woman in their lives who understood the advantages of a mattress topper on a college bed,’ he quipped. 

He added that the key moment their relationship went ahead came as his wife’s parents, understanding his predicament, gave their blessing for him to continue seeing Deborah.

His wife’s mother was even more open, as he remembered her declaring that it was ‘about time’ he found someone else. 

Even so, he concluded his piece by noting his new lover’s confusion and apprehension, explaining there is no right way to feel when faced with such a complex issue. 

On one of their first nights together, she told him: ‘It’s so unfair that someone had to get sick in order for me to be with you.’

And after their anxiety-fueled Thanksgiving dinner, when Deborah said she felt like an ‘interloper’, he begged her ‘please don’t feel guilty.’

‘I think it’s more loaded because it’s Thanksgiving, it’s family time,’ she said, to which he responded: ‘You’re part of my family now.’ 

‘I guess I’d be worried if you didn’t feel this way,’ he concluded. 

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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