Bennett — who was previously married to Patricia Beech between 1952 and 1971 and Sandra Grant between 1971 and 1979 — and Benedetto technically first crossed paths in 1966. The singer noted in his 2016 memoir, Just Getting Started, that Benedetto’s parents, Marion and Dayl Crow, were die-hard fans and attended one of his concerts in New York City when Marion was pregnant with Susan.
“As fate would have it, Marion was pregnant at the time with … Susan!” Bennett, who was 40 at the time of the show, wrote in the book.
After Benedetto — who is 40 years Bennett’s junior — grew up listening to his music, they eventually met for real in 1985 when she attended one of his concerts. Benedetto, then 19, was the president of his fan club and had sweet-talked her way backstage to meet Bennett.
“It tickled me that someone of her age was so devoted to my music,” he penned in his memoir. “I not only agreed to say hello to her backstage but asked her to be my date for the evening, and that’s how it all really began, foreshadowed by a backstage photo taken in 1966!”
The couple went on to date for two decades before eventually tying the knot in 2007. Following their union, Benedetto became the stepmother to his four children from his previous marriages.
Keep reading for a look back at Bennett’s relationship with Benedetto:
Benedetto was over-the-moon to meet her musical idol backstage at one of his concerts. They started dating shortly after their encounter.
After 10 years of dating, Bennett and schoolteacher Benedetto cofounded their joint nonprofit to advocate for arts education.
The pair tied the knot on June 21.
Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and Benedetto became his primary caregiver.
The couple sat down with Anderson Cooper for a 60 Minutes interview in October, where Benedetto further detailed Bennett’s struggles with Alzheimer’s.
Bennett’s rep confirmed on July 21 that the musician had died at the age of 96.