Gossip columnist Liz Smith (also known as “The Grand Dame of Dish”) now describes herself as “a very, very old person.”
The 92-year-old told Hollywood Reporter: “When I was 80, I was doing fine. I was still part of life. But something happens when you have to say you’re 90.”
The Texas-born writer moved married “a strong, silent type” at 21. She moved to New York by the time she was 25 and started a column that showed up in over 75 newspapers.
After divorcing him, she married Freddie Lister, a man who came out gay.
“I never once fooled myself that I was in love with him,” Smith told The Advocate in 2009, adding maybe she knew he was gay at the time. “I was just having a good time. It was a very strange interlude.”
Twenty-three years ago, Smith said she was outed “viciously” for two years by Outweek.
“I didn’t care about being outed,” Smith said. “But I wasn’t going to paint myself purple and walk down Fifth Avenue waving a sign. I was old enough that people could describe me any way they wanted. I feel the same way now.”
Smith said she has always been reluctant to use labels.
“I wish I had been a little more specific about myself, about Iris,” Smith told The Advocate about her former partner Iris Love. “But again, it was my reluctance to be nailed into a box.”
In her book, Smith left out some relationships…because she’s had a lot.
“I had a long-term relationship after Iris,” she said. “With a man. And I just couldn’t bring myself to put that in the e-book because it sounded like I was trying to say, ‘I’m not gay. Let me out of this gay label.’ So I thought, ‘I won’t mention it. I won’t say anything.’”
Now the columnist, who has interviewed celebrities from Rosie O’Donnell and Oprah to Hillary Clinton, still seems to shy away from labels. She admits she has been in love many times, though always with the wrong women or men.
“The truth is, I had no luck with either sex except Mr. Beeman [her first husband], who I truly loved as a person.”
Looking back on her life, Smith said she has one regret.
“I wish I had been smarter about money,” she said. “I didn’t know I was going to live so long. My advice to every young person is, ‘Be smart about preparing to live a long time.’ It’s not fun to be old and poor.”
Read the full interview here.