CNN founder Ted Turner reveals he has dementia in rare interview

Ted Turner also discussed politics with his Friend Ted Koppel during the interview, with the billionaire noting that he had been friends with many despised world leaders


                            CNN founder Ted Turner reveals he has dementia in rare interview

CNN television network's founder Ted Turner has announced in a rare interview that he has been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, according to reports.

The 79-year-old billionaire businessman's first interview in years is set to air this weekend on CBS Sunday Morning, where he sits down with Ted Koppel to discuss the details about the disease. A preview of the interview was released by CBS on Friday.

"It's a mild case of what people have as Alzheimer's. It's similar to that, but not nearly as bad. Alzheimer's is fatal. Thank goodness I don't have that," Turner can be heard saying in the preview.

Media Mogul Ted Turner attends the 'Hollywood Radio and Television Society's Newsmakers Luncheon' at the Regent Beverly Wilshire April 8, 2004, in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)
Media Mogul Ted Turner attends the 'Hollywood Radio and Television Society's Newsmakers Luncheon' at the Regent Beverly Wilshire April 8, 2004, in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)

"But, I also have got, — the one that's — I can't remember the name of it," he said, pausing before adding: "Dementia. I can't remember what my disease is."

Turner also discussed politics with his Friend Koppel during the interview, with the billionaire noting he had been friends with some of the most despised and polarizing world leaders over the years, according to reports. He mentioned some of those names, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Turner further talked about his relationship with actress and political activist Jane Fonda, his former wife for 10 years, starting in 1991. Turner said that they have remained close friends over the years despite their separation and it was because of Fonda that he did not seek political office.

Media magnate Ted Turner and actress Jane Fonda on July 24, 1990. (Tony Duffy/ALLSPORT)
Media magnate Ted Turner and actress Jane Fonda on July 24, 1990. (Tony Duffy/ALLSPORT)

"Well, the closest I came to running for office was when I was married to Jane Fonda. And when I discussed it with her – she was married to one politician," Turner said, referring to Tom Hayden. "And she said, 'you know, if you run for office, you run alone'."

Turner is the second largest landowner in the United States with nearly two million acres of land under his name. Reports state that the billionaire now spends his days at his 113,000-acre ranch near Bozeman. According to his statement in 2012, he tries splitting his time between his four girlfriends, however, it is not clear whether he still follows the practice.

Ted Turner attends Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 26, 2016, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Getty Images)
Ted Turner attends Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 26, 2016, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Getty Images)

Lewy Body Dementia is caused by abnormal protein deposits which build up over time and affect normal brain function. Actor Robbie Williams also suffered from the crippling disease in 2014 and ended up taking his own life. According to the LBD Association, the disease affects nearly 1.4 million Americans and symptoms can include changes in behavior and issues with memory.

Turner, while talking to Koppel, said that the symptoms of his disease include: "Tired. Exhausted. That's the main symptoms, and forgetfulness."