‘The Notebook’ star Gena Rowlands reveals she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

Gena Rowlands has revealed that she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

It has been confirmed that Rowlands, 94, best known for her roles in the movies Gloria and The Notebook, is battling the progressive condition.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. Symptoms, which include serious memory loss and social skills, eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, the actress’s son, Nick Cassavetes, responsible for directing the 2004 Nicholas Sparks adaptation starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, opened up about his mother’s condition.

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“I got my mom to play older Allie, and we spent a lot of time talking about Alzheimer’s and wanting to be authentic with it, and now, for the last five years, she’s had Alzheimer’s,” Cassavetes told the outlet. “She’s in full dementia. And it’s so crazy — we lived it, she acted it, and now it’s on us.”

In the hit movie, Rowlands played the older version of McAdams’ role, showing the character battling Alzheimer’s as her longtime love Noah – played by Gosling and also James Garner in the older years – read her the story of two lovers.

The most heartbreaking part of it all is the fact that in the end, it’s revealed that it’s telling the story of Allie and Noah’s romance.

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Back in 2004, when the film was initially released, Rowlands also opened up to O Magazine about her mother’s own battle with the same disease.

“This last one — The Notebook, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks – was particularly hard because I play a character who has Alzheimer’s,” she revealed at the time. “I went through that with my mother, and if Nick hadn’t directed the film, I don’t think I would have gone for it – it’s just too hard.

“It was a tough but wonderful movie,” she added.

Elsewhere in the interview, the actress talked about how much she enjoyed watching her son in his element.

“Nick treats all his actors with respect, which reminds me of his father, John,” she said of Cassavetes.

She went on to recall an incident where one of the other cast members poked fun at the fact that he referred to Rowlands as “mom” even on set but that didn’t change his attitude at all.

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“You’d think it would be just the opposite – that Nick would try to distance himself from me to maintain the director-actor balance. But he didn’t,” she continued. “It struck me right then that he was so completely in charge as the director, but at the same time he was able to pull off a lovely show of tenderness and respect toward his mom.

“If a scene went really well, he’d give me a little smile and a wink,” she said before going on to add: “Then afterward, he called me Gena again. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, yet I do remember thinking: ‘That’s my little guy!'”

We’re sending well wishes to Rowlands and her loved ones during this difficult time.