April 1, 2023

Contributor, PEOPLE
Actress and author Valerie Bertinelli was married to businessman Tom Vitale for more than a decade before they went their separate ways.
The pair met shortly after Bertinelli divorced her first husband, late rock star Eddie Van Halen, with whom she shares her son Wolfgang Van Halen.
Bertinelli and Vitale dated for six years before they got engaged in 2010. “I could have spent the rest of my life with Tom and not be married, but I wanted to call him ‘my husband,’ ” the Hot in Cleveland star told PEOPLE. “I really wanted to share how I feel about Tom with the people I love.”
The couple eventually tied the knot in their Malibu, California home on New Year's Day in 2011.
During their 10-year marriage, Bertinelli and Vitale co-founded the internet startup Veebow and shared plenty of sweet moments. Vitale also appeared on his wife’s TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland and her Food Network show Valerie’s Home Cooking.
Fans were shocked, however, when Bertinelli filed for legal separation from Vitale in November 2021, citing “irreconcilable differences.” She then amended her petition to ask for a divorce in May 2022.
The former couple are currently in the midst of divorce proceedings, with Vitale requesting spousal support and challenging the validity of their prenuptial agreement in June. Bertinelli then responded the following month by requesting a separate trial to validate their prenup.
From their surprise wedding to difficult divorce proceedings, here's everything to know about Valerie Bertinelli and Tom Vitale's relationship.
Bertinelli was introduced to Vitale by her brother, Patrick Bertinelli, while she was visiting her parents in Scottsdale, Arizona. The One Day at a Time star had just separated from Van Halen at the time and Vitale had also just gone through a divorce.
“Val and I were coming from a tough time and wanting to move on but didn’t want to trust anyone,” Vitale told AARP The Magazine in 2010. “We just understood each other completely … My family is her family. It wasn’t love at first sight; it was family at first sight.”
After six years of dating, Vitale surprised Bertinelli with a proposal in Florence, Italy. “We’d talked about getting married, but I was still shocked,” she said at the time. “It was sweet when he asked me, because he was so scared. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ”
Even before they were officially married, Bertinelli and Vitale were in a “honeymoon phase,” according to a friend of the couple. “She’s happiest when they’re together,” the actress’ trainer, Christopher Lane, told PEOPLE. “She’s thrilled to be with the man she loves.”
Though Bertinelli and Vitale were looking forward to their big day, they focused on planning their future rather than the wedding itself. “We’ve both had good weddings [before],” Vitale told PEOPLE at the premiere of Hot in Cleveland, which Bertinelli starred in alongside Betty White. “Now we want a good marriage.”
The pair agreed that their wedding should be a small affair with little fanfare, as they had both been married before. “For me, it feels silly. I’m 50. It’s not about the wedding. I just want to have a marriage,” Bertinelli told PEOPLE. “We’re going to get married in Italy, just the two of us and a witness.”
Bertinelli and Vitale were ready to start their lives together — the couple took a “pre-honeymoon” in Italy before officially tying the knot. “One of these days we’re going to get married, but we just had an amazing three weeks in Italy, and so now we’re planning our second honeymoon for us to actually get married and go again,” the bride-to-be told PEOPLE. “We’re doing all the honeymoons first.”
After initially planning a small wedding, the couple had a change of heart. They married at their home in Malibu on New Year’s Day in front of 100 guests, surprising them with a wedding ceremony when they arrived. “We’re so happy!” Bertinelli told PEOPLE.
Among the attendees were Bertinelli’s Hot in Cleveland costars Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick, as well as former One Day at a Time costars Mackenzie Phillips and Pat Harrington. Also in attendance were Bertinelli’s ex-husband Van Halen and their son, Wolfgang.
Shortly after the couple tied the knot, Bertinelli described herself as “happier than ever” during an exclusive interview with PEOPLE. “I could have spent the rest of my life with Tom and not be married, but I wanted to call him ‘my husband,’ ” she said. “I really wanted to share how I feel about Tom with the people I love.”
During an appearance on The View shortly after the wedding, Bertinelli revealed her favorite perk of marriage: getting to call Vitale her husband. “I think I got tired of calling him ‘my spousal equivalent,’ ” the actress said. “It’s nice to call him my husband. It feels appropriate.”
In an interview with Good Housekeeping, Bertinelli discussed her and Vitale’s deep connection and love for each other. “He has unlocked some things in me that I usually like to keep buried,” she said. “He unlocks a lot of the stuff I don’t have to hold on to anymore. I love him. I adore him.”
After losing weight with Jenny Craig and becoming a spokesperson for the brand, Bertinelli published her first cookbook, One Dish at a Time. She spoke to Prevention about how cooking and romance were tied together for her and Vitale. “A lot of love goes into making soup,” she said. “The first time I made gazpacho for him, I thought I was going to be made love to the entire night!”
The couple opened the doors to their Los Angeles home in 2018 and gave Food Network Magazine an exclusive tour of the space, which they shared with their dog and five cats. Bertinelli revealed that her favorite place in the house was her library, where she would relax with her pets and find inspiration for her cookbooks and cooking show Valerie’s Home Cooking.
"It's my favorite room in the house after the kitchen — it lets me take care of myself for just a couple minutes a day," she explained.
Vitale, on the other hand, loved the grape vines the couple planted in the backyard, which allowed him to bottle his own wine.
Though their marriage didn’t last, Bertinelli and Van Halen remained close until the Van Halen frontman passed away in October 2020 from throat cancer. The ex-couple had even attended each other’s second weddings.
In her January 2022 memoir Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I am Today, Bertinelli called Van Halen her "soulmate" and revealed that she and her son were by his side during his last moments.
"'I love you' are the last words Ed says to Wolfie and me," she wrote "and they are the last words we say to him before he stops breathing." She continued, "I loved Ed more than I know how to explain."
After 10 years of marriage, Bertinelli filed for a legal separation from Vitale, citing “irreconcilable differences.” The court documents also stated that the couple would adhere to their premarital agreement.
In her book Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I Am Today, Bertinelli opened up about her struggles with self-acceptance and self-love. “I cover a lot,” the actress told PEOPLE ahead of its release. “But ultimately it’s about growing older, with the emphasis on growth, learning lessons and reminding myself — and hopefully those who read the book — that life is a gift and too short to waste.”
Six months after her initial petition for separation, Bertinelli amended her filing to request a dissolution of marriage. Though she wrote about her connection with Van Halen in her memoir, Bertinelli said that those feelings didn’t contribute to the breakup of her marriage. “We grew apart,” she told PEOPLE. “The decision has nothing to do with my love for Ed. I wish Tom the best and I know he feels the same way about me.”
In a TikTok video, Bertinelli shared that she had been going through some “yucky stuff,” and then read a passage from her memoir.
A fan commented that Bertinelli seemed “so distressed and sad,” expressing their concern for the actress. “I’m just having a bad day,” Bertinelli responded in another video. “But you know what? Sometimes we have bad days and then we get over them and then there’s a good day. So I’m looking forward to the good day. F — this bad day.”
She later posted a video underscored by Taylor Swift‘s song “tolerate it,” writing “divorce sucks” in the caption.
After Bertinelli filed to dissolve their marriage, Vitale responded with his own court filing, challenging the existing premarital agreement they signed before their 2011 wedding. He also sought to block Bertinelli from requesting spousal support.
Vitale later requested to be awarded $50,000 monthly in spousal support and around $200,000 in legal fees.
After splitting with Vitale, Bertinelli said that she’s content being alone during an appearance on the Today show. “I am gonna be more than happy to be happily divorced and spend the rest of my life alone,” she told co-host Hoda Kotb. “I’ll be happy that way. Well, with my six cats and my dog and my son, and hopefully one day grandchildren.”
She added that she doesn't see herself looking for love again. "Because of the challenges that I'm going through right now, because divorce sucks," she said. "I can't imagine ever trusting anyone again to let into my life. So I have some trust issues that I'm sure I'm going to have to get past."
After Vitale challenged the validity of the prenuptial agreement, Bertinelli then requested “an early and separate trial” to validate the original prenup they agreed to.
If a judge grants the separate trial, Bertinelli and Vitale's divorce proceedings will pause until the separate trial is concluded. Bertinelli has argued that their prenup, which contains a "waiver of temporary and permanent spousal support," is still valid; Vitale has argued that their prenup should be dismissed, allowing him to proceed with his request for spousal support.
Bertinelli announced she’s parting ways with some of the accessories she wore during the former couple’s 2011 wedding.
“Dropped a few things off with @therealreal,” she captioned a series of photos of the items, which included a pair of Jimmy Choo heels and what appeared to be two wedding bands in front of a Tiffany & Co. box.
"A couple of Tiffany rings that have some bad memories attached and a pair of shoes I wore to a wedding in January 2011 😉," wrote, adding: "They should be up in a couple of weeks! ✨💖."
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