The world is still processing the death of rock icon Eddie Van Halen. Following the announcement of his passing from Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie’s son and bandmate, the musician has been the subject of an outpouring of grief from all corners of popular culture. Among the mourners was Van Halen’s ex-wife, and Wolfgang’s mother, Valerie Bertinelli.

On Instagram, Bertinelli shared a touching tribute to Van Halen and a photo of them with their son. « 40 years ago my life changed forever when I met you, » the actress wrote on Oct. 6, 2020. « You gave me the one true light in my life, our son, Wolfgang. » She disclosed that she and Wolfgang were with him in his final moments, concluding, « I will see you in our next life my love. »

These words may seem strange, given Bertinelli’s status as his ex-wife and the fact that Van Halen remarried, but the duo’s relationship was anything but typical, even by Hollywood standards. Van Halen and Bertinelli were married for 25 years before separating in 2001 and finalizing their divorce in 2007. The divorce, however, was incredibly amicable, with the exes remaining close for the rest of their lives. Holly Davis, a divorce lawyer and partner at Kirker Davis LLP, broke down just what was so unusual about this split for Nicki Swift.

Inside Valerie Bertinelli & Eddie Van Halen’s marriage of the ’80s

Divorce lawyer Holly Davis of Kirker Davis LLP described Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen’s marriage as « very much of the 80s. » In her view, « Their whirlwind courtship in the ’80s and short engagement would typically indicate that their marriage wouldn’t last as long as it did, so I can infer that their relationship was probably based less on romantic/sexual/wild love and more on a mutual respect and admiration. »

Bertinelli wrote in her book that Van Halen’s cocaine use was the reason she gave him an ultimatum about their relationship. Davis agreed that drug use was likely a catalyst for divorce, but noted that there was some harm done on both sides. « Valerie cheating on him in the first four years of their marriage indicates that he was obviously not the love of her life in a romantic sense, but that they were a good partnership fit and were willing to remain together despite a lack of romantic/sexual sparks throughout the entire marriage, » Davis told Nicki Swift. The attorney also believes that a major world event was the wake-up call Bertinelli needed to call it quits. « I infer that Valerie cheated on him several times throughout the marriage and didn’t feel right continuing on after 9/11 hit, » Davis theorized.

Bertinelli and Van Halen’s split was extremely amicable

Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen had an undeniable respect for one another that was as clear after their marriage was over as it was during their union, according to divorce lawyer Holly Davis. « That they remained friends with each other and were a significant part of the other’s wedding and remaining life indicates that they were both totally okay with the breakup of their marriage but still wanted to keep their friendship and co-parenting relationship alive, » Davis told Nicki Swift, adding that their son was a huge reason to work together, even after splitting. « This is an unusual character trait for celebrities to have, and especially rock stars who live an exciting, drug-fueled, and wild rock star life. »

That Van Halen’s second wife and now-widow promoted the ongoing relationship with Bertinelli was also a sign of not just her character, but of the positive personalities of everyone involved. « This is a testament to Eddie’s widow’s maturity and intelligence to promote and support Eddie’s relationship with Valerie, especially for Wolfie’s sake, » Davis explained.

Overall, Davis concluded that Van Halen and Bertinelli’s divorce is one of the most encouraging stories to come out of Hollywood, demonstrating that positives can come out of negatives. « It shows that there is life after a breakup and a way to still have your ex and co-parent in your life in a different and more meaningful way than an unworkable marriage, » Davis said.

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