In the 80s romance of Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli

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It wasn’t the most auspicious of wedding day omens: the drunken groom regurgitated into the toilet while his bride held back her shoulder-length hair.Of course, in April 1981, guitar god Eddie Van Halen, then 26, and prime-time TV darling, Valerie Bertinelli, were anything but your regular couple. Apparently, however, they both knew how to deal with Eddie’s penchant for excess. Miraculously, he managed to keep his white tuxedo crisp. Valerie, 20 and already famous for playing the role of innocent Barbara Cooper in “One Day at a Time”, only needed to straighten her broken beloved’s tie before making a grand entrance to the mansion. Grayhall in Beverly Hills.

The two had met just eight months before, backstage at a concert by his band Van Halen – in the midst of what was then the biggest continental rock ‘n’ roll tour in history – and their Courtship was a roller coaster ride. For one thing, the guitarist got caught in a fatherhood costume while they were dating. He insisted that if he had any relationship with the other woman, it was before he met Valerie – and that the indiscretions that descended in his car on the Pacific Coast Highway were limited.

“You know I like a pretty face in my crotch,” he told Van Halen’s road manager Noel Monk, author of “Runnin ‘with the Devil: A Backstage Pass to the Wild Times, Loud Rock. , and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Fabrication by Van Halen. ”

Although, Monk claimed, Eddie asked him if it was possible to get a pregnant woman orally.

The case was ultimately thrown out of court, but it was far from the last time the early 1980s American “It” couple would have been difficult.

On the day of her 1981 wedding to Eddie Van Halen, Valerie Bertinelli held the rocker's hair while he vomited.
On the day of her 1981 wedding to Eddie Van Halen, Valerie Bertinelli held the rocker’s hair while he vomited.Getty Images

But, according to insiders, when things were going well, they were really good.

“They were a wonderful couple. They finished their sentences and knew what the other wanted, ”Bob Daitz, who managed Van Halen after Monk, told the Post. Not that Eddie is particularly hard to please. Daitz recalled that Valerie dutifully made Eddie’s favorite meal: “Hebrew national hot dogs, cooked for 1 minute, 47 seconds in the microwave.

Joel Selvin – who co-wrote the memoir “Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock” with later Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar – recalls meeting Valerie and Eddie backstage at the 1983 American Festival, which Van Halen performed. co-titled. As The Clash took the stage, Selvin found himself sitting with the couple on an equipment chest.

“Eddie had a bottle of Jack Daniels; I had a bunch of joints, ”Selvin told the Post. “Valerie drank as much as him and Eddie was hilarious. He was bombed. A guy came over and wanted an autograph on the back of his shirt. Eddie took a Sharpie and wrote his name as big as he could. The lovebirds “were like a teenage couple, drunk at a rock concert.”

But his bad boy ways would inevitably corrupt the TV star and end up breaking his heart.

Eddie was born in the Netherlands to a Dutch jazz musician father and an Indonesian mother. When he moved to California at age 7, he didn’t speak English, but quickly made up for lost time.

He learned guitar early and was only 17 when he formed Van Halen with his drummer brother Alex, bassist Mark Stone (later replaced by Michael Anthony) and vocalist David Lee Roth. “He’s been a rock star his whole life and he’s never been anything but that,” Martin Popoff, author of “Unchained: A Van Halen User Manual,” told The Post. “Since his teenage years in Pasadena, he has been hailed as a star.”

In control of his sound, Eddie couldn’t handle the substances that ruined his life. It’s a trait passed down to him from his father, Jan. “I’ve heard that Eddie says his father’s drinking was a family struggle,” Greg Renoff, author of “Van Halen Rising,” told The Post. “A famous story Eddie told about his acclimatization to alcohol was that [as a kid] he had his hand bitten by a German Shepherd and was bleeding. His father gave him a cigarette and a dose of vodka and told him that everything would be fine.

Eddie once told Billboard, “I got drunk before I went to high school. ”

Years later, when Eddie created and performed the memorable guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” he turned down financial compensation that would have led to huge royalties. “I think Eddie wanted a case of beer as compensation,” a source told the Post recording session. “Quincy [Jones, who produced the track] brought Eddie into the studio and he reworked the whole song.

From 2013, the couple's son Wolfgang (left) joined his father in Van Halen, playing bass.
From 2013, the couple’s son Wolfgang (left) joined his father in Van Halen, playing bass.Indianapolis Star-USA TODAY NETW

Playing 132 live concerts a year in 1980, Eddie relied on every rock star trap for entertainment. He allegedly hid lines of cocaine on top of his amplifier at concerts and had a drug dealer who would come to his home all over the world with the best Peruvian powder.

Groupies were a part of life as well, though that didn’t always involve actual sex. According to “Runnin ‘with the Devil,” Eddie and his bandmates once entertained a pair of naked girls known as Ketchup Queens, sprinkling them with condiment.

Drugs and music quickly took over Eddie’s marriage. When Valerie joined him on the road, Eddie allegedly made him sleep in an adjoining room so he could stay awake all night with his booze, cocaine, and guitar.

At first, the actress tried to keep up – and possibly compete with groupies – and started using cocaine herself.

“Ed likes me skinny,” she explained to Monk’s fiancée.

But she did too much and things got out of hand to the point that even Eddie noticed. He begged her to stop sniffling and start eating. In her 2008 book, “Losing It,” Valerie writes about her then-husband who took her for a chili cheese dog and fries and adds that he helped me “save myself from dying. ‘a serious eating disorder’.

I don’t know she got tired of him. But I think she’s had enough of alcohol and drugs.

– Joël Selvin

In 1984, she wrote: “I was done with the coke. I didn’t like how I felt. She also didn’t like the effect it had on her marriage. “It made sense that I was angry,” she wrote. “It wasn’t one thing or another as much as everything was together. There was a lot going on: Ed’s fights with Dave [David Lee Roth], Ed’s drink and coke, his obsessive work habits.

Valerie’s “One Day at a Time” co-star Mackenzie Phillips recalled in her own book, “High on Arrival,” Eddie and Valerie walking past her Manhattan loft for champagne. Eddie bit into his bathroom “and vacuumed most of my coke,” Phillips wrote, adding that he had whispered to her, “Don’t tell Val.” In the elevator, “Eddie dropped his cigarettes.” When he bent down to pick them up, about fifteen Quaaludes fell from his pocket. Val was pissed off. But we [Mackenzie and Eddie] must have taken them. . . ”

Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy recalled in his autobiography how Eddie, a neighbor, asked him to hide bottles of vodka in the bushes outside his house – so Eddie could pick them up without Valerie knowing.

The couple’s son, Wolfgang, was born in 1991, but parenthood did not solve their problems.

During the 1990s, the couple’s marriage slowly fell apart. Hagar wrote about a bombed-out Eddie knocking on his door at 2:30 a.m., demanding they write a song together and admitting that Valerie kicked him out for the night.

By 2000, the actress had hit her own rock bottom. Eddie had suffered a frightening wave of medical ailments including a hip replacement at the age of 44 and a diagnosis of tongue cancer, leading him to swear to him that he had quit using drugs and the alcohol. She believed him – until she found a cocaine binder tucked away in her wallet.

Eddie and Valerie separated in 2001 and their divorce was finalized five years later.

“There is no doubt that Valerie had strong feelings for Eddie,” said Selvin. “I don’t know she got fed up with him. But I think she’s had enough of alcohol and drugs.

Eddie and Valérie during their honeymoon in Amsterdam, 1984 (three years after their marriage).
Eddie and Valérie during their honeymoon in Amsterdam, 1984 (three years after their marriage).ZUMAPRESS

Left on his own, according to Hagar’s book, Eddie was a mess with no quid pro quo. The singer remembers visiting the 16,000 square foot home of his former bandmate. “It looked like vampires lived there,” Hagar wrote. “There were bottles and cans all over the floor… There were cobwebs everywhere. He had thrown big blankets on the windows… I had never seen a dirtier place in my life.

Despite reports that Eddie was worth around $ 100 million, Hagar described the rock star’s dig as “like a tramp’s shack.”

But, Hagar said, what was most disturbing was that the man who had just overcome cancer seemed addicted to alcohol and cigarettes. The singer wrote: “He was missing a number of teeth and the ones he left were black… He was walking around all day, drinking cheap Shiraz from the bottle. That is why his teeth were all black.

When Hagar suggested that Eddie use a glass, the guitarist lifted his bottle and replied, “It’s in a glass. ”

Over the next decade and a half, however, Eddie apparently succeeded. He married Janie Liszewski, a Hollywood stuntwoman, in 2009, in the presence of Valerie. Likewise, he was the guest of his second marriage to financial planner Tom Vitale, two years later.

Eddie was also a major presence in the life of Wolfgang, now 29. The two teamed up with Van Halen in 2013, with Eddie and Valerie’s son taking over. “I’m becoming my own,” he told Guitar World of his performance on stage with his father. “I really feel like I’m supposed to be doing this and I’ve got something to prove.”

Eddie would have been clean and sober since 2008. “I thank God on my knees for living and obviously being sober and working with my son,” he told Rolling Stone in 2009. “I’m so blessed. . it is beyond words.

When Wolfgang revealed that Eddie had died on October 6, aged 65, of cancer, tributes flooded social media – from former bandmates; rockers like Gene Simmons, Nikki Sixx, Flea and Ozzy Osbourne; and famous fans such as Jimmy Kimmel and fashion designer Kenneth Cole.

But the most touching of all was that of Valérie. Tweeting a vintage photo of the couple posing with their newborn son, she wrote: “40 years ago my life changed forever when I met you… I’m so grateful to Wolfie and I was able to hold on in your last moments. I will see you in our next life my love. “

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