Valerie Bertinelli Says She’s Been ‘Grief Shamed’ Following Eddie Van Halen’s Death

Four months after legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen lost his battle with cancer, his ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli is continuing to come to terms with the loss. But in a new interview with Today, the Food Network star explained that she’s been “grief shamed” for her reactions to his death.

“It’s weird. Grief shame is something I never thought would happen to me. I don’t want to talk about it right now, but I knew the man for 40 years. I was 20 when I met him. I still loved him,” Valerie said while tearing up. “We spent a lot of time together. He’s the father of my son. He’s the father of the greatest gift in my life.”

Their 29-year-old son, Wolfgang, has also been open about his grieving process, who said the loss of his father is “always gonna hurt.”

In a tribute to Eddie Van Halen, son Wolfgang has this to say: “As my pop continued to struggle with various health issues, I was imagining what my life would be like without him and how terribly I’d miss him. While the song is incredibly personal, I think anyone can relate to the idea of having a profound loss in their life. I never intended ‘Distance’ to be the very first piece of music people would hear from me, but I also thought my father would be here to celebrate its release. This is for him. I love and miss you, Pop.” - WVH

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Valerie and Eddie were married for 26 years and divorced in 2007. Two years later, Eddie married Janie Liszewski; Valerie also remarried, tying the knot with Tom Vitale in 2011. Despite their separation, the former couple remained close while co-parenting their son.

“I miss him. And I’m allowed to miss him,” Valerie said. “He was a huge part of my life. Just because we loved each other didn’t lessen the love that he had for Janie or me for Tom, so it’s a different kind of love. I don’t know how to explain it.”

In January, Valerie opened up about how hard the loss has been for her entire family. “It’s been rough—very bittersweet, [but] we’re doing okay,” she said while holding back tears. “It’s hard. I’ve gone to text him a few dozen times and it’s like, ‘Oh, no, I can’t text him right now.’”

After the devastating news of Eddie’s death, Valerie honored her late ex-husband in an emotional tribute on Instagram.

“You gave me the one true light in my life, our son, Wolfgang,” she said. “Through all your challenging treatments for lung cancer, you kept your gorgeous spirit and that impish grin. I’m so grateful Wolfie and I were able to hold you in your last moments. I will see you in our next life my love.”