Eddie Van Halen Makes a Wild Child Out of Valerie Bertinelli — Twisted Tales

From Spinner.com:

Thirty years ago, the hard rock powerhouse known as Van Halen was just coming into its own, and by April of 1981, the original group was already in deep trouble. At the end of the month, Van Halen would release its fourth album, ‘Fair Warning’ and the last track, sung by frontman David Lee Roth, was called ‘One Foot Out the Door.’

The timing of the band’s self-titled debut, which came out in 1978, gave Van Halen an odd, tenuous connection to punk rock (“Homegrown Punk,” read the headline of an L.A. Times feature). In truth, the band had been together since 1972, when young brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen, born in the Netherlands, started an L.A. rock group with Roth, the guy who rented them their sound system. After toying with several names (Mammoth, Rat Salade, the already-taken Genesis) and the backing of Kiss’ Gene Simmons, the band settled on naming itself after the brothers.

Following the monster success of the band’s first two albums, Roth would stick around until 1985, when the band replaced him with ex-Montrose belter Sammy Hagar. But Roth and Eddie Van Halen were already at odds by the time of ‘Fair Warning.’

A few weeks before the album’s release, on April 11, 1981, the prodigious guitarist got married to Valerie Bertinelli. Given his bride’s line of work — she was a young actress famous for her long-running role as sensible Barbara Cooper on the Norman Lear sitcom ‘One Day at a Time’ — it might have been easy to assume that Eddie’s newfound domesticity was causing the rift in the legendarily hard-rocking band.

Instead, the unlikely couple lapsed into a reckless rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle together. In a TV interview not long after their wedding, Bertinelli said she and her husband had taken a little of “each other’s personality.” He’d calmed down a little, she claimed, while she was getting a little wilder. To change her image, she was taking more “adult” roles, starting with the lead in the made-for-TV movie ‘I Was a Mail Order Bride.’

By the time Hagar joined the group, as he recounts in ‘Red,’ his best-selling new memoir, the Van Halens were living in squalor in a modest two-bedroom house with a filthy recording studio in the garage. They had to blow ashes off the mixing board just to plug in. They called the studio 5150 (also the name of their first album with Hagar) — police code for dealing with a crazy person.

On her TV show, Bertinelli acted opposite Mackenzie Phillips, the notoriously troubled daughter of Mamas and the Papas founder John Phillips, who played the rebellious Cooper sister, Julie. In reality, Bertinelli’s struggles with drugs and alcohol kept pace with those of her former acting partner.

Eddie Van Halen’s well-documented appetite for self-destruction is one big reason ‘Red’ is selling so well. As it turns out, Bertinelli matched him blow for blow. Cocaine abuse made her dread mornings. “It took me years after stopping the cocaine before I was able to enjoy a sunrise and enjoy the sound of birds,” she told Oprah Winfrey a few years ago.

By then, she and her beloved Edward were divorced, their marriage a casualty of mutual indulgence. They have since both remarried, with each attending the other’s second wedding. Meanwhile, their son, Wolfgang, who turned 20 in March, has been Van Halen’s bassist since 2006. He’s the pride and joy of the twosome CNN once called “the ultimate good girl-bad boy coupling.”

  • Expanded Consciousness

    Holy smokes! That is a little bit of Panama that Eddie is playing (the first clip with him playing guitar at home).

    Didn’t know that Sammy was one of Valerie’s brothers (checkout that blond mop head on her left).

  • Homer

    You can hear him playing parts from Panama… I remember seeing this back in the days.

  • Expanded Consciousness

    Eddie is drinking beer from a big mug at 4:38. It must have been a morning interview.

  • chriso

    Great home-spun “Women In Love” footage, too! 🙂

    But wow, looking back, all the bad stuff came true & the signs were apparent on the video with the drinking and stoner-voices…


    She was really scrawny there for a while right after they married – obvious coke usage. Back then we all thought she was a nice girl next door.

  • David

    Man….I miss the glory days of VH. Videos like this make me just close my eyes and remind myself of being a kid again and my first album ever purchased which was Diver Down.


  • Roth_Leaps_83

    Valerie always bored me to death. She has a very privileged life, and yet she wants us to feel sorry for her. Back in in the 80’s, she was a hot young actress with steady work and making nice bank, and she was married to the greatest guitarist of the last 30 years. OK, so she did some coke and booze and had some flings — so what? Sounds like a typical Hollywood marriage we’ve heard a 1000 times before. Now, all she talks about is her weight and a new marriage to a bald guy. Zzzzzzz…..

    I do miss the days when Eddie was happily married because I think it gave him stability and inspiration for great music. Hopefully, Janie is having the same effect on him now so maybe this new album will smoke some ass.

    By the way, I can see why Wolfie is so big — Valerie’s brothers look like they can throw down and whoop some ass!

  • Atomic Pete

    Those were the days!
    Now back to work on my time machine.

  • Johnh

    it’s been said before I’m sure.. but they do look like each other don’t they….?

  • freddiegirl

    Bah. You can’t bring out what’s already there a little bit. This was a time when scandals and secrets were better kept; not like with today’s twittering, blogging and facebook having celebutards. Eddie only helped bring that ‘bad girl’ streak forward a little faster. I know I sound terrible but could we just lay all of Ed’s past problems at Valerie’s feet? I’m only partially kidding.

    Roth_Leaps…I don’t know. I rather preferred Ed’s music when he wasn’t married; FW not withstanding. Dave didn’t have the group sing ‘Big Bad Bill (is Sweet William Now) on DD for nothing you know… 😉 I think Ed does need the stability and I hope he’s finding it with his new wife. Seems to for the moment. I do wonder at Janie’s timing though. She got together when Ed was at his worst; when he looked crazy and when any woman in her right mind would have gone screaming to the hills. That’s…..suspect to me. I hope I’m wrong cuz Ed seems happy and healthy now and here’s to him staying that way regardless of whether his new marriage succeeds or not.

    On a funnier note; no wonder everyone used to comment that Ed and Val looked like siblings. They really don’t when you look at their facial structures but dang; they really did look like they went to the same hairdresser!

  • Adrian

    What an incredible yet terrible couple haha. So perfect, yet doomed from the start.

  • http://vhnd Amad Ali

    Stability my a$$!!! VH has always been very important to me and still is to this very second. But I can see why DLR was irritated at the thought of the marriage: it was total bulshit and it was very unfitting to the whole idea of what Van Halen is – at least that marriage was. DLR knew that they could have ruled the world and no one else even come close. But it was ridiculous bullshit bits and pieces such as that marriage that chipped away at what could have been the next Stones.

  • http://vhnd emery

    Poor Ed. I`m sure she was a hand full. He still did awesome stuff .Females always think the guy owes them. Only god knows why.I think his new wife has her sh!& together.

  • ValerieBertandErnie

    So was that them “living in squalor” in a two bedroom home?
    Im a confused

  • DMStorm22

    Man, they sounded so tightly together in that short clip of “So This is Love”. That’s the VH I hope comes out later this year, or next, or whenever.

  • house of pain

    Valerie was the Yoko Ono of =van halen=

  • charlie

    i love 2 things here. When Ed has to look at the camera and say thats not true when val throws him under the bus about living with his parents, hes thinking man dave is gonna kick my ass for that one!! then when asked about the lifestyle, its so painfully obvious that when hes on the road, shes NOT!!! LOL!!!

  • Roth_Leaps_83

    Freddiegirl —

    LOL, well I cant argue with you that Van Halen’s first 4 albums were brilliant and that was when Eddie was single. However, Ed is the type of guy who has a lot of demons to control and doesnt embrace the bachelor life that Dave enjoys so much. Ed needs a wife to keep him in line or at least give it her best shot. The worse period in Ed’s life was probably between Valerie leaving and Janie coming into the picture. He was at the mercy of his addictions and no one there to help him except Wolfie who was still a young kid at the time.

    As far as Janie’s motivations for marrying Edward — who really knows at this point. I’d like to think she’s a great woman who loves Eddie until their dying days, but maybe she’s just a gold-digger who enjoys the Hollywood scene and being pampered by a rock star. Only time will tell if they stand the test of time (thanks, Sammy!).

  • freddiegirl

    Roth_leaps…very true. I agree that Ed does need someone but at the end of the day a person can only help and love themselves before anyone else can. I hope that’s where Ed is at and not completely dependent on his new wife, Al, Wolf or anyone else. I’d like to see Ed stick around a few more years, ya know? About Janie…I hope you’re right…;) I think i’m just cynical from having lived in LA all my life though.

  • bbl70

    Whoah guys, heavy stuff. Very insightful.

    Leaps: You quotin Sammy lyrics now brah?

  • whambamsam

    “Eddie…we hear that a rock star’s life is groupies, drinking, late hours, and hard drugsa…does that apply to Edward Van Halen?”

    Ed: “Take a guess…(heh heh)…no…none of it…well, maybe the late hours and drinking…oh, and the hard drugs…and you know, maybe a few dozen groupies each show…but other than that…uh…wait…what was your question?”

  • YZ

    Lady’s and gentlemen, a glimpse into the life of a rock star. So cool. Hot dog.

  • Diamond Dean

    that was cool as , lllluuuuv this stuff , on ya VHND

  • Matt L.

    They were hav’in..good times. Unfortunate that it turned into a train wreck. all thanks to that devil’s juice and dust. Glad the future is so bright! All together, RELEASE THE DISC!!!!

  • Dooley

    Reporter: “(is it true about) the late nights and the groupies…?”
    Ed: “Well, of course not… I’m married”
    Val: “I certainly hope not”

    But when she was plugging her book on Oprah, Val dished that she was the one to “boink around” first. heh heh. And Janie has a porn industry background, doesn’t she? I’m not saying that’s bad, porn has its place ya’know. It looks to me like Janie is good for Ed, and continued happiness to them!!

  • http://vhnd Emery

    Man that car sure burns oil. Hard to find a good machanic even when your last name is Van halen.

  • dude

    How awkward having to entertain some reporters in your own home – happy marriage or not! That was Maria Shriver, the future Mrs. Terminator, I believe?

  • Brian

    Dave was pissed that Eddie got Val only because Dave wanted her too.

    That’s all that was.
    Eddie got the girl that Dave wanted.
    Val looks adorable in that video.
    I read somewhere that Val and Ed once went to a psychic or some odd shit and were told that in a previous life they were brother and sister. Hm, makes you wonder sometimes.

    I don’t know anything about Janie, (other then the PR part) but before Eddie met her, he was (probably) about to die. Within a few years, Eddie is looking great again.
    That’s good enough for me, regarding what kind of a person she is.

  • liamh3

    1972? I thought they got together with Roth in 74? for his PA

  • chriso

    I wonder what Valerie would be like today if she’d chose DLR instead of EVH? The thought is both fascinating and frightening at the same time… 🙂

  • Tommy Boy

    Don’t believe everything you read….even these words I’m typing now. Just some letters grouped together.

  • Mike

    Can anyone tell me the name of the first piece of music played (the instrumental part, just before “Pretty Woman” starts)?

  • freddiegirl

    Mike: ‘Intruder’.

  • Mike

    Thanks freddiegirl!
    Diver Down is the only VH record I don’t own.

  • Dooley


    Diver Down is worth owning, not only because of Intruder/Pretty Woman, but also for Cathedral, Secrets, Little Guitars, and the “other” Kinks song covered by VH Where Have All the Good Times Gone. Dancing in the Street was a major blunder. And as for Happy Trails…well they were just goofing around, that makes it OK I guess. Big Bad Bill is good because Dad plays clarinet, and Dave’s vocals are well suited for the tune.

  • http://gmail tef5150

    Hi, Can someone please tell me what song Eddie is playing at the 5:31 point of the clip?

  • maVin

    “does that apply to edward van halen?… Take a guess”


  • Expanded Consciousness

    “Hi, Can someone please tell me what song Eddie is playing at the 5:31 point of the clip?”

    You don’t recognize “Women In Love” off of Van Halen II? Go put on your stereo right now!

  • davies41