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Valerie Bertinelli Just Revealed Her Final Memory With Late Ex Eddie Van Halen

"I loved him more than I know how to explain," the actor shared.

Just because a marriage ends, that doesn't mean the love necessarily goes away. Just ask Valerie Bertinelli, who learned exactly that from her relationship with ex-husband Eddie Van Halen. The actor and musician got married in 1981 and divorced in 2007 after separating in 2001. But, even though they were no longer a couple, Van Halen and Bertinelli remained close until his death from cancer in October 2020.

Bertinelli details her connection with Van Halen in her new book, Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I Am Today. In an interview with People and in excerpts from the book, Bertinelli shares the last words she exchanged with Van Halen and the deep feelings she had for him. Read on to see what she has to say about their enduring love.

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Bertinelli and Van Halen's marriage wasn't always smooth.

Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli at the "The Bonfire of the Vanities" premiere in 1990
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Bertinelli said that she and Van Halen had a relationship full of "love, anger, frustration and friendship," as reported by People. In 2008, Bertinelli told Oprah Winfrey that their tumultuous marriage involved not feeling like she and Van Halen were connecting, both of them using cocaine, and both of them cheating on each other.

She told Winfrey that she and Van Halen eventually split up for the good of their son, Wolfgang Van Halen. "One of the many reasons that Ed and I split up is to give Wolfie a better vision of what two people who are supposedly in love treat each other like," she said. "Ed and I weren't treating each other like two people that loved each other, and that's what Wolfie was seeing."

Still, their love persisted.

Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen at the premiere of "America's Sweethearts" in 2001
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Even though Bertinelli and Van Halen had cause to end their marriage, she told People that there was still a lot of love between them. "I can't explain the feelings Ed and I had for each other," the Hot in Cleveland star said. "I loved him more than I know how to explain and there's nothing sexual about it. It was more than that. And Ed and I understood that." Bertinelli added, "There is no greater love than what we had between the two of us and with that, we made this beautiful son."

In her book she writes of a time prior to his death, "There is no chance we are going to get back together, but I do know if one of us were to open up, the other one would too, and I don't want to get into that."

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She was there during his final moments.

Eddie Van Halen performing at Jones Beach Theater in 2015
Debby Wong / Shutterstock

Bertinelli and Wolfgang, now 30, visited Van Halen every day leading up to his death, according to People, and shared final words with him.

"'I love you' are the last words Ed says to Wolfie and me, and they are the last words we say to him before he stops breathing," Bertinelli writes in the new book.

She also said that she told Van Halen in his final days, "Maybe next time. Maybe next time, we'll get it right."

She also shared another memory.

Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen in 1995
Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage via Getty Images

Bertinelli also told the story of another final memory with Van Halen. When he returned from receiving cancer treatment in Germany, he brought her a present of a small gold bar the size of a pendant. "I hope you don't think it's weird, you know, that I bought my ex-wife this gift and didn't get my wife anything," Bertinelli said that he told her. "I just love you."

Van Halen was married to Janie Liszewski when he died.

She's remembering the good times.

Valerie Bertinelli at the 2019 Daytime Emmy Awards
Michael Mattes / Shutterstock

Bertinelli talked about grieving Van Halen in an Instagram Live with mindfulness coach Angie Johnsey in January 2021. The Food Network host explained that while the loss is difficult, she's able to look back on all the positive memories she has with her ex.

"We had some very difficult, very challenging times, but we had some beautiful times too," Bertinelli said of Van Halen (via Today). "And the lovely thing about grief—the gift that it gives you—is that it's so much easier to remember the beautiful moments, than the challenging and the difficult moments that you have with that person."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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