Valerie Bertinelli Reflects on Wild Van Halen Days and Drug Use

Valerie Bertinelli opens up about her wild days with Van Halen during her recent visit on Thursday's episode of Literally! With Rob Lowe podcast. While she may have had some crazy times in her past in her relationship with the band's co-founder Eddie Van Halen partaking in drugs and partying, Bertinelli admits she's much more conservative now. 

"I am a prude now but I [partook] as well for a few years there until I just couldn't take it anymore," she offered on the episode.

"We all did in the '80s," Lowe, who got sober in 1990, responded. "Cocaine was everywhere and easy to get," Bertinelli said.

Lowe explained how the times and climate was different back then. "It was before the bill had become due and we just didn't know. Not only that ... people were saying it was good for you. It helped you think, it was what 'successful' people did in our industry. All the people you admired did it," he said. 

Eventually, she chose to stop using because he stopped enjoying the lifestyle. "I got tired after a while of hating the birds chirping. When I would hear birds chirping, I would just get so tense. It took me years before I enjoyed a sunrise and enjoyed the birds chirping," Bertinelli said. "It's like, 'I was going to stop three bumps ago and I didn't and here I am and the birds are chirping, Goddammit! Why did I do this!'"

Lowe claimed the two stars were "lucky that we got off the ride." "Because a lot of people follow it all the way down," he said. "I think it's better to crash and burn than to be incrementally boiled alive by it ... I think that's what happens to a lot of people who can 'recreationally dabble.'"

Bertinelli and Van Halen were married in 1981 and ultimately decided to separate in 2001 due to Eddie's drug issues. They later divorced in 2007. According to Bertinelli, Van Halen was more than just a recreational drug user. "We all have a toolbox that we go to when we need to suppress any kind of emotion that we don't want to feel, any kind of pain that we don't want to feel. I know that Ed's toolbox was full of drugs and alcohol," Bertinelli remembered.

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Her ex-husband died in 2020 after a battle with cancer. He's survived by his ex-wife and the couple's 30-year-old son Wolfie. "It took a very, very long time for him to just not use it to deal with his pain. Near the end of his life, his pain was incredibly raw and he was very vulnerable about it. I'm grateful that he was able to make amends with so many people that he loved and knew that he didn't treat as well as he would have liked to because his heart ... was just so kind and so sweet," she said. "I was too immature and I was too into my own world to know how to help. I was a kid. We were 20 when I got married, that's insane."