Valerie Bertinelli says there's been a dark side to the response to her ex-husband Eddie Van Halen's death this past October: grief shame.
Bertinelli, who was married to Eddie for 26 years, says she's repeatedly encountered the phenomenon over the past four months, as she's spoken publicly about her family's loss.
"It's weird. Grief shame is something I never thought would happen to me and I won't talk about it right now," she said on the Today show last week. "But I knew the man for 40 years. I was 20 when I met him. I still loved him. We spent a lot of time together. He's the father of my son [Wolfgang Van Halen]. He's the father of the greatest gift in my life."
Despite breaking up in 2002 and officially divorcing in 2007, Bertinelli and Eddie remained close over the last two decades, celebrating birthdays and holidays together with their son. Eddie remarried in 2009 and Bertinelli remarried in 2011.
"I miss him," Bertinelli continues. "And I'm allowed to miss him. He was a huge part of my life. Just because we loved each other didn't lessen the love that he had for [his widow] Janie [Liszewski], or me for [my husband] Tom [Vitale]. So it's a different kind of love. I don't know how to explain it. Maybe one day I'll figure it out and write a book about it."
Eddie died on October 6 at age 65 of complications from cancer. Bertinelli and Wolfgang were among those at his side in his final hours.
Wolfgang has faced similar challenges since his father's death, having to dispel unfounded rumors about Van Halen's future and defend himself from ludicrous accusations of misappropriating his family name.
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