When 21-year-old Valerie Bertinelli was ready to walk down the aisle with rock-star 25 year-old Eddie Van Halen, it was just another workday for band manager Noel E. Monk.
The couple’s wedding day, on April 11, 1981, was just another public performance by Eddie and his band mates. It was Monk’s job to keep the notoriously rowdy rockers in check during one of the most important days of Eddie’s life.
Concerns over how competitive front-man David Lee Roth would behave once the booze started to flow and how Eddie’s substance abuse would wreak havoc on the day. In the month’s leading up to the wedding Eddie had started doing cocaine in addition to his daily drinking and smoking marijuana. Monk had asked Eddie to try and show some restraint at the wedding to which he replied, “I’ll try to stay as straight as I can.”
As one of rock’s fastest-rising young bands, and a sit-com star with a squeaky-clean image, Eddie and Val seemed like an unlikely pair.
The Van Halen-Bertinelli nuptials were among the earliest of the era that saw a ton of rock stars marrying Hollywood celebrities, and many of the unions ended quickly.
The ceremony was held at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Westwood, California. Navigating through the paparazzi, Monk got the newlyweds safely to their limo where they were finally able to breathe a sign of relief from all the excitement.
Once the cars started to arrive at the historic Grayhall mansion in Beverly Hills for the reception, Eddie and Val were no where to be found.
Found out what happened on the next page.
The couple met in Valerie’s hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana in August 1980. The One Day at a Time star was enthralled by Eddie Van Halen’s good looks and stage-presence that she used her connections to get backstage.
“It was kind of cute to see them together — they were both clearly nervous and somewhat reticent,” writes Monk in his new book Runnin’ with the Devil. “This struck me as a sign of genuine chemistry. After all, Valerie had spent most of her life in front of a camera or audience; she was completely comfortable with all manner of public interaction. And yet, here she was, stammering and blushing like a schoolgirl in the presence of the captain of the football team. And Edward? Here was a guy who went out on stage every night and performed, wizard-like, in front of thousands of adoring fans. In the presence of this young woman, however, the rock star facade melted away.”
Though a fairy-tale beginning their short courtship of 8 months was a rocky one. 3 months into the relationship, Eddie was slapped with a paternity lawsuit from a groupie who claimed he had fathered her child.
After a negative paternity test, the couple was able to move on from the setback and continue to plan their wedding.
With wedding guests ready at the reception, the newly wed couple was found in the mansion’s upstairs bathroom. Eddie was huddled over the toilet while Valerie, still in her white gown, held back his hair. In the short time from when the ceremony ended to the beginning of the reception he managed to become intoxicated.
The bride was just standing in the bathroom with tears streaming down her face.
Valerie, however, didn’t let this ruin her wedding day.
“She coaxed Edward to his feet, cleaned him up, straightened his tie, and helped him comb his hair. In her eyes I saw not disappointment but compassion and love … They emerged from the bathroom hand in hand, and made a glorious entrance into the grand ballroom, where a crowd of family and friends and an assortment of Hollywood stars burst into applause,” Monk said.
10 years later, on March 16, 1991 the couple welcomed their son Wolfgang Van Halen to which the track “316” was created to commemorate the new addition to the family.
Their troubles finally tore the couple apart and they announced their separation in 2001 and finalized their divorce in 2007.
The breakup was amicable and they always remained united, especially where their son was concerned.
“I do love Ed so much, and I care about what happens to him. He’s my son’s father,” Bertinelli told USA Today. “I was very, very in love with Ed in the beginning, but I was 20. I’ll always love him, but not in that way. It’s now like a mother/son or brother/sister thing.”