Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli in NYC, 1985
In a recent interview with LA Weekly, former Warner Music Artist Development Director Ted Cohen says Eddie Van Halen’s famous former wife was to blame for the band’s split with singer David Lee Roth.
Cohen, who was Van Halen’s label rep at Warner Music, claims that Valerie Bertinelli was the main cause of the 1985 split with Diamond Dave, creating a wedge between members of the group – Yoko Ono style.
He added that Bertinelli, who first rose to fame during the ‘70s for her role as Barbara Cooper Royer on the television series One Day at a Time, considered her then husband as the main creative force behind the band while Roth was “expendable,” although Cohen himself saw it differently.
"David was an integral part of the band's success,” said Cohen. “He was brilliant."
Cohen also suggested that after the couple’s 1981 marriage, Eddie began distancing himself from the rest of the band, often staying alone in his hotel room and rarely spending his off time with the rest of them.
Cohen recalls a night he and Eddie spent at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas where the guitarist candidly expressed his somber feelings towards his then year-old marriage, speaking from 3 am until dawn.
"We kept hitting the minibar in the room and we got toasted," Cohen remembers, "and I just felt really bad because Eddie was so utterly depressed."
Cohen had asked Van Halen that night if he felt as though the marriage might have been made in err. "I've made a terrible mistake," Eddie affirmed with a glum look.
After Bertinelli and Van Halen split in 2006, Roth was immediately reinstated a year later, making Cohen suggest "If Valerie had never appeared on the scene David would probably have never been kicked out in the first place."