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Valerie Bertinelli reveals Eddie Van Halen’s last words, says the ‘end came in slow motion’

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  • Eddie Van Halen
    Eddie Van Halen
    American rock musician (1955-2020)
  • Valerie Bertinelli
    Valerie Bertinelli
    American actress and television personality

Actor and TV host Valerie Bertinelli is opening up about the last moments of her late ex-husband Eddie Van Halen’s life and his impact on her. 

Bertinelli writes in a new book out later this month that she and their son, Wolfgang, were both present at the time of the Van Halen guitarist's death from cancer in October 2020.

“When Ed told me that his cancer had spread to his brain, I stared at him, shocked, feeling myself go numb,” she writes, according to an excerpt in the latest issue of People. “I can’t imagine being without him.”

Bertinelli said that for the last week and a half of Van Halen’s life, she and her son took turns spending as much time as they could in the hospital.

“Maybe next time, right?” she recalled saying to him just days before his death as they cried together. “Maybe next time we’ll get it right.”

The end, she says, came in "slow motion."

"On Tuesday morning Wolfie calls and tells me that Ed‘s breathing has changed and that I have to get to the hospital ASAP," she recalls. 

"'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,” she wrote.

She said after 20 minutes of silence, they started sharing stories about the late Van Halen and began laughing, not crying. 

"Suddenly, all of us are cracking up," she wrote. "We laugh — and it is so much better than crying."

Bertinelli’s new book, “Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I Am Today,” will be released on Jan. 18. She'll be on TODAY that morning in a live interview to chat about it. 

Eddie Van Halen died at the age of 65 on Oct. 6, 2020. He and the "One Day at a Time" actress were married from 1981 to 2007.

At the time, Bertinelli posted a heartbreaking tribute on Instagram. 

"I’m so grateful Wolfie and I were able to hold you in your last moments," she wrote, in part. "I will see you in our next life my love.”

More than a year later, Bertinelli filed for legal separation from her husband of nearly 11 years, Tom Vitale.

In the People story, she explained that they’d “grown apart” and their split had “had nothing to do with my love for Ed.”

“Tom and I have been pulling apart for the last few years. I wish him the best, and I know he feels the same way about me,” she told People.

In February, while appearing on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna, Bertinelli said she was still grappling with Eddie Van Halen’s death.

“I still loved him... He’s the father of my son. He’s the father of the greatest gift in my life,” she said at the time, adding that though she had married Vitale and Eddie Van Halen had married Janie Liszewski, she was “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 Janie or me for Tom, so it’s a different kind of love,” she said. “I don’t know how to explain it. Maybe one day I’ll figure it out and write a book about it.”

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