Valerie Bertinelli is still fighting ‘demons’ as she navigates new relationship after ending ‘toxic’ marriage

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Valerie Bertinelli is still fighting ‘demons’ as she navigates new relationship after ending ‘toxic’ marriage

Valerie Bertinelli opened up Tuesday about “learning to trust” again in her new relationship with writer Mike Goodnough, nearly two years after her “toxic” marriage to businessman Tom Vitale ended.

“So I pretty much started my healing journey in earnest at the end of 2022,” the 64-year-old former Food Network star said on Instagram, referring to the finalization of her divorce. “I wanted my life to be different than it was and I wanted to be a whole and emotionally healthy human being. Being vulnerable and authentic are two things I thought I had really worked on and accomplished and I really thought I had conquered most of my demons.”

Bertinelli wrote her caption alongside a photo of Goodnough, whom she started dating earlier this year. “I’m in love,” she previously told People magazine. “It’s a seesaw of emotions because I was adamant I was never falling in love again.”

The “One Day at a Time” star said she has “heard that being in a relationship after healing from a toxic one will bring out some triggers you didn’t know were still buried. And ain’t that the truth.” 

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Valerie Bertinelli and Mike Goodnough started dating earlier this year. (Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Bertinelli had previously referred to Vitale as “The Narcissist,” saying she did not know why she spent so long tolerating “the intolerable” with him.

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Before their divorce was finalized in 2022, Bertinelli told Hoda Kotb she could not “imagine ever trusting anyone again to let into my life. So I have some trust issues that I’m sure I’m going to have to get past.” She added then that she would be “happy” to spend the rest of her life alone.

After her divorce, she said on Instagram, “I have been screamed at so many times and told how fat and lazy I am. I realize …that was someone just projecting on me whatever they needed to project on me, but my part in all of it was believing it, and I don’t believe it anymore. But it still doesn’t stop the feelings from coming up and the hurt.”

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Valerie Bertinelli and Tom Vitale smiling for the camera

Valerie Bertinelli and Tom Vitale finalized their divorce in November 2022. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

The “Indulge” cookbook author said that “Learning to trust again after having that trust destroyed is not an easy thing. Those demons want to protect you from being vulnerable and emotionally exposed ever again.” 

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However, she said that Goodnough is “worth fighting the rest of my demons for. He is the most thoughtful, kind, gentle, intelligent, funny, and grateful man I’ve ever met.” 

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She also joked about his good looks, adding, “And look at him” with a heart face emoji. “I mean…”

Bertinelli first met Goodnough when they began messaging each other on Instagram for a few years before they started dating. 

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Bertinelli was also married to musician Eddie Van Halen from 1981 to 2007. He died in 2020



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