Jenny Craig spokeswoman Valerie Bertinelli admits in her new book, Losing It: And Gaining Back My Life Back One Pound at a Time, that she cheated on ex-husband Eddie Van Halen and abused cocaine. She talked about her pain with Oprah Winfrey on February 25. She admits that she had severe body issues stemming from childhood, turning to food for comfort.
Becoming a Jenny Craig spokeswoman turned her life around. Cocaine use was involved in her desire to maintain her weight, and many girls use dangerous drugs to maintain their own weight. She spiraled down into Hell the same way so many of us, you and me included, abused drugs to maintain an unattainable figure. This is how it all spiraled down.
Valerie Bertinelli not Innocent Girl Next Door
Bertinelli admits she first tried cocaine with Mackenzie Phillips, co-star in her hit TV show, One Day at a Time. Bertinelli was a teenager at the time but didn’t get addicted until she met Eddie Van Halen. She married Van Halen when she was only 20 years old.
Bertinelli admits this in her book, provided by Today:
“The priest we tapped to perform the ceremony gave us questionnaires so he could get to know us better and offer more personal words. As we filled out the forms at home, we each held a little vial of coke.”
Bertinelli says that she used cocaine to control her weight, along with fitting in with husband Eddie Van Halen. Even after Bertinelli gave up drugs, her husband couldn’t fight it off. Eventually they both cheated on each other, although Van Halen claims she was first. Bertinelli admits to kissing another woman. They separated in 2001 and divorced last year.
Bertinelli is compared to Lindsay Lohan for her use of drugs, including cocaine. Unlike Lohan, Bertinelli hid her problems by doing it privately, like the rest of us. We don’t have paparazzi constantly swarming our daily lives, but we deal with the same problems as Bertinelli: not accepting our bodies, doing drugs to slim down, and doing foolish things because of our insecurity. I’ve been there also, although not with illegal drugs, and I had a friend who abused drugs to lose weight. She died 5 years ago.
My Experiences with Drugs, Bertinelli’s Problems
I’ll spare you the details, but I dealt with a deadly addiction to laxatives and diet pills from the age of 16 to 20. I also had a friend, very anorexic, who took drugs, specifically cocaine, to lose weight. She died when I was 16.
Using drugs to deal with weight is a terrible thing. It’s like using alcohol to cure your depression. I was very depressed also, along with my friend. Using drugs to lose weight had deadly consequences for my friend, although she died from ingesting ipecac.
I was friends with her during the height of her cocaine use. She promised to hook me up with drugs also, promising great results with my weight. Unlike Bertinelli and Phillips’ relationship on the set of One Day at a Time however, I didn’t try it. I didn’t want to take drugs because I was afraid of getting caught. Despite that, I began using laxatives to control my weight.
I remember a lot of things, like how she would sneak cocaine into school and do it in the bathroom, right before school ended. She would stay in the library during lunch to prevent eating (and gaining weight). She always seemed very off, like she wasn’t there, and she didn’t like school. Just like Bertinelli she kept on doing drugs to lose weight and fit in with other crowds, crowds I refused to be around. I didn’t stay very close friends with her. My laxative abuse increased. I took 7 to 10 Ducolax pills to get rid of extra food, and even that wasn’t working.
By the spring her weight has plummeted to under 100lbs. At 5’6”, that’s deathly. I was 5’7” at the time, spiraling down to 125 from 178. She was abusing illegal drugs, and I was using laxatives with diet pills. We both were constantly out of it. We were weak. I visited the nurse’s office often to lie down. She never seemed to stop moving, although she fainted a lot.
In May, she told me that the cocaine wasn’t working. Cocaine wasn’t doing the trick anymore, it wasn’t enough for her. I told her that it was because she was on death’s bed. She told me she was trying something else, something she read in Wasted, a book by Marya Hornbacher. Next thing I know, she was dead. Her friends told me they found her a couple of days after she died, covered in vomit in a bathroom. She took one dosage of ipecac and her heart was so weak it gave out. But she wanted to lose weight.
I freaked out after that. I barely remember much that summer, except that I spent my day inside the house, constantly fasting, constantly swallowing laxatives and diet pills. I remember the scale read 99lbs. I also remember feeling my stomach, feeling something hard inside of it. That it stuck out, still, even at this weight. I was taking up to 30 laxatives at this time. I battled this until I was 20, although I never reached that weight again. I did take up to 55 laxatives, swallowing it down with a little bit of mouth wash (the smell of it today makes me puke) to numb my throat. It took me a year before my body finally normalized.
What You Should Learn from Bertinelli’s Experiences
Now my case is worst case scenario, but it can happen if you have bad weight issues. Bertinelli had bad weight issues, I did too, so did my friend, but Bertinelli is in great health right now. Me, kind of. My friend, she’s dead. Abusing drugs to maintain or lose weight is a dangerous risk, a risk Bertinelli took. Her co-star, Mackenzie Phillips, was the start to her cocaine addiction. She said yes. You should say no. Weight isn’t worth getting addicted to drugs, as Bertinelli has showed us. Bertinelli should be an example for us. She should be a reason we turn back from doing drugs. Doing drugs isn’t worth maintaining your weight. It never is. Cocaine is never the answer.
Jen Brown/TODAY, “Valerie Bertenelli comes clean on infidelity, marriage”, MSNBC
Associated Press, “Valerie Bertinelli About Divorce From Eddie Van Halen: ‘I Wasn’t An Angel Either'”, FOX News
Ann Turner, “Jenny Craig’s Valerie Bertinelli Reveals Drug Use, Affairs”, Gay Wired