Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Exclusive: Valerie Bertinelli Is Happier Than Ever

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Valerie Bertinelli loves her life right now—and that’s not something she say she would have said or thought two years ago. This week, in a testament to that “living that best life,” she releases her most indulgent cookbook yet, Indulge: Delicious and Decadent Dishes to Enjoy and Share, a collection of 100 recipes to nourish the body and the soul. Besides creating a cookbook that is “a permission slip to enjoy food,” Bertinellii recently chatted with us how she’s doing something even more important: indulging in the joy.

“Besides all of the amazing recipes that we were able to develop over the last year, I really love the essays. I love talking about how to find yourself indulging in your life and indulging in your joy and indulging in food, indulging in the people you love. It is, at its base, a cookbook, and I’m ridiculously proud of it. It’s my favorite so far. But it’s so much more than just a cookbook for me…it came about while I was doing my year of healing after I finished my last book, Enough Already, which was basically writing through my grief about my parents dying, Ed [Van Halen] dying, watching my son struggle through his father’s death and be such a force of calm. I’m still in awe of Wolfie and how he’s handled such adversity.

It’s about all of the hard stuff and then finding my way through it and realizing that indulgence isn’t a nasty word. Food isn’t good or bad. Food is just calories to nourish your body, and I have spent way too many years of my life feeling that food’s good, bad, I’m bad, I’m good, when it comes to anything around food. It was nice to be able to get that off my chest and release it. When I don’t reach into my toolbox full of food and even alcohol to numb my feelings and to ignore my feelings, and when I feel my feelings, that’s when my life started to change when I stopped trying to numb them and push them down.”

Thank you for sharing that. I love the caption that you recently put on Instagram—that you love your life right now, and it’s not something you thought you would have said two years ago. When you post something like that on social media, what kind of feedback do you get?

“I was speaking with a really dear friend last night about it because it overwhelms me with the kindness that is out there. I have been able to build up, not me, but my community on Instagram and the people that follow me and how absolutely lovely they are and how they root for me and I root for them. I’m so excited to meet them on the road when I do this book tour because I feel very close to them through taking the chance of really speaking about my journey in real-time, even when it was excruciatingly painful. They’ve been with me the whole time.

The ones that were like, ‘Oh my God, she’s crying again,’ you block those. They’re not part of the community—and I adore my community on Instagram. I absolutely adore them. They have been overwhelmingly positive and the best cheerleaders. I couldn’t be more thankful for my community there.”

That’s amazing. I know you’ve spoken a lot about this in the past, but what are you doing right now for self-care, wellness and just making yourself feel good in the day-to-day?

“I start my day in pure gratitude, no matter how I feel in the morning. There are days that I wake up not feeling…it’s like, ‘Oh, this one’s going to be a struggle.’ But I’m grateful for the struggle, as much as I’m grateful for the joy. Because the joy is sweeter because of the struggle. I was looking back at an interview that I did…a friend sent it to me and said, ‘Remember where you came from and where you were two years ago.’ At first, I didn’t want to watch it because I remembered how much pain I was in ‘22. Sometimes, that embarrasses me and fills me with a little bit of shame. I’m stopping that.

When I saw it and I saw how grateful I was, even in the hard stuff, and I forgot that I did remember to be grateful. I think that more than anything…it pulled me through. Obviously, there’s also a lot that helps with reading books and seeing my therapist and journaling and doing all the things of work to try and heal. To know that I did still practice gratitude during the challenging times actually filled me with some pride, which is [chuckles] rare, but it’s getting more common these days.

Thank you for sharing that. What else are you excited about this spring? 

“Seeing my son on the road! I’m his biggest groupie cheerleader; I am his biggest fan. Oh, my God, I just adore watching him live. I love how he has gotten even better and more comfortable on stage. Just the way he talks with the audience, the way he plays with them, the way they adore him, and the way his audience is growing. I could not be more proud of the man he is, of the human being he is. It makes me so happy.”

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