How Valerie Bertinelli Found Freedom from Body Shame and Embraced Food, Life, and Love

Renowned culinary author Valerie Bertinelli has discovered the importance of indulging. She offers delicious recipes like Brown Butter Banana Walnut Muffins, Crispy Chicken Thighs with Radishes and Fennel, and Classic Eggs Benedict in her new cookbook, Indulge. But Valerie is concerned with more than simply the food. She no longer denies herself anything since she has found a greater sense of freedom.

“I no longer deny myself anything,” Valerie admits in a PEOPLE exclusive interview. Rather than fixating on calories, she concentrates on her actual desires. She creates a plate of pasta alle vongole whenever she feels like it, guilt free. Valerie is aware of the need to provide her body with wholesome foods, though.

Indulge is filled with essays-like personal stories written by Valerie, in addition to delicious recipes. She explores subjects like accepting life’s sweetness, finding joy, and forgiving others in these pieces. Valerie’s path of transformation began when she started writing the cookbook, particularly after she went through a divorce in 2022 and the emotional turmoil that followed the death of her first husband, Eddie Van Halen, in 2020.

Valerie found that cooking, sharing joy, and making time for her health were all meaningful again. She was able to overcome the body shame that had followed her for years with the support of regular therapy, journaling, and meditation. When she tried on her old “fat clothes,” the ones she wore for her 2008 Jenny Craig “before” shots, her newly discovered perspective became even more apparent. She was shocked to see how well they fit and that she still looked stunning from that era. It was a potent epiphany that called into question the detrimental impacts of diet culture.

Valerie’s path to recovery, however, continued. She discovered something unexpected along the road: a new love. She says the connection seems really right, even though it was entirely unexpected. Valerie’s online network has been so kind and encouraging that she felt obliged to share her tale. She wants her audience to know that there is hope and that things can improve, and she has over 1.5 million Instagram followers.


Everyone can find inspiration in Valerie Bertinelli’s narrative, which serves as a reminder to let go of body shame, enjoy life to the fullest, and focus on the things that actually make us happy. “I swear it’s going to get better,” she declares.

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