Van Halen's Very Own 'Yoko Ono'

A record exec who worked alongside Van Halen in the 1980s says the guitarist's wife caused a rift in the band which led to David Lee Roth's departure.

Ultimate Guitar

A record label exec from Van Halen's early days blames Eddie Van Halen's ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli for driving David Lee Roth out the band in 1985.

Ted Cohen, a former Warner Music A&R guy, says actress Bertinelli was like Van Halen's very own Yoko Ono when she turned up on the scene in 1980, according to Henne Music.

Apparently she believed Eddie was responsible for the band's success, and that Roth was expendable. Cohen argues otherwise. "David was an integral part of the band's success," he said. "He was brilliant."

Cohen shares a personal anecdote from his time with the band in the 1980s, saying that Eddie started to distance himself from the band because of Bertinelli's influence.

The marriage soon turned sour, and Cohen recalls a drinking session with the guitarist in Las Vegas where he poured his heart out.

"We kept hitting the minibar in the room and we got toasted," Cohen says, "and I just felt really bad because Eddie was so utterly depressed."

Did Eddie regret his marriage with Bertinelli? "I've made a terrible mistake," Eddie allegedly said.

Despite this, the pair remained together until substance abuse and infidelity allegedly tore their marriage apart in 2005. One year later, Roth returned to the band.

"If Valerie had never appeared on the scene," says Cohen, "David would probably have never been kicked out in the first place."

41 comments sorted by best / new / date

    At least Valerie was remotely attractive. I'd rather have my life ruined by a sexy succubus than whatever one might consider yoko. Just sayin'.
    "I've made a terrible mistake" Maybe he was referencing Arrested Development here?
    I know there is this divide between Van Halen w/ Roth and Van Halen w/ Hagar, but I am very happy that we had both. I also throughly enjoyed Roth going solo with Steve Vai on the guitar. What a show! Do I miss Roth got back together with Van Halen permentally back in 1996? SURE, but the important thing is they are finally back and sound great!
    I can't believe all these losers comments. Hey 5150 was written with Roth in the band you idiot. And no theres no good way to brush this story aside. I'd rather have my life ruined by someone attractive??? who are you people? The band was destroyed by Valerie and ed by extension and DLR got the blame for 30 years and that's ok with you 'fans'?
    And that's why folks you never, never, never let the lady's become too involved within the close boundaries of a band. I have a friend that grew up with these dudes and is in deep with the Van Halen camp, and this topic has come up before. All he's ever said is Valerie is a total pain in the a**... And you talk to people that know Eddie and that who have come across her, they never have anything nice to say about her. Ya Diamond Dave had his up's and downs with the band too but she sure didnt help... What' a bummer too man. I'm actually surprised UG got the spoof of this in this article, cause you never hear about Bertinelli and the influences she had in the band. Haha leave it up to the old rep to spill the beans man haha
    ^ That's awesome that you registered just to slam Sammy. I liked VH with DLR. That year with 1984 and Love at First Sting by the Scorpions changed my life...absolute fact. I remember when they announced Sammy as the new singer.I went out and got some cheap ass cassette of Sammy's 70's it to this day. He had a career before VH. Made some good music with VH that they would not have done without him. And he's done pretty much whatever he wanted to since. The VH brothers are the only ones who have been fumbling the ball since.
    hagar, you know the guy who claims to have been ABDUCTED BY ALIENS, and his fans are the most jealous I have ever seen in my life. Total douche bags. Van Halen's legacy lies with David Lee Roth. VH sold 6 million of 5150? Yeah, and they sold 10 MILLION with 1984. The debut has done another 10 MILLION. They've sold 34 MILLION albums with Roth, 18 million with Bette Midler, uh I mean hagar. The material VH did with Roth is superior to anything they did with that fat bloated hack hagar. Roth is a legend, one of the greatest frontmen of all time in rock history. Without him Eddie may have very well ended up like Y Malmsteen. Talented as all hell, but largely overlooked by mainstream music lovers. VH are in the R&RHOFame because of the Roth led material, not drivel like Why Can't This Be Love & Dreams. I actually heard Love Walks In at WALGREENS a couple of weeks ago. WALGREENS! If that isn't proof of the general douche baggery of the hagar era then I don't know what is. It doesn't even matter what VH do now, good or bad. Their legacy is intact, and it's with DLR. hagar should appear on the tv show Man vs. Food, he'd definitely win.
    honestly, i really think eddie IS the yoko ono of the group. He drove sammy and dave out the first time.
    ...actress Bertinelli was like Van Halen's very own Yoko Ono when she turned up on the scene in 1980,
    The marriage soon turned sour...
    Despite this, the pair remained together until substance abuse and infidelity allegedly tore their marriage apart in 2005
    20 years ain't long at all is it? Seriously though Van Halen, play some European festivals, preferably in England!
    geor4ge wrote: Man when will we het good van news?get antohny back in and let the fat wolf go to the side. Do europe with a 30th an tour of1984 only yeo years away
    I understood nothing about this post
    hah! this is great. I always knew they had THE chemistry that every band looks for. The Sammy stuff was good, but imagine what could've been!
    I agree that Van Halen isn't Van Halen without Dave, but people don't listen to them for Dave, They listen to Van Halen for Eddie. Once again, people don't listen to DLR for Dave, They listen to it for Vai and Billy Sheehan. Hell, the two songs that made that band where written by Vai and Billy.
    I don't believe Valerie was the main problem. All i Know is that Eddie burns bridges with with every in the band without the name Van Halen.
    is she a multitalented artist and loving husband of one of the most influencial and talented songwriters and musicians of out time? if no, then shes not yoko ono
    Hmmm...anyone stop and think that the "wives" might be right??? Roth wanted to do Vegas style show tunes/covers at the time and the Beatles were beginning to sell out to the mass corporate agenda. A GOOD wife will always make you stop think about what it is you are doing. They have an objective scope from the outside looking in. Just sayin'...
    Just don't buy that, Dave & Ed were dealing with each other's ego. I don't blame her. If Valerie was involved then it was Ed's choice to let it happen. I think they would have split either way. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievments of the future!
    I have always felt whenever I heard Van Hagar, because it was just never the same without Diamond Dave. His personality, natural charisma, vocal talent, and overall sound made Van Halen great, and that was a void that Hagar could never fill. And now that I know it was Eddie's Ex-wife that's the reason for David Lee Roth leaving, I am so livid that we missed out on 26 years of great =VH= music because of some stupid chick.
    Ed's the Yoko? Ed's the heir apparent to Jimi Hendrix you Hagar bums. come on!
    Man when will we het good van news?get antohny back in and let the fat wolf go to the side. Do europe with a 30th an tour of1984 only yeo years away
    "David was an integral part of the band's success," he said. "He was brilliant." tell that to the 6 million copies of 5150 they sold with sammy. dave has nothing to do with dick.
    After the incredibly disappointing show they put on in St. Louis, I lost a lot of respect for Dave. Wish they'd give him the boot and tour with Sammy and Mike, but there's no way that's ever gonna happen.
    Eddie's ego was to blame for Dave leaving. He wanted to be one who everyone looked at. If he got his haed out of arse for two seconds he'd have realized the only Van Halen songs anyone liked had the keyboard riffs in them and he'd have got rid of the keyboardist. Overrated beyond belief. Anyway it was all over 25 years ago so why would we give a toss?
    geor4ge wrote: When will we get Van Halen news that specificaly satisfies me? Please reunite with the original bass player as I do not like his perfectly adaquate replacement who is also the next in line in a lineage of excellent musicians. Van Halen should tour Europe as part of the 30th anniversary of their album "1984" which shall occur in 2 years time.
    Fixed just for for you Skepsis Metal.
    Totally off topic but I insulted Yoko Ono on the Gibson forum and some hardcore Beatles fans went nuts on me. All I basically said was she sucked and ruined the Beatles so you know basically the truth, practically got ran outta town by people with pitchforks.
    This maybe true, but Eddie always was going for a different sound, as was Dave... I think it was bound to happen anyways when you get huge egos together. If anything, Michael Anthony needs to have been treated better. Just reading the backstory on all of that I really think EVH sucks ass for that. He also looks like a pirate suffering from scurvy, so maybe he has already paid the price LMAO.
    One of the hottest women on the planet? She's in slim fast ads! come on man!!!
    call me crazy, but i'll go ahead and blame the raging alcoholic and coke addict rather than his probably long-suffering ex-wife. having been in that hell of addiction, you're not exactly in a sane state of mind. for me, all evidence points to eddie being incredibly difficult. oh well.