Eddie Van Halen, who The Los Angeles Times aptly memorialized as "the all-American guitar hero," died on Tuesday, October 6th, 2020, after a long battle with cancer. TMZ reported that when the rock and roll legend passed away, Janie, his wife of 11 years, was by his side.
Van Halen, whose father had been an alcoholic, started smoking at just 12 years of age. His first marriage, to actress Valerie Bertinelli, unraveled in 2001, breaking partly under the weight of Van Halen's drug and alcohol addiction. After their divorce, Bertinelli remembered their marriage in a memoir, recalling that the priest they'd selected for their wedding had asked them to fill out some paperwork so he could better prepare their ceremony. She explained,
"As we filled out the forms at home, we each held a little vial of coke. It doesn't really bode well for the marriage, I don't think."
Van Halen's second marriage started off on radically different footing. Around the time that he proposed to Janie in Hawaii, in 2008, Van Halen had given up drugs and alcohol for good. A source told People magazine at the time,
"[Eddie and Janie] are devoted to each other and to experiencing life in a whole new, positive and passionate way."
Throughout their eleven-year marriage, Janie has kept notoriously closed-mouthed about her private life. She once admonished fans in an Instagram post, writing,
"Breaking News, [Eddie Van Halen] is my husband & our relationship and life together is PRIVATE."
But on October 7th, just one day after Eddie's passing, she put all her most personal feelings on the table. Along with a heartbreaking shot of the couple's feet on the beach, Janie wrote to Eddie,
"My heart and soul have been shattered into a million pieces. I never knew it was possible to cry so many tears or feel such incredible sadness. Our journey together has not always been an easy one but in the end, and always, we have a connection and love that will always be. […] We love you and miss you so very much."
With one quick look at Janie's resume, it's easy to see why Eddie first fell for the multi-talented beauty. Early in the couple's relationship, Janie shifted career tracks, and in 2007, she stopped working in PR for the adult film industry, and began exclusively representing her future husband's band, Van Halen. Janie reportedly said at the time,
"Obviously this is a dream come true in many capacities."
But Janie was not destined to stay in the world of publicity. According to her Instagram alter-ego, whom she calls Dancing Queen Lita Lamae, Janie recently launched a career as a pro wrestling manager. She works for her ballroom dancing partner — and, yes, she's a competitive ballroom dancer, too — who goes by the Instagram handle "King of the Floor" Louie 54.
Before exploring the world of PR, pro-wrestling, and ballroom dancing, Janie also worked as a stuntwoman, appearing in high-profile box office hits like The Wedding Planner, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Along Came Polly, and Spider-Man 2. Clearly not someone to be confined to one profession, she also tried her hand at acting. You can catch her in guest spots in CSI Miami, Profiler, and From Dusk Till Dawn.
A self-described "tomboy," Janie's background in stunts prepared her for her current work as a ballroom dancer. One of her signature moves is even taken directly from pro-wrestling. But Janie's favorite dance shows off her softer side. In September, she told the JV Sports Show,
"I like waltz, there's something really zen-like to me, I never envisioned […] that I would be in a big ball gown kind of floating across the floor."
When the outlet asked if she would ever consider competing on a show like Dancing With The Stars, Janie said,
"I don't know if I could handle that kind of demand, I like to learn at my own pace."
It appears that Janie is a woman who knows what she wants and will succeed in whatever life brings her. Our deepest sympathies are with her and her family as they mourn Eddie's passing. These two were clearly one in a million.
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