Sitcom legend Valerie Bertinelli cut a somber figure in an all-black when she emerged in Los Angeles this Thursday.
Days earlier she paid tribute to her old co-star Matthew Perry, who was found dead in his hot tub at home on Saturday at the age of 54.
In 1990, a few years before he shot to stratospheric fame on Friends, Matthew played Valerie’s brother on a short-lived sitcom called Sydney.
He later wrote in his memoirs that he became so infatuated with Valerie that he kissed her while her husband Eddie Van Halen was passed out drunk nearby.
Although she was openly ‘mortified’ by the claims when they surfaced, she posted a warm homage to Matthew after he died, writing: ‘Rest in peace, sweet man.’
Casual: Sitcom legend Valerie Bertinelli cut a somber figure in an all-black when she emerged in Los Angeles this Thursday
Throughout his life, Matthew was open about his struggles with drugs and alcohol, but initial toxicology reports revealed he had no meth or fentanyl in his system when he died, and the authorities did not unearth illegal drugs at his house.
He did have prescription drugs at home, including anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication, according to a law enforcement mole who spoke to TMZ.
Matthew related the bombshell kiss story in his autobiography Friends, Lovers, And The Big Terrible Thing, published a year before he died.
In its pages, he candidly confessed that he ‘fell madly in love with Valerie Bertinelli, who was clearly in a troubled marriage.’
He reflected that ‘not only was she way out of my league, but she was also married to one of the most famous rock stars on the planet, Eddie Van Halen.’
Matthew insisted that his ‘feelings for Valerie were real. I was completely captivated — I mean, I was obsessed with her and harbored elaborate fantasies about her leaving Eddie Van Halen and living out the rest of her days with me.’
The lip-lock came after Valerie and Eddie invited Matthew to their house, where the plucky young actor spent the evening ‘gazing at Valerie, trying to make her laugh.’
Besotted with his co-star, who became a big name in the 1970s on the sitcom One Day At A Time, Matthew recalled: ‘When you made her laugh, you felt ten feet tall.’
Throwback: In 1990, a few years before Friends, Matthew played Valerie’s brother on the sitcom Sydney; they are pictured with co-star Craig Bierko in a publicity still for the show
Flashback: He wrote that he became so infatuated with Valerie that he kissed her while her husband Eddie Van Halen was passed out drunk nearby; Matthew and Valerie pictured 1990
Throwback: In its pages, he candidly confessed that he ‘fell madly in love with Valerie Bertinelli, who was clearly in a troubled marriage’
Meanwhile Eddie ‘had enjoyed the fruits of the vine a little too hard, one more time, and eventually he just passed out, not ten feet away from us.’
Matthew exclaimed: ‘This was my chance! If you think I didn’t actually have a chance in hell you’d be wrong, dear reader – Valerie and I had a long, elaborate make-out session. It was happening – maybe she felt the same way I did.’
Intimating that his feelings might have been requited, he added: ‘I told her I had thought about doing that for a long time, and she had said it right back to me.’
However, at work the next day, Valerie ‘made no mention of what had happened and was behaving – as she should have been – like this was just a normal day. I quickly got the hint and also played the role I was supposed to, but inside I was devastated.’
The way they were: Valerie has herself been frank about her turbulent marriage to Eddie, which finally went up in flames in 2007; pictured 1987
Matthew spent sleepless nights in floods of tears, to the point that Sydney’s cancellation was a relief because it meant he ‘didn’t have to see Valerie anymore.’
After the story went public with the release of Matthew’s book, Valerie responded on TikTok: ‘Anyone else misbehave in their 20’s and early 30’s? Are you mortified?’
Valerie has herself been frank about her turbulent marriage to Eddie, which finally went up in flames in 2007 as his addictions took their toll on the relationship.
She confessed on Literally! With Rob Lowe that while she was with Eddie, she herself indulged in drugs ‘for a few years until I just couldn’t take it anymore.’
Eddie got sober in 2008, the year after his divorce from Valerie was finalized, but he died in late 2020 at the age of 65 after a battle with throat cancer.