10 of the Wildest Stories From Eddie Van Halen’s Life

Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen died on October 6th at 65, after a long struggle with throat cancer. His hard partying, rock star lifestyle was fueled by sex, drugs, and booze.  

Here are ten things you didn’t know about one of rock’s most iconic guitarists.  

Hotel Destruction

Van Halen the group apologized to the manager of a Madison, Wisconsin hotel in the liner notes of their second album, after destroying Eddie’s hotel room by throwing a table and chairs out of the third story window and getting into a fire extinguisher battle.  

Substance Abuse

Van Halen was notorious for copious alcohol and drug use while on tour. According to a book by their former manager, the band’s motto was, “Drink a bottle of booze, pop a couple ‘ludes, smoke a joint or two (or ten) and see where the night takes you.”

Globe Trotting Drug Dealer

Eddie had a drug dealer that would supply him with cocaine anywhere in the world.  


Paternity Suit

Three months into Eddie’s relationship with actress Valerie Bertinelli, he was slapped with a paternity suit from another woman. Van Halen claimed to have only received oral sex from the woman, and was proven correct when the paternity test revealed he wasn’t a genetic match to the child.   


Van Halen was so drunk at his wedding to Bertinelli, that she had to hold his hair back in her white gown while he puked into a toilet before their reception. They remained married until 2007.  

Sex Worker

Van Halen was so notorious for sleeping with groupies on tour, that a South American hotel manager accused Bertinelli of being a sex worker and wouldn’t let her upstairs into his room until he proved that she was his wife.  

View this post on Instagram

? Just over here, getting my post-COVID summer looks together! ???#throwback

A post shared by Valerie Bertinelli (@wolfiesmom) on


Eddie popularized the guitar method of tapping, which uses both hands on the guitar neck. He was influenced by the guitarist from Led Zeppelin. “I think I got the idea of tapping watching Jimmy Page do his “Heartbreaker” solo back in 1971.”



Van Halen could do more with a guitar than play it, he created devices to enhance the instrument. He holds patents for a support that allows the guitar to be held perpendicularly, the “Guitar Peghead,” and an adjustable string tension control.  


Tongue Cancer

Eddie lost a third of his tongue to treat a cancer diagnosis in 2000. He blamed the cancer on his guitar picks. “I used metal picks – they’re brass and copper – which I always held in my mouth, in the exact place where I got the tongue cancer.”

Fred Durst

Eddie had a jam session with Limp Bizkit in 2001, but he abruptly left his equipment at the Los Angeles house the band was staying at. After not getting a response when he asked front man Fred Durst to return his stuff, Van Halen drove an assault vehicle onto the lawn and held a gun to Durst’s head until the equipment was loaded into his truck. 


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments