Chef Divorces That Shook The Culinary World

giada de laurentiis and todd thompson smiling
giada de laurentiis and todd thompson smiling - Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

It's a sad but true fact that nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce -- and that's just for first-timers. Second and third marriages have even higher divorce rates. Of course, in today's overexposed media landscape, not all divorces are covered equally. Some remain relatively quiet, while others make the front page of Us Weekly. If you are a celebrated chef and well-known public figure, your divorce will probably fall into the latter category, whether you like it or not. That is precisely what has happened to some of the most successful chefs in the world.

Several notable chefs have gone through divorces that shook the culinary industry, whether due to shock, scandal, or sheer sadness. From a celebrity chef splitting from his wife and business partner to a Food Network couple calling it quits and a popular television host's scandalous marital collapse, here are a few chef divorces that shook the culinary world.

Read more: The Biggest Scandals To Ever Hit The Food Network

Pat And Gina Neely's Divorce

pat and gina neely smiling
pat and gina neely smiling - Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

Pat and Gina Neely became Food Network stars following the debut of their show, "Down Home with the Neelys," in 2008. Over the course of six years and 11 seasons, the high school sweethearts welcomed viewers into their kitchen as they whipped up their famous Memphis barbecue and other delicious meals. Viewers loved watching the couple interact. The Los Angeles Times referred to Pat and Gina as "Food Network's golden couple ... who practically beamed at each other while they diced onions and complimented the other's every move."

That's what made what happened next so surprising. In 2014, the couple announced that they were filing for divorce. "This was a tough decision, but we believe it is the best decision for us," the Neelys said in a statement. "As parents of two beautiful adult daughters that we love dearly, we will continue to be involved in each other's lives as parents and friends" (Action News 5).

It turns out that despite appearances, the marriage started falling apart before the show came on air. "I never wanted to be a TV chef," Gina told People. "I was going to divorce Pat prior to the show. And then all of a sudden the train jumped on the track and I had to hold on for my life ... He became my business partner, whereas I needed a husband."

Bobby Flay's Divorce From His Wife Stephanie March

bobby flay and stephanie march smiling
bobby flay and stephanie march smiling - Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images

Bobby Flay has been married and divorced three times, but it was the demise of his most recent marriage that got people talking. In 2005, the famed television chef married actress Stephanie March, best known for her recurring role on "Law & Order: SVU." After 10 years of marriage, the couple divorced in 2015. The breakup stemmed in large part from Flay's alleged infidelity (from Page Six). March accused Flay of having an affair with a hostess at his Bar Americain restaurant.

The straw that broke the camel's back was when Flay missed the couple's anniversary to fly to Miami's South Beach Wine & Food Festival. He attended the event with several of his team members, including the aforementioned hostess. Because of the affair, March challenged the couple's prenuptial agreement, which would have forced ­Flay to pay her $5,000 a month. According to TMZ, she simultaneously accused Flay of canceling her credit cards, which were used to buy household necessities, and threatening to kick her out of their home, which is where March was caring for her cancer-stricken mother at the time.

Fortunately for all parties involved, the bad blood didn't last too long. In July of 2015, just a few months after filing for divorce, the two reached an agreement. "We have come to an amicable divorce settlement," Flay and March told People Magazine in a joint statement. "We look forward to putting this difficult time behind us."

Giada De Laurentiis' Divorce From Her Husband Todd Thompson

giada de laurentiis and todd thompson smiling
giada de laurentiis and todd thompson smiling - Michael Kovac/Getty Images

When Giada De Laurentiis married fashion designer Todd Thompson in 2003, she had yet to appear on television. That would all change, of course. In the years that followed, De Laurentiis quickly grew to become one of the most well-known celebrity chefs in the country, thanks in large part to her countless television shows and appearances. But, all that change took a toll on her personal life, including her marriage.

De Laurentiis announced she was getting divorced in December of 2014, putting an end to her 11-year marriage. "After an amicable separation since July, Todd and I have decided to end our marriage," she wrote in a Facebook post. "Although our decision to separate comes with a great deal of sadness, our focus on the future and overwhelming desire for our family's happiness has given us the strength to move forward on separate, yet always connected paths."

Theories behind De Laurentiis' divorce abound, from her aforementioned skyrocketing fame to a hectic work schedule that kept her away from home to rumors of infidelity. It's quite possible, however, that the pair, who started dating when De Laurentiis was still in college, simply grew apart as they got older. Either way, the chef wasn't down for long. She started dating her current boyfriend, television producer Shane Farley, in 2015.

Nigella Lawson's Divorce From Her Husband Charles Saatchi

nigella lawson and charles saatchi posing for photo
nigella lawson and charles saatchi posing for photo - Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

In June of 2013, British chef, author, and television personality Nigella Lawson was eating at a restaurant with her husband, advertising tycoon Charles Saatchi, when cameras caught Saatchi grabbing Lawson's throat. The photos were published in an English newspaper and overnight the couple found themselves in the middle of a scandal.

The incident and media storm that followed put a wedge between Lawson and Saatchi. It likely did not help that Saatchi not only tried to downplay his actions but also seemed to blame Lawson for the unwanted public attention. "I feel that I have clearly been a disappointment to Nigella during the last year or so," he told the Daily Mail. "I am disappointed that she was advised to make no public comment to explain that I abhor violence of any kind against women, and have never abused her physically in any way."

The couple was granted a divorce the following month, putting an end to a 10-year marriage. In announcing the separation, Saatchi added, "This is heartbreaking for both of us as our love was very deep, but in the last year we have become estranged and drifted apart."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Wolfgang Puck's Divorce From His Wife Barbara Lazaroff

wolfgang puck and barbara lazaroff posing for photo
wolfgang puck and barbara lazaroff posing for photo - Frank Trapper/Getty Images

By the early 2000s, Wolfgang Puck had established himself as one of America's premier chefs and restaurateurs. With cookbooks, lines of frozen food and cookware, and, of course, several successful restaurants, it's safe to say Puck had built a culinary empire. But, he didn't build it alone. Just as crucial to Puck's success was his then-wife, Barbara Lazaroff.

When Puck opened his flagship restaurant, Spago, in 1982, Lazaroff designed the interior. The pair married the following year and Lazaroff would go on to decorate many of her husband's restaurants. Her biggest contribution was elevating Puck's stature in the culinary world. It was Lazaroff, with her ambition, assertiveness, and bold personality, who persuaded the James Beard Award–winning chef to become a presence outside the kitchen, helping turn him into a celebrity chef.

When the power couple announced they were divorcing in 2002, many wondered what it meant for the multimillion-dollar Wolfgang Puck brand. Fortunately, the two kept their business and personal lives separate. "The divorce shouldn't affect at all," a close friend of the couple told the Los Angeles Times at the time. "They will still be business partners. They won't make the business suffer." Indeed, the business doesn't seem to have suffered at all. Lazaroff is still listed as a co-founder/partner on the website of Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, a company that operates 20 fine-dining restaurants and countless quick-serve eateries in the United States and around the world.

Valerie Bertinelli's Divorce From Her Husband Tom Vitale

tom vitale and valerie bertinelli smiling
tom vitale and valerie bertinelli smiling - Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Valerie Bertinelli's most famous marriage -- and divorce –- was to rock star Eddie Van Halen. But that relationship came before Bertinelli had become a regular fixture on the Food Network. Her first divorce didn't stop her from tying the knot again, however. The actress-turned-television chef married financial adviser Tom Vitale in 2011.

All was going well in the years that followed. In 2015, Bertinelli debuted her Food Network show "Valerie's Home Cooking." Vitale would often appear on the program as a guest. Yet, off camera things were slowly deteriorating. Ultimately, this marriage did not work out for Bertinelli. The couple separated in 2021 and filed for divorce the following year. In November of 2022, the split was finalized. To celebrate, Bertinelli posted a video to X, formerly known as Twitter, sharing the news that she was officially divorced from Vitale. She captioned the video "11.22.22 second best day of my life."

While Bertinelli was happy to get married a second time, don't expect her to make a third trip down the aisle a third. She told People Magazine that she can't imagine being able to trust someone enough to tie the knot. "I am gonna be more than happy to be happily divorced and spend the rest of my life alone," Bertinelli told the outlet. "I'll be happy that way. Well, with my six cats and my dog and my son, and hopefully one day grandchildren."

Anthony Bourdain's Impending Divorce From His Wife, Ottavia Busia-Bourdain

anthony boottavia busia-bourdain and anthony bourdain walking red carpet
anthony boottavia busia-bourdain and anthony bourdain walking red carpet - Larry Busacca/Getty Images

The legendary Anthony Bourdain was still legally married when he died by suicide in 2018, but reports indicated that he and his wife Ottavia Busia had begun divorce proceedings. The couple had been married since 2007. News of the impending divorce wasn't too shocking considering the pair had been separated since 2016 and Bourdain was dating Italian actress Asia Argento at the time of his death.

What was pleasantly surprising about the split was just how cordial it was. By all accounts, Bourdain and Busia, who had a child together, still loved each other but were pulled apart by career ambitions. "Because of professional decisions we both have made, my husband and I have been for years in an unconventional relationship," Busia told Page Six. "Nothing has changed. We love each other. We respect the decisions the other has made. And we'll always consider ourselves a family." She also added that Bourdain was only home during the holidays due to his busy "Parts Unknown," filming schedule. Bourdain confirmed the couple's status, telling People Magazine, "My wife and I live, have lived, very separate lives for years. There's no drama here. We get along really, really well and it's not a big lifestyle change happening here."

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Cat Cora's Divorce From Her Wife Jennifer

cat and jennifer cora posing
cat and jennifer cora posing - Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Cat Cora is best known for being the first female Iron Chef. At one point in time, it wasn't her culinary skills in the spotlight –- it was her ugly divorce. In 2015, the Food Network regular filed for divorce from her wife, Jennifer. The pair were married just two years earlier but had been in a relationship for nearly two decades. "It is with great sadness, that after 17 years, a tremendous amount [of] work, careful consideration and heavy hearts, my wife and I have mutually decided to no longer remain married," Cora told People Magazine.

What sounded like an amicable split soon turned sour, however. First came Jennifer filing for divorce behind Cora's back after agreeing the chef would file first. Then came Cora's accusations that Jennifer was badmouthing her to their friends and kids. According to TMZ, Cora requested the court force Jennifer to undergo vocational analysis to help her get a job.

The divorce was finalized in 2016 but that was hardly the end of the story. In 2020, Cora filed a domestic violence restraining order against her ex-wife after Jennifer had repeatedly followed and harassed the chef and her family (via Page Six).

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Alton Brown's Divorce From His Wife DeAnna

deanna brown and alton brown smiling
deanna brown and alton brown smiling - Rick Diamond/Getty Images

As Alton Brown rose to fame during the early 2000s, he did so alongside his wife DeAnna, whom he married in 1994. But, the successes that launched his professional life may have also impacted his personal one. When Brown got divorced in 2015, his hectic work schedule was cited as a contributing factor. "We really went separate ways in our lives," Brown told People Magazine. "We changed, the world changed, and she went one way and I went the other way. I think we're probably both a heck of a lot better off where we are."

Religion also played a role in the split. The couple were devoted Southern Baptists, but over time, Brown had trouble reconciling his personal views with those of the church. "There's too much contradiction for my social beliefs. My social beliefs are far more liberal than what falls under most of the structures of organized religion, and I find that difficult to work with."

To make the situation worse, Brown picked up a few unhealthy habits following his divorce. He admitted to the New York Times that he was drinking too much and overindulging in candy to the point that he gained 20 pounds. But, he didn't stay down long. He ditched his vices and, soon after, found a new love. The year after his divorce, Brown met interior designer Elizabeth Ingram at one of his book signings. Two years later, they were married.

Paul Hollywood's Divorce From His Wife Alex

paul and alex hollywood posing
paul and alex hollywood posing - Zak Hussein/Getty Images

By all accounts, "The Great British Bake Off" judge Paul Hollywood and his wife Alex were in marital bliss during the first decade or so of their marriage. That all came crashing down in 2013 thanks to a headline-grabbing scandal. When the Englishman traveled to the United States to film "The American Baking Competition," he had an affair with his fellow judge, chef Marcela Valladolid. "It's my fault. I am very sad about what has happened. I do feel very sad about it and what it brought on the family," Hollywood told the Mirror at the time. "I did have an affair in America with my co-judge and it was the biggest mistake of my life because actually I still love my wife."

Hollywood's infidelity did not lead to a divorce, at least not initially. Wanting what's best for their son, the couple reconciled and stayed together for a few more years. But, the cracks in the foundation only widened. The couple separated in 2017 and were officially divorced two years later. "The trust was totally gone. She just didn't want to make it work anymore," a source told The Sun. "She feels fame has changed him. He's not the same man she fell for all those years ago." The insider went on to say that Alex believed her husband's skyrocketing fame had gone to his head.

Tom Brown's Divorce From His Wife Julieanne

tom brown posing for photo
tom brown posing for photo - Instagram

Tom Brown may not be a household name on this side of the Atlantic, but he's made quite the name for himself in his home country as one of the top British chefs working today. After climbing his way up the culinary ladder, Brown shot to fame in 2017 after reaching the finals of the BBC cooking competition show "Great British Menu." The following year he opened his own restaurant, Cornerstone. Three years later, it earned a Michelin star. Brown has also appeared on several other popular television shows, including "This Morning," "Saturday Kitchen," and "Top Chef."

But with fame comes attention, including in your personal life. So when Brown began a relationship with Julieanne Soto in the summer of 2020, the press took notice. It proved to be a whirlwind romance. The couple got engaged just two months after first meeting and tied the knot four months after that in December. Julieanne posted a picture of her engagement ring on social media with the caption, "I met a guy in July, decided to find a house together in August then proposed to him in bed eating pizza in September and we are finally getting hitched in three days' time" (via the Daily Mail).

Unfortunately, the six-month courtship proved to be the same duration as their marriage. The couple called it quits the following summer.

Read the original article on Mashed.