Erika Jayne met Tom Girardi at Chasen's in West Hollywood, where Erika worked as a waitress.
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Jayne Girardi, 49, recently made a shocking announcement about her 21-year-long marriage to powerhouse attorney Tom Girardi, 81. The couple has been married since 1999. It was Erika's second and Tom's first marriage, but the couple is now parting ways.
"After much consideration, I have decided to end my marriage to Tom Girardi," the reality star told E! News. "This is not a step taken lightly or easily. I have great love and respect for Tom and for our years and the lives we built together. It is my absolute wish to proceed through this process with respect and with the privacy that both Tom and I deserved," she added. "I request others give us that privacy as well," said the mother-of-one.
They met at Chasen's in West Hollywood, where Erika worked as a waitress. Tom used to frequent the place, and she worked up the courage to approach him after a year of working there. "One night I decided to slip Tom my telephone number," Erika wrote in her 2018 memoir, Pretty Mess. "We were standing in front of the giant fireplace. ‘Did you hear I was single?' I asked." They got engaged six months later.
They married after Tom won the landmark case that inspired the film Erin Brokovich. "It really was two people coming together who really enjoy each other’s company," Jayne told People in 2018.
While they have a 33-year age-gap, Erika has always maintained that their relationship is real. "I've dealt with this forever: the younger woman that married the wealthier, older man," she said on the Bravo show, according to E!News. "I mean, I'm tired of having to justify my 20-year marriage. Go get a 20-year marriage, then come f--king talk to me."
What brought them together was their difficult pasts, said the reality TV star. "Tom did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth," she said, adding, "We both came up the hard way. And we appreciate growth."
However, when she married him, she knew that he is going to stay the way he is. "What was really important to me was my relationship. Tom wasn’t going to change. He was a grown man," she added. He was so set in his ways that he even refused to wear a wedding ring.
"Tom said, 'Listen, I'll buy you anything you want. I don't care what it is. You name it. But I'm not wearing a wedding band. I never have, I never will. I don't like it. It's uncomfortable. Please don't ask me to,'" she wrote in her book, as per E! News. "A wedding band does not have magical powers. It is not going to stop anyone from doing something."
In the 18th year of their marriage, she said that she still went to him for advice. "Tom is so bright. He understands the trick to life. I love getting his advice," said the 49-year-old in 2018. She previously said that they have no prenup and even if there was one, the hotshot lawyer wouldn't accept it. "Let me tell you something, let me be very clear. I'm married to a very powerful lawyer," she admitted to Andy Cohen in 2017. "A prenup wouldn't stand in his way anyway...It's gonna be all Tom's way, I assure you. He'll rip that piece of paper to shreds in two seconds!"
Erika, who was previously married to Thomas Zizzo, became a mom at a young age and regrets giving a hard time to her only child, 26-year-old Tommy Zizzo. "I feel like my marriage came apart because of me, not because of anyone else," Erika said. "I can take responsibility. I knew I was a good mom. I thought I was adult enough to be a wife and a mother, but really I wasn't. Tommy bore the brunt of that. It was this constant pressure and it was hard for both of us to take," she added.