Robin Williams’ first wife opens her heart about his infidelity for the first time in moving interview
Robin Williams’ first wife Valerie Velardi has spoken for the first time about how she had to tolerate his infidelity during their 10-year marrage.
In a new TV documentary about Williams, who ԁıеԁ in 2014, she said when he became famous he found the temptation to stray too hard to resist.
Valerie said: “He loved women. Absolutely loved women. And I got it.
“I understood and I wanted him to have that. But I also wanted him to come home.”
Williams was a broke, would-be actor when he met Valerie in San Francisco in 1976.
In Robin Williams: Come Inside my Mind, she revealed: “He was bartending. He had a French accent, offered me a drink, chatted me up and was absolutely delightful.
“He asked me for a ride home. He was speaking French and I was teasing him and we had a kiss.
“And I just knew I was going to see him again.”
Williams’ comedy busking act caught the attention of the creator of hit TV show Happy Days, who, it is revealed in the documentary, cast him as an alien in an episode in February 1978 because his Star Wars fan son wanted one in the show.
Williams was such a hit that by the September he was starring with Pam Dawber in Mork & Mindy, a spin-off created around him.
The role rocketed him to fame and he was soon hanging out with Robert De Niro, Andy Warhol, Richard Pryor and John Belushi in Los Angeles.
In 1983, Valerie gave birth to their son Zak, who features in the documentary, telling how devastated he was by his father’s ѕսıᴄıԁе.
He reveals he tried to get over the shock by jumping into the sea in San Francisco Bay, where his father’s ashes were scattered.
It was the idea of Bobcat Goldthwait, Robin’s best friend.
Zak, 35, said: “In the weeks following my father’s passing it was really difficult to feel anything. Everything was raw and it was hard to put everything together.
“Bobcat came and visited. We felt it would be a good idea to jump in the ocean. And it turned out to be a really nice thing to do.
“It was good to jump in and know that my father’s presence and spirit was around.”
Williams had been misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a few months before he ԁıеԁ at the age of 63.
His rapid-thinking mind had been ambushed by what an autopsy would identify as a severe case of Lewy body dementia.
Memory loss, extreme anxiety and difficulty reasoning would have been hard to accept for a man whose lightning wit had earned him worldwide fame.
Zak said: “Dad’s pathos was to entertain and please. He felt when he wasn’t going that, he was not succeeding as a person.
“And that was always hard to see. Because in so many senses he was the most successful person I know. And he didn’t always feel that.”
His parents split up when Williams began a relationship with his son’s nanny, Marsha Garces.
The documentary tells how Williams was brought up in a well-off household in Lake Forest, Ilinois.
His father was an area manager for Ford Motor Cars, but he had a solitary childhood.
He said: “I was kinda lonely. There were no friends around.
“I was an only child, raised by a maid for a long time.”
But in fact he was not an only child at all. His family hid a secret that his father Robert had a son, Todd, now 80, from a first marriage, who was being brought up with his ex-wife.
And his mother Laura also had a son, McLaurin, being raised by his maternal grandparents as their own.
McLaurin, now 71, did not meet Robin until he was eight years old. He said: “Growing up by yourself, you could either go nuts or have a very comedic attitude towards it.
“When you’re at school and you don’t have many friends, that’s a way of circumventing. But there’s a flip side to that – a depressive side of that kind of personality too. There’s a strong element of that in our family.”