Before her TV success, Giada De Laurentiis, the celebrity chef who started her career on the Food Network channel with Everyday Italian in the early 2000s, met her husband, fashion designer Todd Thompson. They met when she was 19, according to E! News, and they got married in 2003, right before her on-screen career took off — so the two were together from her broke college days to her time with Food Network. Thompson would even appear on De Laurentiis’ show to test out what she was making in the kitchen.
Unfortunately, the pair, who had daughter Jade in 2008, divorced in 2014, after over a decade together. There are a few different theories about what caused the separation between De Laurentiis and Thompson. Growing apart, experiencing career issues, or even navigating rumors of affairs were among some of the speculated issues the pair experienced during their romance. If you’re curious, read on to find out the truth about De Laurentiis’ divorce.
Giada De Laurentiis announced their divorce on Facebook
After a long marriage filled with spontaneous plans like “helicopter snowboarding,” the growth of their daughter Jade, and the chef’s shifting and blossoming career, Giada De Laurentiis and Todd Thompson’s announced their divorce on her Facebook on Dec. 29, 2014. In the personal statement, she wrote in part, “After an amicable separation since July, Todd and I have decided to end our marriage. … Todd and I share a beautiful daughter and a lifetime of great memories that we both treasure more than anything. We are so thankful for our friends and family, and really appreciate the support in this time of change.” The post garnered around 13,000 comments, with messages of both support and disappointment from fans.
While Thompson has mostly remained quiet on the matter, De Laurentiis has talked about their split in interviews, and it even prompted the title of her book Happy Cooking. “I got divorced and my life turned upside down,” she wrote in the book (via Food & Wine). Fortunately, cooking helped. “There’s a therapeutic sense of calmness that I find when I cook,” she noted, explaining that’s why she gave her book its title.
There was no prenuptial agreement
Giada De Laurentiis’ divorce was expensive, and her empire may have benefited Todd Thompson during their split. While it may have been smart to talk about a prenuptial agreement, since De Laurentiis and Thompson met in college when she was not yet a celebrity chef, maybe it didn’t cross their minds.
After the divorce was finalized, the pair worked at splitting up their assets, and TMZ got a copy of their settlement. De Laurentiis kept the rights to her production company Linguine Productions and her company GDL Foods, Inc. She took a hit though, owing Thompson 50 percent of all unpaid advances for the cookbooks she was working on. Thompson also got to keep their $3.2 million mansion and “$300,000 in art and furnishings,” according to TMZ. On top of that, while the exes have joint custody of their daughter, Jade, De Laurentiis has to pay child support to the tune of $9,000 a month.
Giada De Laurentiis met up with Bobby Flay before announcing her divorce
Shortly before Giada De Laurentiis and Todd Thompson announced their divorce, the press reported seeing her out to dinner with fellow chef Bobby Flay. The two dined and enjoyed some drinks together at Cecconi’s at SoHo Beach House Miami. Page Six speculated about the dinner, even though De Laurentiis and Thompson were still married at the time and Flay was married to Stephanie March, whom he has since divorced (via Us Weekly).
Page Six noted the pair seemed at ease during dinner, with De Laurentiis talking to other friends as well. De Laurentiis had a few drinks and reportedly even stumbled out of the restaurant as she left.
So, what was the real reason for the dinner? Flay’s reps said the night was only “two colleagues and old friends [having] a quick dinner.” De Laurentiis’ reps didn’t make a statement. What is known is that Flay and De Laurentiis have been long-time friends since appearing on the Food Network together, and no relationship has ever been confirmed.
Giada De Laurentiis was previously rumored to be romantically linked to Bobby Flay
Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay’s 2014 dinner wasn’t the first time rumors had swirled about the chefs’ friendship. As colleagues, De Laurentiis and Flay have worked together constantly, such as when they battled against Rachael Ray and Mario Batali on Iron Chef America. In a statement reported by E! News, De Laurentiis once said, “My long-time friendships with my co-workers … are exactly that — long-time friendships.”
Affair rumors could take a toll on any marriage, and even after Giada De Laurentiis’ divorce, the rumors didn’t slow down. In fact, the opposite has happened. She and Flay have been at the center of even more romance speculation when their show started streaming on discovery+. Bobby and Giada in Italy follows the celebrity chefs through De Laurentiis’ home country. While it may sound romantic, it’s strictly business, and De Laurentiis would likely never cross that line. She told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, “We’ve worked for many years together, but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen because I’m smarter than that,” suggesting that complications could arise from dating a colleague.
Was Giada De Laurentiis expected to balance a traditional housewife role with her career?
In a few of the interviews Giada De Laurentiis has done, she talked about the details of her long marriage. During those years, it appeared that De Laurentiis balanced the role of a traditional housewife with her career, which can sometimes be tricky. “My identity was intertwined with his,” she explained to Al Roker on his “Cold Cuts” segment on the Today show, “and I defined myself by certain things, and being married or a wife was one of those things.”
For De Laurentiis, who was with Todd Thompson from a young age, she wanted to stay true to the woman he met. To Redbook, she elaborated on this feeling. “I have no problem going back to those traditional roles. I try to be Giada, the young girl that he met 20 years ago and fell in love with,” she said. “All men want to be treated like kings in a relationship, and I think if women don’t indulge that sometimes, their men are likely to stray…” she admitted.
Did Giada De Laurentiis' empire affect her relationship with Todd Thompson?
Giada De Laurentiis likely dealt with stress as she balanced a career while also being a wife and mother. After all, over the span of her career, she has hosted cooking shows, written cookbooks, and owned a few restaurants. Taking things slow doesn’t come easy to De Laurentiis. “Taking a break is not the easiest thing for me because I feel like if I’m not doing something then I’m wasting my time,” she told The Cut.
Did her strong work ethic contribute to the end of her marriage? “I think it can be hard for any man to sometimes be upstaged by his wife,” De Laurentiis said in an interview with Redbook. While Todd Thompson had a successful career, De Laurentiis was the more famous of the two, which may have caused tension in their relationship.
Thompson also seemed more low-key. In regards to rumors about their relationship, De Laurentiis noted, “Todd was embarrassed that his family in Michigan would see it and think, ‘What is going on over there in Hollywood?'”
Giada De Laurentiis was plagued by rumors of an affair with Matt Lauer
Todd Thompson and Giada De Laurentiis were together for over a decade, and the two dealt with a few affair allegations in that time. The first of these allegations reportedly started with Matt Lauer, a now-disgraced previous host of the Today show. A couple of sightings of the two got the press talking. The first sighting was in Barbados in 2011, when images were taken of the two hugging and laughing. They were reportedly there filming the NBC segment “Where in the World is Matt Lauer,” according to Closer Weekly.
There was another sighting of the pair when they went out and had a “very cozy” dinner in New York City in 2013, as Page Six reported. De Laurentiis has denied any romance (via Page Six). Lauer stated to TMZ (via Page Six), “From the horse’s mouth, we have been friends for 10 years…” Their friendship can probably just be chalked up to De Laurentiis’ multiple guest appearances on the Today show.
Rumors swirled around Giada De Laurentiis and this singer as well
According to HuffPost, rumors of Giada De Laurentiis allegedly cheating on her husband, Todd Thompson, with singer John Mayer first appeared back in 2010. Mayer has a reputation for being a womanizer in Hollywood, and it appeared De Laurentiis and her husband, Todd Thompson, just got caught in the middle. “I have never ever been romantically involved with John Mayer,” De Laurentiis later told Gossip Cop (via HuffPost).
In a 2011 interview with Redbook, De Laurentiis denied the rumors: “I think the only things that could possibly have tied us together is that we were at the same hotel that weekend in question.” She was also with her husband that same weekend. De Laurentiis noted, “I haven’t had any contact with John Mayer in three years,” sharing that their interactions had been brief to begin with. “I know these things happen,” De Laurentiis said, referring to rumors in the press, “but maybe I was naïve to think that they are usually based on some facts.”
Could certain headlines have caused strain in Giada De Laurentiis' marriage?
Giada De Laurentiis has had a fabulous career, and the press normally compliments the chef on her petite frame, friendly personality, and good looks. But sometimes the press criticizes De Laurentiis… like when she was accused of not eating her own food on her Food Network show.
A source told Page Six that De Laurentiis had a “dump bucket” where she’d spit out her food after the cameras cut. Another theory was that an assistant would step in for De Laurentiis during close-ups. However, De Laurentiis’ rep, Stephen Huvane, said that the story was “completely false,” noting, “She absolutely eats her own food while filming.” He added, “She doesn’t always eat and swallow every time, since they can do sometimes six to 10 takes with three episodes a day…”
While we doubt one rumor could have led to the couple’s divorce, maybe all the headlines about the chef caused stress in Giada De Laurentiis and Todd Thompson’s life and relationship.
Maybe they just grew in opposite directions after so many years together
Giada De Laurentiis and Todd Thompson found success in their respective careers during their marriage. “When we first met, I didn’t have any money because I was in college,” De Laurentiis told Redbook. Certainly the two grew a lot in that time. De Laurentiis became a celebrity chef and a household name, while Thompson became a fashion designer at Anthropologie. Sometimes two people grow together, but unfortunately sometimes they end up growing apart. “We had been together since I was 19; I’m now 45. That’s a lifetime with someone,” De Laurentiis told Dr. Oz for The Good Life (via People).
The two had never actually planned to have a child either. “What would happen to this life we had created, where we’d just take off for Santa Barbara for the weekend?” she told Redbook. Even though we’re sure they love Jade, De Laurentiis’ pregnancy marked a change in their plans, which may have caused issues. “Todd and I talked about kids and decided we were okay not having them. But then Jade came along, and I was very afraid, and so was Todd,” she noted.
Giada De Laurentiis had a lot of growing pains after her divorce
Giada De Laurentiis has had a stunning transformation over the years, and she had to do a lot of soul searching after separating from Todd Thompson. “When you’re with somebody for 20-something years, your identity becomes … it’s a joint identity in a way,” she explained to Al Roker during a segment for the Today show.
De Laurentiis opened about her post-divorce struggles to Dr. Oz for The Good Life (via People), saying, “It was a very difficult time. I don’t have the answers; I’m figuring them out as I go. I’m also afraid, like many other women who go through this…” Being afraid is a normal response, especially when entering the dating scene after such a long time.
Luckily, things worked out in the end. De Laurentiis even learned some new skills while being single. “I never knew how to hook up a TV; I had alarms going off in the night that I never had to deal with because my ex-husband would handle all that stuff. I can do those things now,” she said.
Todd Thompson and Giada De Laurentiis moved on after the divorce
Giada De Laurentiis took things slow after her divorce from Todd Thompson. “After I got divorced, I spent about a year and a half alone, not dating, just figuring things out,” she told People. After a while, she reconnected with Shane Farley, a television producer whom she’d met briefly when planning production for a talk show with her and Bobby Flay that didn’t end up coming to fruition. De Laurentiis said, “Once I got settled, [Shane and I] reconnected and I felt like a kid again.” Farley appeared just as smitten with De Laurentiis when told People, “She’s warm and absolutely beautiful — what you see on the outside is there on the inside as well.”
Thompson has found love again too. The fashion designer is reportedly dating Heather Lacombe, an artist, according to People. Thompson posted a photo of the two on their anniversary in 2020, writing in his caption, “3 years of traveling together and we are ready for more adventures.”
Giada De Laurentiis and Todd Thompson co-parent daughter Jade
Since their divorce, Giada De Laurentiis and Todd Thompson have stayed in each other’s lives for the sake of their daughter, Jade, co-parenting her since their split in 2014. “We live a stone’s throw away from each other, like five minutes, which has really helped keep Jade stable,” she told People. Although the exes aren’t pictured together very often anymore, De Laurentiis’ Instagram showed a photo of one family reunion in 2019, with a caption that read, “Happy graduation Jadey!!”
In the same interview for People, De Laurentiis talked about being a single mother, and while it comes with its struggles, she’s happy to have Thompson on board to help her when times are tough: “Getting along with my ex-husband really helps as well. We’re supportive of each other and, in turn, supportive of Jade.”
Being a single mom can be tricky. Fortunately, De Laurentiis has learned over the years when it’s time to call for reinforcements. “Her dad is pretty good at juggling so I think you just need to be okay with asking for help because you’re going to need it,” she told People.
Both of their new partners have a good relationship with Jade
Giada De Laurentiis and Todd Thompson both have new partners who have made friends with their daughter, Jade. Divorce can be really hard for children, so it’s good to see De Laurentiis and Thompson’s partners on good terms with her. Thompson and girlfriend Heather Lacombe were seen celebrating Christmas and his birthday together on Instagram in 2020, with a caption that read, “Merry Christmas 2020! Celebrating my 57th with Heather and kiddos.” Jade and Lacombe may have even cooked together as Thompson wrote that Lacombe made ribs and Jade made a raspberry tart.
De Laurentiis’ boyfriend Shane Farley must get along pretty well with Jade too. In an article for People, Farley discussed his relationship with Jade, making the comment, “I do not have children and to be able to have such a well-adjusted, fun kid around has been really nice.” He added, “Jade has got two amazing parents, so I can be a part of her life without any pressure.”
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