Giada de Laurentiis has proven to be one of Food Network’s biggest stars, but her rise as a TV personality was unexpected. Giada, who is the granddaughter of famed movie producer Dino De Laurentiis, was born in Rome, attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and later studied at the Cordon Bleu in Paris (via Food Network).
After graduating from the Cordon Blue, she returned to L.A. where she worked in a number of restaurants, including Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Beverly Hills. She later started her own catering company called GDL. According to her Food Network bio, her foray into television began after a Food Network exec read an article about her and her famous family in Food & Wine magazine. A year later, in 2003, Giada’s show Everyday Italian debuted on the channel and quickly became a fan favorite.
That same year, Giada married fashion designer Todd Thompson. The two had daughter Jade Marie De Laurentiis-Thompson in March 2008 (via Today). Giada spoke about her home life in a 2011 interview with Redbook. “I think it can be hard for any man to sometimes be upstaged by his wife,” she admitted. “So when I’m home, I work very hard to be Todd’s wife and Jade’s mother,” she said.
“I have no problem going back to those traditional roles,” she continued. “I try to be Giada, the young girl that he met 20 years ago and fell in love with. 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 and look for someone who can give that to them. It’s simple. It’s not brain surgery.”
Giada announced their divorce in late 2014
Giada announced the couple’s divorce in a Facebook post in December 2014. “After an amicable separation since July, Todd and I have decided to end our marriage,” she wrote. “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.” She continued, “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 two did not have a prenuptial agreement, which led to a messy divorce. TMZ shared the details of the divorce in September 2015. Giada was ordered to pay Todd $9,000 a month in child support. In exchange for keeping all rights related to her brand, she agreed to give Todd their $3.2 million Pacific Palisades home, $300,000 in art and furniture, and more.
That wasn’t the worst of it, however. Giada also had to agree to give Todd 50 percent of the unpaid advances on several cookbooks and other projects she had in the works. The total pay from those projects alone was close to $4 million, the outlet reported. The money part may have been unpleasant, but the two agreed on the most important issue. They agreed to split custody of their daughter, Jade.
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