The TV chef believes men can struggle with being "upstaged by" their wives

By Sara Hammel
Updated January 10, 2011 07:30 AM

Is a woman’s place really in the kitchen?

Yes – in a manner of speaking, anyway, says feisty TV chef Giada De Laurentiis.

“I think it can be hard for any man to sometimes be upstaged by his wife,” she explains in the February issue of Redbook. “So when I’m home, I work very hard to be Todd’s wife and Jade’s mother. I have no problem going back to those traditional roles.”

The star of Giada at Home, 40, is married to Todd Thompson and mom to Jade, who turns 3 in March. She adds that it helps in the romance department to put the focus on her husband.

“I try to be Giada, the young girl that he met 20 years ago and fell in love with,” she says. “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.”

De Laurentiis also tackles past rumors that she cheated on Thompson with notorious lothario John Mayer one weekend when both were staying at the same hotel in New York – along with her husband.

“The John Mayer incident was completely unexpected,” she says. “I was shocked. And not so much for me, but for my husband and family Todd was embarrassed that his family in Michigan would see it and think, ‘What is going on over there in Hollywood?’ ”

Adding that she hasn’t had any contact in years and barely knows Mayer, she says, “Maybe we chatted for five minutes, but I wouldn’t consider that intimate.”

De Laurentiis also talks about the importance of food in her life, and makes no bones about her favorite restaurant. “Uh, my house,” she says. “It’s more intimate. Food can connect people in a forever sort of way.”