RHOBH Star Erika Girardi Files for Divorce from Tom Girardi After 21 Years
"After much consideration, I have decided to end my marriage to Tom Girardi," Erika, 49, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. "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."
E! News was first to report the news of the split.
She first met Tom, now 81, while cocktail-waitressing at the Los Angeles restaurant Chasen's, where he was a regular, she told PEOPLE in 2018. After a yearlong friendship, the powerhouse attorney — famed for the landmark case that inspired the film Erin Brokovich — asked her out.
They wed in 1999, at the same restaurant where they met.
“Tom did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth,” Erika previously told PEOPLE. “We both came up the hard way. And we appreciate growth.”
“What was really important to me was my relationship. Tom wasn’t going to change,” she added. “He was a grown man. It really was two people coming together who really enjoy each other’s company.”
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Over the years, the couple has faced criticisms for their age gap, which Erika has readily dismissed.
"I've dealt with this forever: the younger woman that married the wealthier, older man," she once said on RHOBH, 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---ing talk to me."
The star was previously married to Thomas Zizzo, with whom she shares 26-year-old son Tommy Zizzo.