The 49-year-old Bravo star, who married the 81-year-old lawyer in 1999, confirmed the news in a statement.
“After much consideration, I have decided to end my marriage to Tom Girardi,” she said. “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 deserve. I request others give us that privacy as well.”
Erika and Tom, who is 32 years her senior, met in 1999 while she was working at Chasen’s restaurant in Los Angeles.
“After a year of working in the restaurant, one night I decided to slip Tom my telephone number,” the Bravo star recalled in her 2018 memoir, Pretty Mess.
Tom, an attorney, subsequently reached out to Erika through his secretary.
“I told her, ’Tell Mr. Girardi if he wants to take me out on a date, he needs to call me himself and ask me and give me enough time to prepare,’” she wrote. “You know how men are, especially if they are successful. They expect you to drop everything right away. That’s not how I work, I don’t care who you are.”
Six months later, the twosome got engaged. While Tom rarely appears on RHOBH, Erika has defended their relationship — and age difference — several times on the series.
“I’m tired of having to justify my 20-year marriage. Go get a 20-year marriage and then come f—king talk to me,” Erika said during a season 10 episode in April. “It’s great to have financial support. But having someone’s emotional support is something that I wish I had more of growing up.”
Erika has also been candid about their sex life.
“It’s not the same as it was in the beginning because other things take over, compassion, love, empathy, all of that, but that doesn’t mean that you can leave the physical component out of it. You have to still keep that alive,” she explained to Kandi Burruss on her short-lived talk show, Kandi Koated Nights, in 2018. “It really is all about loving and trusting one another. I think that’s what you really need to do, and if you like each other, then you’re communicating and then you’re making it work. You talk, and you communicate and it changes and it peaks and it valleys and it changes and it’s cool. But as long as you’re communicating you’ll make it through.”
Fans will likely see Erika’s divorce play out on season 11 of RHOBH, which is currently filming.Listen to Getting Real with the Housewives, your one-stop destination for Housewives news and exclusive interviews
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