The Truth About Tom And Erika Girardi's Relationship

After 21 years of marriage, Erika and Tom Girardi are calling it quits. "After much consideration, I have decided to end my marriage to Tom Girardi," the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star told E! News, "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."

She added, "It is my absolute wish to proceed through this process with respect and with the privacy that both Tom and I deserved. I request others give us that privacy as well."

Erika and Tom tied the knot in 1999 after meeting at the West Hollywood restaurant Chasen's. Tom regularly frequented the restaurant, where Erika served cocktails. It was Erika who made the first move, as she wrote in her 2018 memoir Pretty Mess. "After a year of working in the restaurant, one night I decided to slip Tom my telephone number," she wrote. "We were standing in front of the giant fireplace. 'Did you hear I was single?' I asked."

Erika initially turned Tom down

Even though Erika was interested in Tom, writing in Pretty Mess that "everyone loved Tom," she turned him down the first time he asked her out. As she explained, Tom had his secretary call her to ask her out for dinner that evening. She declined, though, saying, "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."

Tom did end up calling Erika for a date "like a gentleman," and the rest is history. Erika wrote that the more time she spent with Tom, the stronger their bond grew. "Tom has this incredible twinkle in his eye and a powerful lust for life," wrote the Broadway star. "I just fell in love with the man who talked to me about the future and plans for my life."

Erika has had to defend her marriage to Tom

Even though it's clear that Erika was smitten with Tom from the beginning, she has had to defend herself from people who questioned their 33 year age gap. "It was always a bigger deal to everyone else than it was to either of us," she wrote in Pretty Mess (via Us Weekly). "All a couple really needs is to have the same life philosophy. If you see things the same way, then age, race, religion — none of that comes into play. I have a thirst for knowledge and Tom has a wealth of it. He is a great mentor, a great teacher and somebody I really admire... That kind of stuff is a powerful aphrodisiac."

Erika has also talked about her sex life on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, notably in season 10 when Garcelle Beauvais asked Erika about what things were like with the then 80-year-old Tom. "He's good," she said of her husband (via Bravo's The Daily Dish).

She added, "People always ask that. They're always [like] what's going on? Is it 20-year-old f****** all day long? No... We got bills to pay."