The Real Reason Erika Girardi Is Getting Divorced

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Girardi (known professionally as Erika Jayne) is divorcing husband Tom Girardi, after 21 years of marriage, according to E!. In an exclusive announcement with the outlet, Erika said the decision came "after much consideration." She added, "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. I request others give us that privacy as well." Erika filed divorce paperwork on Nov. 3, 2020, according to Us Weekly.

Tom and Erika married in 1999, as TMZ points out, so they've certainly put the time into their marriage. There is a 33-year age difference between Erika and Tom, with Tom in the lead, but this has never been a struggle for the couple. In fact, Erika has been vocal about shutting down any criticism of their unique coupling. Here's what she's had to say. 

Erika and Tom Girardi don't have a prenup

In her 2018 memoir, Pretty Mess, Erika explained how she met Tom. She worked as a cocktail server at Chasen's, a glamorous restaurant near Beverly Hills, where Tom used to frequently dine. "After a year of working in the restaurant, one night I decided to slip Tom my telephone number," Erika wrote (via E!). When people criticized Erika and Tom's 33-year age gap, she shut them down. On the show (via E!), she said: "I've dealt with this forever: the younger woman that married the wealthier, older man. I mean, I'm tired of having to justify my 20-year marriage. Go get a 20-year marriage, then come f–king talk to me." 

While Erika has a son from a previous relationship, she and Tom have no children, per TMZ. However, the outlet notes that they are "incredibly wealthy" and have likely amassed "a ton of assets between the both of them."

What will happen with these assets? It's still unclear, but we know that Erika and Tom don't have a prenup. Erika said on Bravo's Then and Now in 2017, "Let me tell you something, let me be very clear. I'm married to a very powerful lawyer. A prenup wouldn't stand in his way anyway...It's gonna be all Tom's way, I assure you. ... He'll rip that piece of paper to shreds in two seconds!"

So that's the name of that tune!

Why Tom Girardi didn't wear a wedding ring

Erika Girardi seemed to understand early on that Tom Girardi was used to being in charge. In her memoir, Pretty Mess, she explained one detail of their marriage where Tom drew a line. "After our engagement, Tom said, 'Listen, I'll buy you anything you want. I don't care what it is. You name it. But I'm not wearing a wedding band. I never have, I never will. I don't like it. It's uncomfortable. Please don't ask me to,'" Erika wrote. The arrangement worked well for Erika, as she noted in her memoir. "A wedding band does not have magical powers. It is not going to stop anyone from doing something," she said.

Erika accepted Tom's type-A personality and even had fun with it, as she revealed to The Daily Dish in April 2020. "Well, he's in my phone as 'The Boss,'" she quipped. "I don't know what I'm in his phone as." Erika continued, "Probably, you know, just my number. He's 'The Boss', but he always has been. I mean, that's who he is, you know?"

Although it seemed like the couple had a solid understanding of each other, things have taken a different turn. So who knows? Maybe the relationship just ran its course.

Erika Girardi learned a lot from Tom

For those who don't already know, Tom Giardi was one of the lawyers in the famous case that inspired the film, Erin Brockovich, according to New York Daily News. So it's safe to say Erika had a great educational resource in Tom, a sentiment she confirmed during an April 2020 chat with Bravo's The Daily Dish. "Being married to a lawyer, it's great to have that legal mind at your disposal," the RHOBH star said. "Hey, what does this mean? I have a question. I'm always asking questions." She added, "He loves the law more than anything, and the chance to explain it is, like, you know, all that he lives for. So, any time I call and have a law question, it's always answered."

Fun fact: Tom gave RHOBH alum Denise Richards some legal advice during a 2020 episode of the show. So it sounds like Tom's career was helpful to everyone! In fact, Erika joked that she had soaked up so much legal knowledge from Tom that she could be a lawyer herself. "I feel like I could probably take the bar, for sure," Erika shared. "Maybe Erika Girardi ESQ. Why not? Why not continue the legacy? I mean... Girardi and Girardi. Sounds like a recipe for disaster."

Well, it looks like a joint law firm won't happen anytime soon.