The Real Reason Giada De Laurentiis And Todd Thompson Got Divorced

If you're a Food Network fan who has been watching Giada De Laurentiis since her premiere cooking show Everyday Italian began airing in 2005, chances are you've heard her mention cooking for her then-husband, Anthropologie fashion designer Todd Thompson. The couple met when De Laurentiis was only 18 and married in 2003, a few years before her culinary star started rising on the network. She'd been with Thompson through every step of her career, so you may have even caught a glimpse of him during a guest appearance on one of her shows.

Thompson's cameos ended for good in 2014 when De Laurentiis announced their divorce on her Facebook page. "After an amicable separation since July, Todd and I have decided to end our marriage," she said in the post."Although our decision to separate comes with a great deal of sadness, our focus on the future and overwhelming desire for our family's happiness has given us the strength to move forward on separate, yet always connected paths," she continued before mentioning their daughter Jade and the "lifetime of memories" she was grateful to share with Thompson.

Almost immediately after she posted the news, the rumors started flying. But the answer to why this power couple didn't make it might be more simple than you think. Let's dig into all of the theories to find the real reason behind the De Laurentiis-Thompson split.

The pressures of fame may have cracked their foundation

The first place to look when seeking answers about a marriage is, of course, inside the marriage itself. But only De Laurentiis and Thompson know the intimate details of their relationship. Celebrities do, however, often offer insight into their relationships during happier times that may later offer the public clues about their struggles. 

In 2009, De Laurentiis told Redbook that their marriage worked because they took turns in the limelight. "In the beginning, I was there to help him in his career. Now he's where he wants to be, and he helps me in mine," she said at the time. "You know, most men want to be in the limelight and have the woman take care of them. You have to balance that. There have to be times where it's about Todd, when I'm Todd's wife and that's just who I am at that moment."

De Laurentiis definitely became the more recognizable name of the pair, so somewhere between 2009 and 2014, it's possible that the balance shifted too much toward Thompson supporting her career with his own as a designer being pushed aside. Of course, we're speculating, but it wouldn't be the first time that the uglier side of fame snuck into a marriage and cracked its foundation so quickly that neither partner knew what hit them.

Did Giada De Laurentiis and Todd Thompson disagree about expanding their family?

Giada De Laurentiis told Redbook in 2009 that her brother Dino losing his battle to skin cancer is what made her decide to become a parent. "He always wanted to have children, but he didn't get to. And after he died, I remember thinking, 'you know, maybe there's a place in my heart for someone else other than all the people I already have in my life.'"

But the decision to have her daughter wasn't initially an easy one for De Laurentiis to make. "I know I was very afraid... My brother's passing made me afraid, I think because I was afraid that we could have a child and lose him or her too. I didn't know if I could go through that kind of pain with anybody else the way I did with my brother. So for a while, I was very down on the whole idea," she admitted.

Todd Thompson and De Laurentiis have always been devoted parents to their daughter Jade. But De Laurentiis has also been open about how tough it is to juggle her grueling celebrity schedule with parenting. She told The Cut in 2018 that she "realized" years prior, "If I continue this, I will not see [Jade] grow up." We're speculating again here, but is it possible that Thompson wanted more kids, and De Laurentiis was already spread too thin both personally and professionally? It's something only the former spouses know for sure.

Exactly how close were Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay?

From the public's perspective, it's easier to speculate about the outside forces that may have caused a marriage to crumble. Let's be real, by "forces" we mean people, and when considering who may have played a part in Giada De Laurentiis' divorce, the first person that comes to mind is fellow celebrity chef and TV personality Bobby Flay. 

Why? It's a well-known fact that the culinary superstars are good friends. They rose to fame on The Food Network around the same time, have appeared on shows like Beat Bobby Flay and Iron Chef America together, and even co-hosted Food Network Star.

Though a hard loss during a team competition on Iron Chef America once caused a rift in their friendship, De Laurentiis later praised Flay for his friendship on the Beyond The Plate podcast. "I think that Bobby is one of those people that if you are his friend, he has your back forever and he will stand up for you," De Laurentiis said (via People). "He's one of those guys you can call in a pinch and he will get you out of it. He's special in that sense."

Okay, that all sounds pretty innocent, right? Wait, we're getting to the juicy stuff. 

Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay deny any allegations of an affair

According to Page Six, Giada De Laurentiis was seen having what the tab described as "a boozy night out" with Bobby Flay just two days before she announced her split from Todd Thompson on Facebook. A few months after that, Flay announced his split from then-wife of 10 years, actress Stephanie March. 

It's suspicious, and it landed Flay and De Laurentiis on lists of celebrity chefs involved in scandalous romances, but don't jump to conclusions too fast. For some reason, Radar Online also reported on the alleged outing several months later, just after Flay and March's separation announcement. The tab claimed that the two stars were caught on an intimate dinner date, expressing PDA, and "carving their initials" into a secret spot on the wall while in the middle of divorcing their respective spouses. 

Both De Laurentiis' and Flay's reps denied the claims, offering details about what happened on the night in question. "Back in December, Giada had dinner at Bellato with her agent. Bobby Flay was also having dinner with some friends and dropped by Giada's table to say hi," De Laurentiis' rep told E! News, adding, "They did not have dinner, nor was there any touching going on." Flay's rep confirmed the details. As it turns out, men and women can be friends while divorcing their spouses. 

There is more than one alleged affair

Bobby Flay is just one of many famous men rumored to be romantically linked to Giada De Laurentiis throughout her marriage and divorce process. Closer Weekly reported that the rumors of a relationship with former Today anchor Matt Lauer started in 2011, when the pair were filming a segment for NBC. In 2013, a dinner meeting between Lauer and De Laurentiis was described as "cozy" by Page Six, but both camps said any allegations of a romantic dinner were false. 

De Laurentiis is also one of many high profile women to be romantically linked with musician John Mayer. But HuffPost reported that the chef denied any of the alleged affairs to Gossip Cop. "I met him twice at least 5 or 6 years ago at public events along with hundreds of other people," De Laurentiis told the outlet of Mayer, adding, "I have not seen or even heard from him since." She also addressed her "long-time friendships" with Lauer and Flay, saying, "There has never been a romantic relationship with these two men." 

Even though De Laurentiis adamantly denied any infidelity, and claimed that Todd was with her the whole weekend she attended the events where she met Mayer, she still acknowledged that the accusations took a toll on her marriage. She told Redbook in 2011, "Todd was embarrassed that his family in Michigan would see it and think, 'What is going on over there in Hollywood?'" 

Did someone else catch Giada De Laurentiis' eye?

A lot of famous names may come to mind when considering possible wedges between Giada De Laurentiis and Todd Thompson, but if De Laurentiis did stray, it's more likely she did so with someone else — her current boyfriend Shane Farley.

Farley was a producer on a show Bobby Flay and De Laurentiis were going to co-host in 2013 that never made it to air. De Laurentiis and Thompson were still married back then. She didn't start dating Farley until a few years after her divorce, but only the two of them know when the sparks began to fly.

"She's warm and absolutely beautiful — what you see on the outside is there on the inside as well," Farley gushed to People about his girlfriend in 2018. De Laurentiis loves how she feels around Farley, too, even though she insisted those feelings didn't develop until after the "rest and reset" period after her divorce from Todd Thompson. "Once I got settled, [Shane and I] reconnected and I felt like a kid again," she told People.

Maybe Giada De Laurentiis and Todd Thompson just grew apart

It's not the most salacious explanation, but maybe the flame between the former spouses just burned out. De Laurentiis and Thompson had been together since she was 18 and began the process of separating when she was nearly 44. That's a long time together, and people definitely grow and change.

De Laurentiis literally went from being a broke college student to an A-List celebrity over the course of her marriage to Thompson, which was a trajectory neither of them anticipated. In fact, while speaking with Redbook in 2009, De Laurentiis shared the couple's dreams. "Todd and I have talked about [living in] Paris or Rome," she said, adding, "I didn't plan on having this career, I just rode the wave. And now I'm contemplating where it leads."

Just two years later, she told the same outlet, "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. I try to be Giada, the young girl that he met 20 years ago and fell in love with. 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. It's simple. It's not brain surgery."

Is it possible that they were just unable to maintain this traditional dynamic? 

How authentic is Giada De Laurentiis?

Let's talk about the alleged "dump bucket" that Giada De Laurentiis has on set. "When Giada films her cooking show, she never eats. Never. When she is making drinks and food that she has to drink or eat, they have a dump bucket that is brought out the second they cut," an insider told Page Six in 2014. The spy even claimed that "an assistant" is sometimes the actual taster, and a close-up of their mouth is filmed. The host is then filmed "taking an empty fork out of her mouth."

A rep for De Laurentiis denied the claim that she "never" eats, saying that there is a dump bucket because she can't eat the food on every take. That makes sense, but we dug further into De Laurentiis' eating habits and the results are...strange. The host told Health of how she stays so slim, "I eat a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything. Everything in moderation." Except, she told Delish that she eats brown rice for breakfast and grilled chicken salad for lunch. So which one is it? Does she eat "everything" or almost nothing?

Granted, celebrity diets are often restrictive, but does De Laurentiis' mixed messaging indicate a darker, phony side of the celebrity chef? We wonder if her ex Todd Thompson knew that side too well — or maybe just wasn't into brown rice for breakfast. That's no way to live.

Todd Thompson kept a piece of Giada De Laurentiis' empire

The exes didn't have a prenup, which can sometimes make dividing assets the messiest aspect of divorce. It usually means that one person benefits financially as a result, and in this case, that person is Todd Thompson.

TMZ reported that Thompson got the couple's 3.2 million dollar home in the divorce, as well as art worth as much as $300,000. Giada De Laurentiis also forks over $9000 a month in child support to her ex. The parents share custody of their daughter Jade.

De Laurentiis got to keep profits from her companies Linguine Productions and GDL Foods, Inc. She also got to keep all rights to her then-untitled cookbook Happy Cooking: Make Every Meal Count ... Without Stressing Out, which was published in November 2015. But Thompson was entitled to 50 percent of unpaid advances from previously published titles like Giada At Home and Weeknights With Giada.

They split their bank accounts and neither couple pays spousal support.

Giada De Laurentiis reconnected with her love of cooking after the divorce

Considering that the title of the first cookbook De Laurentiis released after divorcing Thompson was Happy Cooking, it's not very surprising that she reconnected with her love of cooking to help her through the rough time.

"I had to rethink my life a little," she said during an interview on The Meredith Vieira Show about the time she spent defining who she was after the divorce. "I found myself cooking a lot more, but not on television as much as just for myself and for my family and for my daughter. And I started to realize ... I know why I fell in love with cooking, 'cause it makes me happy. And because it's the place that I feel the strongest, the most empowered, the most creative. It's where I can stand on my own two feet and know who I am truly."

She said she'd lost that strong sense of individual purpose in her marriage, but she and every Food Network fan who lives for a bowl of spaghetti is happy she found it again.

Both parents put their daughter Jade first

Giada De Laurentiis and Todd Thompson could have split for a multitude of different reasons, but one thing is very clear about their lives now: Jade comes first. As of this writing, De Laurentiis has been with Shane Farley for over four years, but she spends Valentine's Day with Jade. In 2020, they had the 12-year-old's favorite meal — breakfast for dinner. "I try to do it more on special occasions otherwise she'd want it every single night," De Laurentiis told People.

Putting their daughter first also means coming together for important moments in her life. Most recently, De Laurentis shared a picture posing with Jade and Thompson for Jade's graduation. The caption read, "Happy Graduation Jadey."

While it's true that De Laurentiis may have made some enemies on her way to stardom, the chef is grateful to have a good relationship with her ex, because it gives her daughter stability. It really does take a village to raise a kid. "I think you have to ask for help whenever possible and I do," she told People in 2017. "[Thompson] is pretty good at juggling so I think you just need to be okay with asking for help because you're going to need it."