Inside the Life of Valerie Velardi – Robin Williams’ Former Wife and Muse 

 March 12, 2023

Inside the Life of Valerie Velardi – Robin Williams’ Former Wife and Muse

Robin Williams, the beloved comedian and actor, left an impact on many people’s lives. He had a career in the entertainment industry that spanned for decades, making him a household name. However, did you know that Valerie Velardi, his former wife, played a significant role in his success? Let’s take a deep dive into the life of Valerie Velardi and learn more about her relationship with Robin Williams.


Valerie Velardi is a woman who has lived a life that many people find fascinating. She was Robin Williams’ first wife and the mother of his son, Zak. She was born in the United States in 1950, grew up in San Francisco, and worked primarily as a waitress before meeting Robin. The two were together for a total of ten years, and their relationship was often tumultuous – they eventually divorced in 1988. Despite the ups and downs, Valerie was an instrumental figure in Robin’s life, both personally and professionally. She was his muse and inspiration for many of his beloved comedic characters, and her influence on his life is undeniable.

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1. Meeting Robin Williams

Valerie first met Robin Williams in 1976 while working as a waitress at a San Francisco restaurant. At the time, Robin was an up-and-coming comedian who was performing at a comedy club near the restaurant. The two hit it off, and soon enough, they began dating.

According to Valerie, their relationship was passionate and intense from the start. In an interview with People magazine, she said, “We both had a lot of energy, and we were both high-energy people. There was just a lot of chemistry.”

2. The Inspiration For Mork

One of Robin Williams’ most iconic roles was that of Mork from the television show “Mork & Mindy.” The character was born out of a moment that occurred when Valerie was eight months pregnant with their son Zak.

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As the story goes, Robin was sitting with Valerie, and he put a pair of women’s pantyhose on his head, pretending to be an alien. Valerie found his antics amusing and encouraged him to keep going. This moment inspired Robin to create the character of Mork, a friendly alien from the planet Ork.

3. Valerie’s Influence on Robin’s Career

Not only was Valerie the inspiration for Mork, but she was also a significant influence on Robin’s career. In the early days of their relationship, she would often accompany him to his comedy shows and offer him feedback and encouragement.

Valerie was also instrumental in helping Robin score his breakthrough role on the television show “Happy Days.” She had connections with the show’s director and managed to get Robin a guest spot, which eventually led to his own spin-off show, “Mork & Mindy.”

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4. The Marriage and Divorce

Valerie and Robin were married in June 1978 in a small ceremony in Lake Tahoe. Despite their love for each other, their marriage was often tumultuous. Robin struggled with addiction issues, and their relationship was put to the test when he began using cocaine.

The couple ultimately separated in 1984, but they didn’t officially divorce until 1988. Valerie has spoken publicly about the challenges of their relationship, describing it as “intense” and “difficult.”

5. Life After Robin

After divorcing Robin Williams, Valerie largely stayed out of the spotlight. She continued to maintain a close relationship with their son, Zak, who was born in 1983.

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Valerie has worked intermittently as an actress, appearing in films such as “The Fourth War” (1990) and “Moscow on the Hudson” (1984).

6. The Legacy of Robin Williams

Robin Williams passed away in August 2014, leaving behind a vast legacy in the entertainment industry. His influence can still be felt today, with many comedians citing him as an inspiration for their own careers.

Valerie has spoken publicly about her grief following Robin’s death, stating that “Robin’s sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety, as well as early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly.”

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7. FAQs

Q1. Was Valerie Velardi Robin Williams’ only wife?

No, Valerie was Robin’s first wife. He later married Marsha Garces in 1989 and Susan Schneider in 2011.

Q2. Did Valerie continue to work in show business after her divorce from Robin Williams?

Valerie has worked intermittently as an actress but largely stayed out of the limelight after her divorce from Robin.

Q3. Did Robin Williams and Valerie Velardi have children together?

Yes, Robin and Valerie have one son together, Zak Williams.

Q4. What is Valerie Velardi’s relationship with Zak Williams like?

Valerie and Zak have a close relationship, and she has been a supportive mother throughout his life.

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Q5. How did Robin Williams’ struggles with addiction affect his relationship with Valerie?

Robin’s addiction issues put a significant strain on his relationship with Valerie, contributing to their separation and eventual divorce.

Q6. Was Valerie Velardi involved in Robin Williams’ acting career?

Yes, Valerie was an instrumental figure in Robin’s career, often offering him feedback and encouragement.

Q7. What is Valerie Velardi up to nowadays?

Valerie has largely stayed out of the public eye in recent years and doesn’t appear to have any current projects in the works.


Valerie Velardi’s life has been a fascinating one. From meeting and marrying Robin Williams to being an instrumental figure in his career, she played a significant role in the life of one of the most beloved entertainers of all time. Despite the challenges she faced during her relationship with Robin, Valerie’s impact on his life cannot be overstated. Her story is a reminder that sometimes, it’s the people behind the scenes who make the most significant impact on our lives.

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