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Valerie Bertinelli shares healing journey after an ex ‘mercilessly mocked’ her

The actor and Food Network star opened up about the emotional trauma she experienced from a past partner.

Valerie Bertinelli is healing from past emotional trauma — and the 62-year-old star is sharing that process with her fans and followers on social media.

Just before Valentine's Day, Bertinelli took to Instagram to discuss an old wound, courtesy of a former flame, she said, that was recently “activated” when she put on a now-special pair of pants. 

“I had a small hidden bruise that was activated today,” she explained as she walked along in a brief video.

The pants she wore rubbed together a bit, causing a slight swooshing sound with each stride.

"You can probably hear them," Bertinelli noted with a laugh.

It was when she heard that sound that the bruise came to the surface for her.

“I'd stopped wearing (the pants) because I was ... mercilessly mocked,” she said, recalling that her ex told her she was “too lazy to do anything about” her body to stop the rubbing issue. 

At one point, she said she even tried to change the way she walked to silence the pants, the criticism and the memories of it. But no more.

“Hidden bruises are something that emotional, verbal, mental abuse do to you that people can’t see,” she continued. “But we kind of deal with them every day when they’re activated. I’m so grateful that the work I’m doing on healing is working.”

Bertinelli, who's long been open about her struggles with maintaining a positive body image, pointed to her choice to wear the pants once again as proof of how she's moving beyond the affects of such abuse.

"Now I can wear them, hear that sound and that’s the sound of freedom," she said with a smile.

While the star didn't name names when discussing the past partner who was responsible for her hidden bruises, her most recent break up came when she and Tom Vitale, her husband of 10 years, parted ways in 2021.

They finalized their divorce in 2022, with Bertinelli telling TODAY,  “I am gonna be more than happy to be happily divorced and spend the rest of my life alone” in the wake of their split.