03/04/2008 at 02:00 PM EST
With the announced postponement
on Monday of four Van Halen concerts while Eddie Van Halen undergoes medical treatment for an undisclosed malady, the guitarist's former wife, Valerie Bertinelli, has offered some choice observations about his physical condition – past and present.
Of her ex's battle with cancer, which he beat in 2002
, Bertinelli tells Ladies' Home Journal
: "The guy has mouth cancer, gets part of his tongue cut out, and he still insists cigarettes have nothing to do with it."
Van Halen, 53, abused alcohol and cocaine, Bertinelli also reveals (among other disclosures
) in her new tell-all book, Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time
. That abuse and its denial helped break apart the marriage, she says.
"There was so much denial, so much not talking," Bertinelli tells the Journal
. Van Halen has cited a metal guitar pick he held in his mouth as contributing to his cancer.
As for the practitioner of alternative medicine who helped treat her ex, Bertinelli says: "You should have seen the guy he attributes his 'cure' to. They sat around drinking and smoking in our hotel room. But, well, cancer hasn't come back yet, so who am I to say."