After over two decades together, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Jayne, 49, decided to call it quits and split from her husband Thomas Girardi, 81, in Nov. 2020. “This is not a step taken lightly or easily,” Erika shared in a statement at the time. “I have great love and respect for Tom and for our years and the lives we built together.” As Season 11 of RHOBH — which will heavily feature their downfall — commences, learn more about the longtime attorney below.
1) Tom is an attorney based in Los Angeles. Tom co-founded the LA law firm Girardi and Keese with his partner Robert Keese in 1965 when he was roughly 26 years old. The firm was created to “help anyone who had been injured or harmed by providing excellent legal representation and a willingness to go to trial to help them achieve justice,” per the firm’s official website. Over the course of Tom and Robert’s respective careers, the law firm has achieved more than $10 billion in verdicts and settlements, according to the group.2) One of Tom’s biggest cases inspired a movie! Of the cases that Tom worked during his career, the most famous was against Pacific Gas & Electric. The company ended up paying roughly $333 million to 650 residents from the Hinkley, CA, community, after chemicals from Pacific Gas & Electric contaminated the drinking water in the community, leading many residents to develop debilitating diseases, including cancer. The case inspired the 2000 film Erin Brokovich starring Julia Roberts. Tom served as an advisor on the film.
3) Tom and Erika wed in 1999. Prior to meeting Erika, Tom had been married twice and has adult children from his previous marriages. In the past, Erika has discussed that she got “lucky” with Tom, and gets along with his children very well. “I got very lucky that Tom has really nice kids… And I’m their age.”4) Tom was the stepdad to Erika’s son from a previous marriage. Erika has also shed some light on how much Tom embraced his role as a stepfather to her son, 26-year-old Tommy Zizzo. “That’s the one thing I loved most about Tom, when my son was younger, was that he welcomed him with open arms,” the Bravo star said on an episode of RHOBH. “I’m very thankful. That’s my guy.”
5) The attorney is very educated and decorated with honors. Tom earned his BA and JD at Loyola Marymount University. He received his LLM from New York University School of Law. In 2003, he was inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame following a decision and honor bestowed upon him by the California State Bar.