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Inside Andrew Zimmern's Failed Marriage after Getting a Thousand Chances before Divorce

Edduin Carvajal
Jun 27, 2021
05:40 A.M.
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Rishia Haas was “Bizarre Foods” star Andrew Zimmern’s wife for almost two decades, but his successful career was a complication impossible to overcome for the former couple.

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Emmy and James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, and writer Andrew Zimmern has been into food his whole life. He studied at the Dalton School and Vassar College and worked in popular New York restaurants.

However, his life has not been a walk in the park. When he was 13, six or seven years after his parents divorced, his mother fell into a coma following surgery.

Andrew Zimmern in an episode of "Bizarre Foods" in 2017 | Photo: YouTube/Travel Channel

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Zimmern’s mom got better, but she spent years in and out of mental hospitals until she died in 2011. The TV personality explained the traumatic event set him on a path to “crash and burn,” and the drugs and alcohol became a coping mechanism.

He was “functional” in his teens and early 20s as he graduated from high school and college. Eventually, things got out of control, and he even had stints in jail and the hospital.

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After college, Andrew Zimmern’s addiction problem was so severe that he started losing friends. For a while, he was homeless. He even stole from his Godmother to buy drugs.

Fortunately, he reached out for help, got into a treatment center in Minnesota, and became sober. Since then, his life improved significantly, especially after meeting his ex-wife, Rishia Haas.

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Haas and Zimmern met in 1999 when he taught a cooking class at a school with a store where Haas happened to work. They hit it off pretty quickly and tied the knot in 2002.

[Zimmern’s] packed schedule was too much to bear.

Rishia Haas and Andrew Zimmern’s son, Noah, joined the family three years after exchanging vows. One year later, the first episode of “Bizarre Foods” aired – the TV show that made Zimmern a star.

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Initially, he believed that leaving the restaurant business and becoming a media personality would give him more time to be with his family. It didn’t. Zimmern explained:

“I wasn’t there for my wife, and I wasn’t there for my son. My wife gave me a thousand chances to make it right.”

Unfortunately, his packed schedule was too much to bear. Haas and Zimmern divorced in 2018 in a process that the chef described as difficult but amicable.

Andrew Zimmern’s respect for his ex-wife was evident on Mother’s Day 2020 when he posted a photo on Instagram labeling her as the “bravest mom” he knows. It’s a shame they couldn’t make things work.

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