Heidi Van Pelt is known as the vegan cook and owner of Fud (Westside Vegan Restaurant). But, the main reason she is still talked about to this day is due to her 16-year age difference with the actor, Taran Noah Smith with whom she was married between 2001-2007. The ensuing marriage and divorce battles were as stormy as the beginning of their relationship.
Keep reading the article to learn more about her earlier life and how it led to her controversial marriage and her later ventures.
Heidi Van Pelt Had A Rough Upbringing
Van Pelt was born on 11 July 1968 in the state of Missouri to mother Marsha Duncan. She had a rollercoaster of childhood as her parents divorced when she was barely a year old. She mainly stayed with her mother who paid little to no attention to her due to her various HR and city clerk jobs.
While she got to visit her father at intervals, he couldn’t even remember her birthday.
Heidi Wanted To Become A CIA Agent
She was a bright young girl who had different motives than other girls her age. Her mother also encouraged her to find her niche no matter how distinct.
Heidi initially studied German and philosophy at the University of Missouri. But, she wanted to become a CIA agent by studying the Russian Studies program at the University of Washington. Eventually, she left the program with one semester left.
Los Angeles Provided Her Career A Breakthrough
Heidi first started a media company which failed miserably. This prompted her to move to Los Angeles where she mainly worked as a production assistant in TV shows and movies. However, Los Angeles provided her with her true calling, vegan cooking.
Van Pelt had always been a vegetarian and also had connections to animal rights activists who hated dairy products. Her status as a vegan cook even led to Hollywood Life where she would meet many actors and celebrities who preferred vegan food. In one fateful evening, she would meet the child actor who would go on to become her long-time spouse.
Heidi Van Pelt’s Fateful Meeting With Her Future Husband Taran Noah Smith
Pelt met her future partner Taran Noah Smith at a dinner in her house with his co-star, Zachery Tyr Bryan. She initially thought nothing of Taran when they met as she was in a relationship at the time. However, they still became close friends.
She soon suffered from a terrible breakup with her then-partner. After that, Heidi and Taran got together for a movie where they bonded over common interests; their preference for music and similar food taste. Their romance blossomed and they soon walked down the aisle in a strip club in Topieka on April 27, 2001.
Her Ridiculous Marriage to Taran
Their marriage ran into problems from the start as there were harsh criticisms of their marital bonding because of their significant age gap. At the time of their wedding, Smith was 17 and Heidi was 34, which is double his age. Consequently, Pelt received unreal hate from the media with them labeling her a ‘Golddigger.’
Additionally, Smith’s parents didn’t accept their relationship and kicked them out of the house. They were officially considered runaways.
The Calm Before the Storm
After all the rough patches earlier in their marriage, the ex-couple entered a period of calm. Later on, Heidi and Taran also started a vegan cashew cheese business, Playfood.
They even had a child together named Nolan Eric Smith. However, any other details about their son are still missing.
Heidi Van Pelt and Taran Had A Stormy Divorce
Although the two carried on with their relationship for a few years, they soon filed for divorce in 2007 after six years of marriage together. Their divorce battle was even more malicious with both sides blaming each other for their split. Everything the former duo built together was then on the line.
Heidi accused her husband Smith of excessive drinking and partying; given Smith’s latest history of driving under the influence, that may have been true. She also claimed Smith was trying to monopolize the business and transfer his assets to another California-based company.
On the other hand, her ex-hubby Taran claimed they had been in an open relationship and Heidi enjoyed the company of girls more. He mentioned she broke all the dishes in their house when other girls showed him more attention.
According to him, Heidi also dated another man, a musician 12 years younger than her, with whom she tried to take ownership of Playfood.
Van Pelt Won The Divorce
Their divorce battle was filled with cheating and money laundering allegations on both ends. However, at the end of the day, Van Pelt reigned supreme as she won the custody battle for their son, Nolan Eric Smith as well as the ownership of the duo’s vegan cheese venture.
She Moved On After Her Divorce
Following her split, Van Pelt left Los Angeles and moved back to Kansas City. She also allowed her heart to heal and gave love another chance. She for the second time married Jerimiah Rozzo-Belle and currently goes by Heidi Van Pelt-Belle.
They also have a kid named Vox. She used to run a vegan cafe named FuD with her 2nd late hubby Jerimiah.
Van Pelt’s Establishment Incurred A Few Hiccups And Shut Down
Her cafe, Füd grew leaps and bounds in her hometown, Westside Kansas City. But in 2017, it ran into a major roadblock.
It reportedly closed down for what Van Pelt felt like her employees conspiring against her. Sources report that she didn’t even mention the fact to her husband who owned 49% of the total shares of the restaurant. But, she mentioned arrangements to restart the restaurant with fresh faces.
Van Pelt Lost Her Second Husband In 2021
With a heavy heart, Van Pelt lost her second husband on June 27, 2021, at the relatively tender age of 41. His contributions along with Heidi in developing ethical food options in the city of Kansas were greatly appreciated by the community.
His memorial was held at The Garden at 17th and Summit the Westside neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri. He is believed to have taken his own life. The cause of his suicide has not been made public.
What Is Her Net Worth?
Heidi is estimated to be relatively wealthy with an approximate net worth of $300k.
What Is Heidi Van Pelt Doing Currently?
Heidi currently resides in Kansas City, Missouri. Although there is no official news of her establishment, she has mentioned that she has been the owner of her cafe, FüD since 2007 on LinkedIn.