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"To make vegan food happen — to help animals, the planet, the human race — that's my job. That's why I'm here," she says.
If things had been different, this week would have marked the celebrity couple's sixth anniversary.
Instead, Van Pelt filed for divorce in early February, alleging that Smith owed her a portion of their marital property, financial support and attorney fees. A month later, Smith's attorney filed for an annulment, claiming that the marriage had been a sham. After all, Smith had been only 17 and, as a minor, "lacked the capacity to consent."
Smith says he hopes "to make it like it never happened."
Which is fine with Van Pelt. She's already moving on.
She has a new business office in her two-story home in Westport. On a recent evening, Rozzo mixed electronic samples in the music room upstairs as Van Pelt wrapped a mixture of blended rice and pico de gallo in collard greens for a dinner of raw tacos. Remnants of Los Angeles linger throughout the house — the couple eats at a funky, recycled-pallet table that Smith built, and the walls are covered in art created by Van Pelt's West Coast friends.
The battle over the Parkville company continues; a second hearing is scheduled for this week. In Los Angeles, Smith continues to subsist off the earnings and interest from his trust fund and residuals from his sitcom days. Van Pelt, on the other hand, says she's barely making ends meet with the last of her stock sales. She is determined to get her fair share of the Playfood company, but she has turned her attention to an empty building on the West Side for a new business that she says will be even bigger than cashew cheese.
She pulls out a colorful business plan for FüD, a café with both cooked and raw cuisine. She has already designed sample menus with raw pizza and mock meats. She has applied for a loan from the Missouri Women's Business Center. She's circulating e-mails soliciting start-up capital from local vegetarians — if they give her $100, they'll get $120 worth of free food once the doors are open.
"I want it to be as recognizable as McDonald's," she says, brandishing the circular logo, the umlaut over the U making the letter a smiley face.
She says she feels foolish for getting so caught up in Smith's story. It's true what they say about Los Angeles, she says with a smirk. "It sucked me in and spit me out."
But, she admits, "I was definitely very immature. I mean, I married someone 16 years my junior."
Younger guys are in her blood, though — many of the women in her family married men more than 10 years younger. Rozzo is 26.
And even at 38, some part of her seems disinclined to grow up. She says she doesn't know where she'll be in five years.
"I see myself playing," she says. "I see myself doing whatever I want."
But that kind of ending happens only in Hollywood.