We present a variational void coalescence model that includes all the essential ingredients of failure in ductile porous metals. The model is an extension of the variational void growth model by Weinberg et al. (Comput Mech 37:142-152, 2006). The extended model contains all the deformation phases in ductile porous materials, i.e. elastic deformation, plastic deformation including deviatoric and volumetric (void growth) plasticity followed by damage initiation and evolution due to void coalescence. Parametric studies have been performed to assess the model's dependence on the different input parameters. The model is then validated against uniaxial loading experiments for different materials. We finally show the model's ability to predict the damage mechanisms and fracture surface profile of a notched round bar under tension as observed in experiments. © Springer-Verlag 2011.