But in her new book, Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life, the 38-year-old reveals her struggles with mental health, saying she once suffered panic attacks so bad that she contemplated suicide.
Gisele says that she had her first panic attack during a bumpy flight on a small plane in 2003 and after that developed a fear of enclosed spaces, including elevators.
“I had a wonderful position in my career, I was very close to my family, and I always considered myself a positive person, so I was really beating myself up. Like, ‘Why should I be feeling this?’ I felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel bad,” she says.
“But I felt powerless. Your world becomes smaller and smaller, and you can’t breathe, which is the worst feeling I’ve ever had.”
“Things can be looking perfect on the outside, but you have no idea what’s really going on,” Gisele tells PEOPLE, ahead of her book launch.
The former Victoria's Secret Angel says that when her panic attacks were at their worst, she contemplated suicide. “I actually had the feeling of, ‘If I just jump off my balcony, this is going to end, and I never have to worry about this feeling of my world closing in.’ ”
A specialist prescribed Gisele Xanax, but she ultimately decided she didn’t want to rely on medication. “The thought of being dependent on something felt, in my mind, even worse, because I was like, ‘What if I lose that [pill]? Then what? Am I going to die?’ The only thing I knew was, I needed help.”
Gisele joins a long list of celebrities who have spoken out about their battles with mental health in an attempt to break the stigma attached to it.