It’s no surprise why Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady splitting up garnered so much attention. Here are two overtly beautiful, talented and supremely successful people, with a loving family life and so much going for them—what could come between them?
Yet, it is a truth not-so-universally acknowledged, that ‘having everything’ from the outside doesn’t necessarily translate to an easy-breezy life where all your dreams come true. For Bündchen, leaving her marriage was an end to that idyllic dream.
After 13 years of marriage, she told Vanity Fair, “it’s like a death and a rebirth.”
“It’s tough because you imagine your life was going to be a certain way, and you did everything you could, you know?”
It’s at this point that writer Michelle Ruiz noticed the Brazilian model welling up. She described Bündchen taking a few yogi-style breaths before continuing.
“I believed in fairy tales when I was a kid. I think it’s beautiful to believe in that. I mean, I’m so grateful I did,” she says.
She added, “You give everything you got to achieve your dream…You give a hundred percent of yourself, and it’s heartbreaking when it doesn’t end up the way you hoped for, and worked for, but you can only do your part.”
Of course, it did not help that there were countless headlines alleging that Gisele had called a sort of ultimatum on the marriage: continue football and divorce, or retire and we’ll work at it.
These whispers were fuelled by a series of events, starting with headlines that they were ‘on the rocks’, followed by Brady retiring with Bündchen’s support, then un-retiring just 40 days later. Then came his nearly week-and-a-half break from the NFL team citing ‘personal reasons’, and their eventual split announcement.
Yet, she denies the “very hurtful” allegations that it came down to one moment. She says it’s the “craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“If there’s one person I want to be the happiest in the world, it’s him, believe me,” she says, getting emotional. “I want him to achieve and to conquer. I want all his dreams to come true. That’s what I want, really, from the bottom of my heart.”
When asked if there were falsities in the coverage of her split, she says it was “everything.”
“What’s been said is one piece of a much bigger puzzle,” Bündchen said. “It’s not so black and white.”
“Sometimes you grow together; sometimes you grow apart,” she adds. “When I was 26 years old and he was 29 years old, we met, we wanted a family, we wanted things together. As time goes by, we realize that we just wanted different things, and now we have a choice to make. That doesn’t mean you don’t love the person. It just means that in order for you to be authentic and truly live the life that you want to live, you have to have somebody who can meet you in the middle, right? It’s a dance. It’s a balance.”
“When you love someone, you don’t put them in a jail and say, ‘You have to live this life.’ You set them free to be who they are, and if you want to fly the same direction, then that’s amazing.”
For Bündchen, it’s also the start of a new and simple life, living mainly in Costa Rica with an abode in Miami close to Brady, to make co-parenting work.
It’s been a long time since she has been able to be completely independent and self-guided. Bündchen admits that she was happy to reduce the time she spent modelling and relocate from Boston to Florida to support Brady and their future brood.
“Do you know how grateful I am that I got that time for myself? I breastfed my kids until they were almost two years old. I was taking them to school every day. I was making them breakfast, lunch… I was there,” she said.
Now her kids are getting older she’s keen to pursue new goals. “I have my own dreams,” she says. “You want to show [the children] that. In life, you have to find real fulfillment, not living something that you’re not.”
On her new dreams? Well, Bündchen intends to raise the kids in Costa Rica whenever possible, and ensure they go to Brazil with her regularly, to be involved in their own heritage. She’s also building a solar-powered house, where she hopes to be self-sufficient. One day, she hopes to found a wellness centre in the area too.
Since her split there have been numerous rumours linking Bündchen with various other men, and she admits that it’s something people try to do to divorcées in the public eye. She has a bit of a ‘it comes with the territory’ viewpoint.
But her message?
“I’m a simple girl who wants to be in nature—leave me alone. I just want to go do my job and raise my children in peace.”
And honestly? Same girl.