Trigger Warning: this article mentions mental health and suicide and may be distressing to some readers.
Over the past few months, there has been a very clear rise and fall for the ‘queen of social media’ Chrissy Teigen.
However, her controversial opinions weren’t the entire reason for her downfall, it was a string of bullying and harassment allegations laid against her, as a result of several Tweets from as far back as 10 years ago.
Stodden—who identifies as nonbinary and prefers ‘they/them’ pronouns—took to the internet to call out the model’s past online treatment of her, claiming that she received horrific tweets and direct messages, including comments that allegedly encouraged harm. And while Teigen has since apologised publicly, and supposedly privately, the dominoes continue to fall.
Below, everything you need to know about the Chrissy Teigen and Courtney Stodden controversy and the repercussions from the accusations.
March 2021: Chrissy Teigen Deactivates Twitter Due To “Online Negativity”
Once one of the most prominent voices on the platform, Teigen deactivated her account on March 24, citing years of “negativity” that left her “deeply bruised”.
Sharing a series of tweets before she officially hit ‘delete’ on her profile, she wrote: “This no longer serves me as positively as it serves me negatively, and I think that’s the right time to call something.”
“For over 10 years, you guys have been my world,” another tweet read. “I honestly owe so much to this world we have created here. I truly consider so many of you my actual friends. But it’s time for me to say goodbye.”
“I encourage you to know and never forget that your words matter. No matter what you see, what that person portrays, or your intention. For years I have taken so many small, 2-follower count punches that at this point, I am honestly deeply bruised.”
Not long after she hit ‘delete’, Teigen took to Instagram, her last remaining account that currently boasts 34 million followers, to explain her departure.
“It’s not the platform. It’s not the ‘bullying’. And it’s not the trolls. The trolls I can deal with, although it weighs on you,” she wrote, sharing a screenshot of her deactivated Twitter account.
She continued: “It’s just me. I have to come to terms with the fact some people aren’t gonna like me,”
“Someone can’t read that they disappointed you in some way every single day, all day without physically absorbing that energy,” she added. “I can feel it in my bones.”
However, her departure was short-lived. By April 16, Teigen made a return to the platform, after less than a month away.
“Turns out it feels TERRIBLE to silence yourself and also no longer enjoy belly chuckles randomly throughout the day and also lose like 2000 friends at once lol,” Teigen tweeted, adding that “I choose to take the bad with the good!!”
In response to a follower who asked her what she’s been up to while away from the platform, Teigen replied, “I’ve spent weeks just saying tweets to shampoo bottles.”
May 2021: Courtney Stodden Accuses Teigen Of Bullying
Not long after Teigen returned to the internet, Courtney Stodden criticised the Cravings author and claimed that Teigen had been bullying them over Twitter for years.
As per TMZ, screenshots were shared of the alleged tweets that Teigen had written to Stodden years prior, which included hateful and threatening speech, like: “I hate you” and “go. to sleep. forever.”
The reasoning behind Teigen’s apparent outrage was because, back in 2011, Stodden made headlines for marrying 51-year-old acting coach, Doug Hutchison, when she was only 16.
Naturally, the public had a field day over the news which resulted in a plethora of harassment toward a then-teenage Stodden, as per a recent profile with the Daily Beast.
“She wouldn’t just publicly tweet about wanting me to take ‘a dirt nap’ but would privately DM me and tell me to kill myself,” Stodden claimed. “Things like, ‘I can’t wait for you to die.’”
May 2021: Teigen Apologises For Past Behaviour Toward Stodden
Almost immediately after Stodden’s accusations, Teigen took to Twitter to publicly apologise, claiming that she felt “mortified” over the type of person she used to be when the Tweets were published.
“Not a lot of people are lucky enough to be held accountable for all their past bullshit in front of the entire world. I’m mortified and sad at who I used to be. I was an insecure, attention seeking troll,” she tweeted on May 12.
“I am ashamed and completely embarrassed at my behaviour but that is nothing compared to how I made Courtney feel. I have worked so hard to give you guys joy and be beloved and the feeling of letting you down is nearly unbearable, truly. These were not my only mistakes and surely won’t be my last as hard as I try but god I will try!!”
She continued, “I have tried to connect with Courtney privately but since I publicly fuelled all this, I want to also publicly apologise,”
“I’m so sorry, Courtney. I hope you can heal now knowing how deeply sorry I am. And I am so sorry I let you guys down. I will forever work on being better than I was 10 years ago, 1 year ago, 6 months ago.”
However, while Stodden accepted her apology, they made it clear that Teigen never reached out to them, even claiming that Teigen had also blocked their account on Twitter, proving her accusation with a screenshot.
“I accept her apology and forgive her. But the truth remains the same, I have never heard from her or her camp in private,” Stodden wrote on Instagram.
“In fact, she blocked me on Twitter. All of me wants to believe this is a sincere apology, but it feels like a public attempt to save her partnerships with Target and other brands who are realising her ‘wokeness’ is a broken record.”
May 2021: Teigen’s Kitchenware Line Is Removed From American Retailers, Reportedly Due To The Controversy
On May 16, outlets reported that Teigen’s Cravings kitchen line had been removed from US department stores, Macy’s and Target, following the accusations made by Stodden.
According to reports, the kitchen items in the Cravings by Chrissy Teigen line were marked “unavailable” on the Macy’s website, and mere hours later, they no longer appeared on the website at all.
In a report by The Sun, the same kitchen items were also removed from Target’s website, however, the brand has insisted that the removal of goods was a mutual decision made prior to the bullying allegations.
When Stodden’s story originally broke, many fans publicly vowed to boycott Target until they ceased carrying a range of products, created by someone who “admitted to encouraging teen suicide”.
June 2021: Teigen Reportedly Steps Down From Role in Never Have I Ever Season 2 Following New Bullying Allegations Against Lindsay Lohan And Farrah Abraham
On June 4, Variety reported that Teigen had chosen to step down from her voice over role in a season two episode of Mindy Kaling’s Netflix comedy Never Have I Ever.
Assumed to be as a result of the controvery with Stodden, several other past posts from Teigen emerged before the news was announced, including one from January 16, 2011 which encourage Lindsay Lohan to self harm, saying: “Lindsay adds a few more slits to her wrists when she sees Emma Stone.”
Additionally, Teen Mom alum Farrah Abraham called Teigen an “unfit person for society” after she allegedly sex shamed her in a now deleted tweet from 2013.
“Farrah Abraham now thinks she is pregnant from her sex tape. In other news you’re a w***e and everyone hates you whoops not other news sorry,” she tweet apparently said.
In an interview with Fox News, Abraham admitted her disgust with the apparent comment Teigen made.
“It‘s really just a pathetic statement after someone has gone to therapy publicly for sex shaming, working through my own depression, bereavement, and vulnerabilities at that time. I don‘t even say the words she says.”
June 2021: Kris Jenner Reportedly Removes Teigen From Their Cleaning Brand, Safely
As of June 8, Kardashian ‘momager’, Kris Jenner, has apparently removed Teigen from the cleaning product brand, Safely, that they share, amid the bullying accusations.
According to The Sun, their range of products have “tanked” following the allegations levelled against the model-turned-cookbook-star.
“Kris Jenner has been in crisis mode for weeks with Chrissy’s scandal,” an insider told the publication. “She likes Chrissy but she’s a numbers girl first and their sales tanked after all of Chrissy’s tweets came out.”
The inside added that the controversy has become the “worst-case scenario” for the brand, especially due to poor timing after launching mere days before Stodden’s interview with the Daily Beast.
As per the insider, the company was forced to “completely change” its marketing strategy and have been forced to cut Teigen from all promotional material in an effort to replenish the brand’s reputation.
“They know they can’t show Chrissy anymore but her with her kids was originally the whole appeal of the brand,” the source revealed. “It’s been a very pricey mistake.”
On June 21, the Safely brand released an official statement on Instagra, confirming Teigen’s removal from the brand.
“Chrissy will be stepping away from Safely to take much needed time to focus on herself and be with her family,” the statement read.
“We fully support her decision and are so thankful for her contributions. The brand will continue to move forward and focus on our important mission of bringing high quality, hard-working cleaning products to all American households.”
June 2021: Teigen Issues A Lengthy Public Apology After A Month-Long Social Media Hiatus
Taking to writing platform Medium on June 14—after nearly a month off the social media grid—Chrissy Teigen publicly apologised over the controversial bullying allegations against her name.
In her statement, she wrote that she had “been sitting in a hole of deserved global punishment, the ultimate ‘sit here and think about what you’ve done.’”
“Not a day, not a single moment has passed where I haven’t felt the crushing weight of regret for the things I’ve said in the past.” She added that she was “truly ashamed” of her past “awful (awful, awful)” tweets.
“There is simply no excuse for my past horrible tweets,” Teigen wrote. “My targets didn’t deserve them. No one does. Many of them needed empathy, kindness, understanding and support, not my meanness masquerading as a kind of casual, edgy humour. I was a troll, full stop. And I am so sorry.”
From there, Teigen also revealed that she’s currently attempting to privately reach out to people she had insulted in the past, explaining that she originally began using social media to “snark at some celebrities.”
“If there was a pop culture pile-on, I took to Twitter to try to gain attention and show off what I at the time believed was a crude, clever, harmless quip. I thought it made me cool and relatable if I poked fun at celebrities,” she admitted.
She continued: “In reality, I was insecure, immature and in a world where I thought I needed to impress strangers to be accepted.”
“I wasn’t just attacking some random avatar, but hurting young women—some who were still girls—who had feelings. How could I not stop and think of that?” she said.
Ensuring that the public didn’t see the statement as a grab for attention, Teigen reiterated her intentions for the letter.
“I’m not a victim here,” she said, but added that she was “no longer the person who wrote those horrible things” after marrying John Legend, starting a family and regularly attending therapy.
“We are all more than our worst moments,” Teigen wrote. “I won’t ask for your forgiveness, only your patience and tolerance. I ask that you allow me, as I promise to allow you, to own past mistakes and be given the opportunity to seek self-improvement and change.”
June 2021: Fashion Designer, Michael Costello, Admits He Had “Thoughts Of Suicide” After Bullying By Teigen
Mere hours after Teigen’s lengthy apology for her part in the bullying allegations against Courtney Stodden, Project Runway alum, Michael Costello, took to Instagram (in a post that’s since been deleted), claiming that Teigen attempted to ruin his career and allegedly bullied him through direct messages.
“I didn’t want to do this, but I can not be happy until I speak my mind. I need to heal and in order for me to do that I must reveal what I’ve been going through,” he wrote. “I wanted to kill myself and I still am traumatised, depressed, and have thoughts of suicide.”
The designer claims that Teigen’s harassment against him began after she left a comment on his Instagram page in 2014, to which she accused Costello of racism after seeing a racist comment, that Costello claims was fake and was altered by a “former disgruntled employee” to publicly embarrass him.
“When I reached out to Chrissy Teigen to communicate that I was the victim of a vindictive cyber slander, and the everything she thought I was is not who I am, she told me that my career was over and that all my doors will be shut from there on,” Costello said. “And wow, did she live up to her words.”
Costello claims that he was informed by friends and colleagues that Teigen and stylist, Monica Rose, had apparently “gone out of their way to threaten people and brands that, if they were in any shape or form associated with me, they would not work with any of them.”
“So many nights I stayed awake, wanting to kill myself. I didn’t see the point of living,” Costello revealed, admitting that he wrote personal letters for his family and friends as he prepared for a suicide attempt. “I wish no harm on anyone and I don’t wanna go back-and-forth fighting with anyone. I just want people to realise that I, too, am human and this was the most inhuman treatment to ever be endured by someone who has seen their decades of hard work, years of building a brand, crumbled from one comment.”
Costello also shared images of the alleged DMs with Teigen, showing that she refused to believe the designer’s claims that the racist comment she saw was fake.
“Racist people like you deserve to suffer and die,” Teigen allegedly wrote. “You might as well be dead. Your career is over, just watch.”
June 2021: Teigen Releases Another Lengthy Statement, Claiming Costello’s Direct Messages Were Fake
On June 19, Teigen shared a statement on her Instagram from her lawyers, claiming that Costello doctored the images allegedly showing her bullying him.
“Chrissy is completely surprised and disappointed by Michael Costello’s recent attack, which includes fictional ‘screenshots’ from 2014 of supposed private messages that Chrissy did not send,” the statement reads.
“In October 2014, she did post a comment on Mr. Costello’s Instagram when he was publicly accused of making a racist remark,” the statement said. “After he denied the accusation and claimed it was based on a photoshopped comment, Chrissy deleted the comment, as was reported at the time.
“Chrissy has never conspired with anyone to harm his career. The stylist he also attacked in his recent comments was not a part of Chrissy’s team until 2016 and did nothing to harm Mr. Costello.”
The statement adds that Teigen has only ever had minimal communication with Costello over Instagram. Between 2018 to 2019, after Costello’s apparently doctored racist comment, Costello commented on posts on her Instagram Stories about a variety of topics, but never received a response from Teigen.
“In one from 2018, he commented on an Instagram Story photo and said her lipstick ‘looks beautiful,’” read the statement.
“Another from 2019, said a photo of food ‘looks amazing.’ On the 28th of January 2019, he asked her, ‘are you going to the Grammys?’
It continues: “Over the years, Chrissy suggested her stylists connect with Mr. Costello for red carpet events, but ultimately other designers’ work was chosen,”
“When the supposed screenshots from 2014 were originally circulated last week, the name on Chrissy’s account was misspelled. Several media outlets recognised this and chose not to run it, since it was clearly manipulated,”
“This week, the fabricated screenshots were cleaned up with the correct spelling of Chrissy’s social media handle’ however, they could not actually be from 2014 because they feature elements that were not a part of the Instagram app in 2014.”
Taking to Instagram, Teigen claimed that while she believes Costello faked the screenshots, she doesn’t want fans to “bully this man under the masquerade of defending me.” Although, if it continues, she says she isn’t afraid of taking things to the “court of law.”
However, after Teigen received further backlash, her husband John Legend chose to speak out in her defence, calling the direct messages fake. To add to his claim, Legend shared a link to an article on Business Insider that allegedly debunks Michael’s claims.
Since Teigen and Legend’s reponses, Costello took to Instagram to share his final words on the matter, saying:
“The fact that Chrissy Teigen and her crisis team are working so hard, so strategically to come out against the DMs she sent me, and to downplay the comments she publicly posted on my Instagram, only proves that she is the same bully she has always been.”
“This has been like a nightmare, not just for me, but for my family,” he wrote. “I apologise to everyone else involved in this messy situation, and I apologise for all the stress and trauma it has caused.
“Everyone is hurting. It’s a messy situation for everyone. But I spoke the truth and I Have nothing left to say and nothing left in me to keep fighting against her.”
Costello ended his statement by announcing a break from social media to focus on his mental health, concluding by asking the public to “respect my privacy, my decision.”