Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen, 42, sat down with Vanity Fair for an in-depth interview that finally peered into her new life as a single woman. Once her divorce from all-star quarterback Tom Brady, 45, was finalized last year, the two found themselves at the center of a media whirlwind. While people wondered if Tom Brady would ever retire (he finally did in February 2023), they also assumed the divorce was caused by Bündchen quite simply being sick and tired of being a football wife. Was she? Turns out, not really… but also yes.
So, they wanted “different things” and “grew apart” — pretty typical stuff, especially considering the Horizontina-born model assures, “If there’s one person I want to be the happiest in the world, it’s [Brady]… I want all his dreams to come true.” But Bündchen also shared juicier chisme about the start of their relationship, including finding out Brady’s ex-girlfriend was pregnant with his child just months into dating. While the model now counts Brady’s son with ex Bridget Moynahan as a blessing and a “bonus child,” it sure was “challenging” at the moment.
In light of that bombshell, we decided to take a look back at Bündchen and Brady’s 16-year relationship, all the way from its surprising start in 2006.
1. The two met on a blind date in December 2006
Bündchen shared with Vanity Fair that she and Brady were set up on a blind date in 2006 by Ed Razek, former CMO of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company. He was a mutual friend who the model must have been in contact since her much-documented start as a Victoria’s Secret Angel in 1999.
The December 2006 date with Brady came exactly one year after the model’s breakup with actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who she began dating in 2000. While many thought the five-year relationship was it for both of them (we’ll never forget all those cute paparazzi photos of the two bicycling around NYC together), they grew apart. Bündchen reflected in her memoir “Lessons” that she was inspired to “do some serious soul-searching while he stayed the same.”
That being said, meeting Brady at NYC wine bar Turks & Frogs felt like destiny to her. Back in 2009, she told Vanity Fair that she “knew right away” that he was the one.
She also told the outlet, “The moment I saw him, he smiled and I was like, ‘That is the most beautiful, charismatic smile I’ve ever seen!’” She continued, “You know that feeling of, like, you can’t get enough? From the first day we met, we’ve never spent one day without speaking to each other.”
2. In February 2007, things got a bit tricky for them
Nearly three months into their relationship, Brady found out his ex-girlfriend Bridget Moynahan was pregnant— with his child. The football player had reportedly dated the actress until meeting Bündchen in December 2006. The bombshell was a lot for Bündchen to take at the time, and she almost broke it off with Brady.
The supermodel wrote in her memoir, “Two months into our relationship, Tom told me that his ex-girlfriend was pregnant. The very next day, the news was everywhere and I felt my world had been turned upside down.” Meanwhile, she recently told Vanity Fair that it was “a challenging situation for all” of them, but sees now 15-year-old Jack as her “bonus child.” He was born in August 2007.
While Bündchen now says she has a “great relationship” with Moynahan, that wasn’t always the case. They didn’t even meet until a year after Jack was born, but eventually built a friendship. The model soon learned, “Love conquers all… My life became so much richer because I got to learn so much from that.” One more lesson? “Nothing is worth fighting [over].”
One more interesting detail? Brady becoming a dad gave Bündchen even more of a desire to have kids. She explained, “Jack came into our lives and I felt so blessed and it kind of awakened in me this desire of being a mom.”
3. First comes baby, then comes marriage (but not before an adorable engagement!)
The model and the football star were engaged in January 2009 after Brady told Bündchen her apartment was flooding and she had to rush over there. She described it all on Vogue’s 73 Questions: “He made up this whole story how my apartment was flooding, and I ran over there to try to fix the situation. When I got there, the whole apartment had candles and rose petals everywhere. And then he went down on his knees to propose.”
One hitch, though? Brady had just gotten surgery and had “three staph infections,” so she begged him, “Get up, please!” Still, she said yes.
The most insane part? They were married just one month later on February 26, 2009 in Santa Monica. Brady described the intimate nuptials to GQ: “We planned it in like 10 days, and it was perfect” (what?!). He continued, “We went back to the house and I barbecued aged New York strips. We had champagne, a cake, some ice cream. It was a great night. I think you always have this idea that weddings need to be 200 people and you invite everybody, and I’m all for it if people want to do that, but I think there was really something special about just having our parents there.”
Still, they had a second wedding in April 2009 in Costa Rica with their closest loved ones. Bündchen later said the couple wanted to “honor” their families’ wishes for them to have a “traditional marriage ceremony” in a church.
4. The famous couple then had their two children
Bündchen told Vanity Fair she was 100% ready for kids when she met Brady. “When I met Tom, I was 26 years old, and I wanted a family. I felt so ready.” Plus, when Moynahan had Jack, helping out with the baby was yet another turning point. She explained, “I’ve always dreamed of being a mom, but I think that happened a little faster than I thought, because now I have this beautiful little angel that I get to care for and love.”
The couple welcomed their first son, Benjamin Rein, in December 2009, who was later followed by daughter, Vivian Lake in December 2012. The model famously chose to have a water birth both times, which Brady wasn’t convinced about— but she was. At that point, the Brazilian star took a break from modeling and focused on Ben and Vivi.
“My world was them… 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.”
Bündchen asserts that she chose to take a break from her career in order to be a wolf-mom to her two kids. By 2015, she quit runway work, and called Boston home for much of their marriage — all so Brady could, of course, play for the New England Patriots.
5. Later, they moved to Tampa… and eventually divorced
Brady signed with Tampa Bay in 2020, which of course transported the entire family to Florida. The model described the move to Vanity Fair, “When we moved to Tampa, I actually had never been there before… I just arrived and that was my life.”
At that point, the football player’s back-and-forth decisions to retire (or not) were well-documented by the press. After winning his seventh Super Bowl with the Buccaneers in 2020, he announced his retirement in February 2022. However, he quickly made a U-turn on that decision, saying he actually was not going to retire just 40 days later.
Meanwhile, separation rumors between the model and athlete continued to swirl, with many citing Brady’s obsession with continuing to play as a possible reason. However, Bündchen asserts that wasn’t the case: “[The news cycle] made me somebody who is against football. Are you kidding me? I learned about it! I used to joke that I was going to be able to be the ref because I’ve watched so many games. And I loved it.”
The model explains all that was said was just “one piece of a much bigger puzzle,” and the two had been drifting apart for quite some time.
She said, “Sometimes you grow together; sometimes you grow apart.” And although they both wanted a marriage and a family in their late 20s, eventually they wanted “different things.”
Now on the heels of their finalized October 2022 divorce, the model can now say: “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.”