Gisele Bündchen is ready to talk openly about what really led her and former football player Tom Brady to end their 13-year marriage. The model spoke to Vanity Fair about how media reports on their split didn’t begin to capture what really happened, along with how devastating the outcome was to her. Turns out, marriages aren’t built or broken overnight: “That takes years to happen,” she said.
Media coverage suggesting Bündchen gave Brady, who famously retired and then un-retired from the NFL, an ultimatum between his football career and their marriage was “very hurtful” and “the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“Listen, I have always cheered for him, and I would continue forever,” Bündchen said. “If there’s one person I want to be the happiest in the world, it’s him, believe me. 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.”
She said that “everything” written about their split wasn’t true, particularly the characterization of Bündchen being done with the relationship after Brady committed to playing one more season of football. “What’s been said is one piece of a much bigger puzzle,” Bündchen said. “It’s not so black and white.”
The two gradually drifted: “Sometimes you grow together; sometimes you grow apart,” she said. “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,’” she continued. “You set them free to be who they are, and if you want to fly the same direction, then that’s amazing.”
Bündchen called the end of their marriage “the death of my dream. It’s tough because you imagine your life was going to be a certain way, and you did everything you could, you know?” Her voice broke, and after composing herself, she added, “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. 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.”
She and Brady are on good terms. “We’re not playing against each other,” Bündchen said “We are a team, and that’s beautiful. I look back and I have no regrets. I loved every bit of it.”
Senior News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.