Gisele Bündchen: With Tom Brady at your side, everything changed

For years, Gisele Bündchen traveled around the world as a successful model. With Tom Brady at her side, she seems to have arrived.

Gisele Bündchen can already look back on a successful and fulfilling life – she is just celebrating her 40th birthday today, Monday (July 20). The Brazilian with German roots has a husband and children, a well-stocked account and a life that most of her around 16 million Instagram followers dream of. There are also dark sides to the former "Victoria's Secret" beauty, who was born in 1980 in the small Brazilian town of Três de Maio.

When the girl's dream became a nightmare

At the end of the nineties Bündchen celebrated her big breakthrough as a model, at that time under the nickname "The Body". In 1999, at the age of 19, she signed a contract with the US fashion company "Victoria's Secret", which should bring her a lot of money over the years. She named the business magazine "Forbes" a total of 14 times as the best-earning model in the industry. But money alone didn't make the 40-year-old happy.

Bündchen apparently had to struggle increasingly with the physical and psychological consequences that everyday model life brings. In her autobiography "Lessons: My Way to a Meaningful Life" she wrote: "Everything had become a cage and I was the animal that was trapped in it and gasped." In 2007, she finally gave up working with the lingerie manufacturer. Two years earlier, her relationship with Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio (45, "Inception") had collapsed, with whom she had been dating between 2000 and 2005.

A new life alongside Tom Brady

There followed a change in the life of the model. Bündchen sought medical help and found his way back to himself through yoga and meditation. A new love also knocked on the door. She met her current husband, American football star Tom Brady (42) in 2006 on a blind date arranged by friends. According to the Brazilian, it was love at first sight.

The couple got engaged and celebrated their wedding in 2009. The same year, son Benjamin was born, followed in 2012 by daughter Vivian. Brady's twelve-year-old son John also comes from an earlier relationship. Bündchen does not see herself as a stepmother for the boy – rather as a "bonus mother", as she said on Instagram in February of this year.

In this way, she has had a lasting impact on the model world

Meanwhile, more precisely since 2015, the model has said goodbye to the catwalks of this world. The priorities are now somewhere else. For example, Bündchen is committed to climate protection, for example. When she used to walk the catwalk, she now takes to the streets for "Fridays For Future" demonstrations. Nevertheless, her influence on the fashion scene is still noticeable – which is related to her great discipline.

The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung" told Bündchen in April 2019: During active model times, she would always have appeared on the set at six in the morning – her colleagues would not. "It was then said: 'If Gisele manages to be there …'", the model recalled the words of the customers and agents at the time. "So I made sure that fashion is a bit more professional today."