Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen announced their divorce on Friday, ending a 13-year marriage between two superstars who reached the pinnacles of fashion and football.
The announcement came during Brady’s 23rd NFL season, just months after the seven-time Super Bowl champion ended his brief retirement.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, who had long expressed a desire to spend more time with Bündchen and his three children, announced his retirement in February, only to reverse his decision 40 days later.
“What else do you need to prove?” Bündchen told Brady on the sidelines after his last, record-breaking Super Bowl victory, which Brady later recounted.
Despite initially stating that his retirement would allow him to devote his “time and energy to other things that require my attention,” Brady’s motivation to return was “unfinished business” with the Buccaneers. Last season, the team failed to reach the Super Bowl in their attempt to repeat as champions.
Bündchen told “CBS This Morning” in 2017 that she was worried about her husband after he suffered a concussion the year before. Brady’s former team, the New England Patriots, and his agent both declined to respond to her remarks at the time, and an NFL spokesperson said there were no records indicating he had suffered a head injury. Brady later stated that he would prefer to keep his medical history private.
During the interview, Bündchen stated, “I mean, we don’t talk about it. However, he has had concussions. I don’t think it’s a good thing for anyone to go through.”
She recently claimed that the portrayal in media reports that she was desperate for her husband to retire was sexist.
“Obviously, I have my reservations. “This is a very violent sport, and I have children, and I would like him to be more present,” the supermodel said in September to Elle magazine. “I’ve definitely had those conversations with him numerous times. But, in the end, I believe that everyone must make a decision that is best for them. He, too, must follow his joy.”
Bündchen and Brady met through a mutual friend and married – twice – just over two years later. They exchanged vows in early 2009 at a Catholic church in Santa Monica, California, in front of family and close friends, followed by an equally intimate second wedding nearly two months later at her home in Costa Rica.
Later that year, their son Benjamin was born, followed by a daughter, Vivian, in 2012. Brady also has a 15-year-old son from a previous relationship with actress Bridget Moynahan, Jack Moynahan.
Bündchen, who was discovered by a modeling scout at the age of 13 in Brazil, rose to become one of the industry’s highest-paid models by the 2000s and became a tabloid fixture due to her relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio. She walked the runways of top designers, appeared in campaigns for high street and high fashion brands alike, became a Victoria’s Secret Angel, and appeared in small film roles, including “The Devil Wears Prada.”
In 2015, she took a break from modeling, abandoning runway work and limiting herself to a few advertising campaigns and magazine covers per year. She made one notable exception, crossing a 400-foot (120-meter) runway in a glistening gown and a huge smile in 2016 at the Rio Olympics while fellow Brazilian Daniel Jobim performed “The Girl from Ipanema.”
Since reducing her modeling commitments, she has devoted herself to environmental activism, particularly the conservation of the Amazon rainforest, as well as business ventures such as eco-friendly skin care and a lingerie line. She has also spoken out about mental health, revealing crippling panic attacks that led her to consider suicide and criticizing unrealistic beauty standards.
Above all, Bündchen told Elle, her family was her top priority.
“I’ve done my part, which was to be present” (Tom). I moved to Boston with the intention of creating a cocoon and a loving environment for my children to grow up in, as well as being there to support him and his dreams,” she explained. “It makes me happy to see my children succeed and grow into the beautiful little humans that they are, and to see him succeed and be fulfilled in his career. I feel like I’ve done a good job on that at this point in my life.”
She said she has her own plans after years in Boston, where Brady played for the Patriots, and then moving to Tampa with him in 2020: “I have a huge list of things that I have to do, that I want to do. At 42, I feel more connected to my mission.”
Brady turned 45 in August, when he left the Buccaneers for personal reasons for 11 days. The team approved of the leave, referring to it as a pre-planned break agreed upon prior to the start of training camp in July.
Brady, a three-time NFL MVP and the league’s all-time leader in yards passing and touchdowns, has also signed a 10-year contract worth $375 million to become Fox Sports’ lead football analyst once he retires. While Brady has expressed interest in playing into his late 40s if he stays healthy, his now ex-wife had a different idea back in 2017.
“That kind of aggression all the time can’t be good for you,” she said in the CBS interview. “I’m hoping he’ll be healthy and do a lot of fun things when we’re like 100.”