Gisele Bündchen breaks silence on split from Tom Brady: ‘When you love someone, you set them free’

For the first time since the divorce, the Brazilian model open up about her relationship to the American football player, and why it ended

Gisele Bündchen at the New York Metropolitan Museum Gala in New York on May 6, 2019.
Gisele Bündchen at the New York Metropolitan Museum Gala in New York on May 6, 2019.Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images)

One of the biggest celebrity breakups of 2022 was that of Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen, 42, and former American football player Tom Brady, 45. After 13 years of marriage, the couple decided to split. Now, for the first time, Bündchen has spoken about why the two decided to part ways.

Until now, the official reasons for their breakup were unknown. Many U.S. media outlets argued that the divorce was related to Brady’s decision to return to American football just 40 days after announcing his retirement in February. In an interview with Elle, Bündchen hinted that she was not pleased with his decision. “Obviously, I have my concerns — this is a very violent sport, and I have my children and I would like him to be more present,” she told the magazine in September.

Now, in a new interview with Vanity Fair, the Brazilian model has provided more details about her feelings. “I don’t want to be limited. I want to spread my wings and fly,” she told the magazine, describing herself as a broken bird flying free. Bündchen described the divorce as “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?” She continued: “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,” she said. “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.”

For many years, Bündchen was the highest-paid model in the world, but she decided to stop walking the runway in 2015, and a few years later moved to Florida with Brady. “When we moved to Tampa, I actually had never been there before. I just arrived and that was my life,” she explained.

Bündchen and Brady met on a blind date in December 2006. She was 26 years old at the time and coming out of her breakup with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Two months into the relationship, Brady told Bündchen that his then very recent ex-girlfriend, actress Bridget Moynahan, was three months pregnant. Looking back, nearly two decades later, she said it was “a challenging situation for all of us.” But she said she embraced Brady’s son Jack as her “bonus child.”

“Jack came into our lives and I felt so blessed and it kind of awakened in me this desire of being a mom,” she told Vanity Fair. Brady and Bündchen have two children together, Benjamin, 13, and Vivian, 10.

The media assumed the timeline for the divorce was: Brady decides to retire, backtracks, and the couple splits up. But in the Vanity Fair interview, Bündchen said that marriages aren’t built or broken overnight: “That takes years to happen.” At the beginning of the relationship, the two had the same goal — to start a family — but things changed. “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,” she explained.

“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,” she added.

Bündchen said that while their relationship may be over, she will always support Brady and want the best for him. “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.

Since Brady and Bündchen confirmed their separation, the Brazilian model has been romantically linked with Joaquim Valente, her jiujitsu instructor. But Bündchen told Vanity Fair the rumors weren’t true. “Unfortunately, because I’m divorced, I’m sure that they’re going to try to attach me to anything,” she said. “He’s our teacher and, most importantly, he’s a person that I admire and that I trust. It’s so good to have that kind of energy, to have my kids around that type of energy.”

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