For five years, supermodel Gisele Bündchen and actor Leonardo DiCaprio had the type of 'it' couple status that even a casting director couldn't have dreamed up.
She was a Victoria's Secret Angel at the top of her game and he was one of the most respected actors in Hollywood and theirs was a love story well-documented by the emerging paparazzi culture. Gisele is now happily married to NFL star Tom Brady for the last 10 years and DiCaprio's relationship with Gisele remains his longest ever, but she has finally opened up about the logic behind their split. She was working and playing hard but was also secretly battling panic attacks which became so crippling that she had suicidal thoughts and eventually prompted her to adopt a healthier lifestyle. She practiced yoga daily, fell in love with exercise and cut out sugar, alcohol and cigarettes and looked at her relationship through a more honest lens.
“When I was going through my panic attacks, I didn’t even feel like I could share with anyone,” she said. “I thought maybe I don’t have the right, everybody is going through so many difficult things in the world, and I don’t have the right to feel this way. So I’d suppress it, and the more I suppressed it, the bigger it became.”
“No longer numbing myself with smoking, drinking and too much work, I was becoming more and more aware of things that I’d chosen not to look at,” she wrote in her memoirs Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life. “Was I alone in wanting to do some serious soul-searching while he stayed the same? In the end, unfortunately, the answer was yes.”
After splitting in 2005, she met her husband Tom Brady one year later on a blind date and describes him as "someone you can count on. It's a quality I hadn't experienced in any of my other romantic relationships. I love my husband and most of all, I trust him. With Tom, who provides our family with a stable foundation, I'm able to create a home."
Last year, while promoting her book, Gisele told People that she was found her anxiety to be crippling at the height of her career.
“It felt like everything in my life was going to kill me,” she said. “First it was the airplanes, then elevators. Then it was tunnels and hotels and modelling studios and cars. Now it was my own apartment. Everything had become a cage, and I was the animal trapped inside, panting for air. I couldn’t see a way out, and I couldn’t stand another day of feeling this way.”
“The idea swept over me: Maybe it will be easier if I just jump. It will be all over. I can get out of this,” she wrote. “When I think back on that moment, and that 23-year-old girl, I want to cry. I want to tell her that everything will be all right, that she hasn’t even begun to live her life. But in that moment, the only answer seemed to be to jump.”
She has since recovered crediting her healthy lifestyle and counselling.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article please contact Samaritans helpline 116 123 or Aware helpline 1800 80 48 48 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247.
Victoria’s Secret is synonymous with sexy and for years, it dictated exactly what sexy was - and more specifically how it looked. For older generations, the brand became a mainstay because of its now defunct catalogue and for Gen Z-ers, it’s displayed as an aspiration through Instagram.