Leonardo DiCaprio and Gisele Bündchen were one of the hottest couples to hit the early 2000s. Their on and off 5-year relationship made all the headlines and was nothing short of rock and roll!

After all, she was one of the top Victoria Secret Models–one of the originals–and he was one of the most respected and sought after actors in Hollywood, still at his prime. Both of them worked hard and partied even harder. Any onlooker would have taken a look at the glamorous couple and thought they made the perfect pair.

However, as most of us may be aware of, appearances can be deceiving. While the pair were looked like they were having fun, underneath, Gisele was struggling with anxiety, depression, and debilitating panic attacks. 

Gisele was afraid to open up

Even though we have greatly advanced in our discussions surrounding the topic, mental health remains difficult for many to open up about. Back in the 90s, it was even more of a taboo subject, especially if you were a rising celebrity.

I didn’t feel like I could share my panic attacks with anyone, so I’d suppress it, and the more I suppressed it, the bigger it became.

Gisele Bündchen to Elle Magazine

Guilt made her worse

Gisele’s downward emotional spiral was made worse by feeling like she didn’t have the right to be unhappy. She was successful, beautiful, and at the height of her career – what could she be unhappy about?

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. 

Gisele Bündchen

And we all know how dangerous suppressed emotion can be.

In an interview with Porter magazine, Gisele revealed that she became so depressed that she even considered jumping off a balcony. Ultimately, these suicidal thoughts prompted her to seek help. It was the wake up call she needed. 

So she began stripping away everything in her life that wasn’t good for her. 

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.

Gisele Bündchen

Her doctor had prescribed Gisele some Xanax. However, even though she had hit rock bottom, and anti-anxiety meds could have been the easy option, she refused to take them and decided to change her lifestyle instead.

Making positive changes also means eliminating things

Rather than “living out of a suitcase, and existing on mocha frappuccinos, cigarettes and wine”, Gisele cut back on her modeling work and also cut out sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. She immersed herself in spiritual practices such as yoga and meditation and spent more time with her family.

During this awakening process, Gisele also realized that her and Leo had grown apart, and perhaps, he was not what she needed in her life.

In her book Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life, Gisele wrote: “Was I alone in wanting to do some serious soul-searching while he stayed the same? In the end, unfortunately, the answer was yes.”

Meeting the love of her life

After breaking up with Leo in 2006, Gisele worked on herself for over a year before meeting American football quarterback, Tom Brady.  The couple met on a blind date that a mutual friend had arranged and both admit that it was love at first sight.

As Gisele tells Vanity Fair, “I knew right away—the first time I saw him.”

[He] smiled and I was like, ‘That is the most beautiful, charismatic smile I’ve ever seen!’

Gisele Bündchen to Vanity Fair

But two months after they started dating, they found out that Tom’s ex Bridget Moynahan was pregnant. This caused a temporary rift in the relationship where Gisele admits that she “wanted to run away.”

Yet, 8 years later she says, “I couldn’t have asked for a sweeter bonus child”.

The ups and downs made them stronger

Even though it’s not always been easy for Gisele and Tom, their love for each other has stayed strong. 

We’ve been through so many ups and downs in so many ways that it’s kind of built our relationship so strong.

Tom Brady to Access Hollywood

Gisele tells CBS, “I think no matter how challenging it was, we’ve always been supportive of one another”.

Doing the right thing isn’t always easy

Gisele has mentioned in numerous interviews that she dearly loved Leo, but she just knew he wasn’t right for her. It can be a terrifying thing to realize that your life doesn’t fit who you have now become. 

And even though it can be heartbreaking to let go of a relationship that isn’t working for you anymore, it’s much better than staying in a relationship that’s wrong for you.

The truth is, the more you begin to feel like yourself, the more you realize what’s not right for you, and the easier it becomes to make better choices for yourself. 

Trust yourself, as only you know what’s right for you.

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