But Bündchen was never your typical WAG. Even after going to “the Valley,” her apt name for the mom-dominant phase of her career, her modeling millions—thanks to contracts with Pantene, Dior, Chanel, and others—reportedly surpassed Brady’s NFL salary for most of their marriage. (His new Fox Sports broadcast contract is rumored to be worth up to $375 million.) In pursuit of extracurricular business ventures, Brady and, to a lesser extent, Bündchen shot advertisements for—and invested millions in—Sam Bankman-Fried’s recently collapsed cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, where Bündchen assumed the title of environmental and social initiatives head. “I was blindsided,” Bündchen tells me. “I’m no different than everyone else that trusted the hype.” She says she is legally unable to discuss specifics, but says she had believed FTX to be “a sound and great thing based on what my financial advisers told me.”

“It’s just…terrible,” Bündchen adds. “I’m so sorry for all of us that this happened, and I just pray that justice gets made.”

Despite her earning power, Bündchen reasoned that her job was more flexible than Brady’s. Like so many women and mothers, she surrendered a bit of herself: “I wanted to build the best possible Relationship with Tom, Jack and our children,” she wrote in her 2018 memoir Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life. “I’m also a peacemaker who likes making everything better, easier, and more harmonious for the people I love.”

For a long time, that was Bündchen’s MO, she tells me now, two freshly plucked baby coconuts speared with metal straws, hers largely untouched, sitting on the table before us. As their children got older, her aspirations bubbled. “Vivi, my baby, is 10, and she’s very independent,” Bündchen says. “I have dreams,” she clarifies. “I have my own dreams.” She wants her children to see her pursue them: “You want to show them that, in life, you have to find real fulfillment, not living something that you’re not.” 

Brady continued collecting championship rings, even as he became practically geriatric in pro football. Particularly after Brady leapt to Tampa in 2020, the issue seemed to snowball. “My wife has held down the house for a long time now, and I think there’s things that she wants to accomplish,” Brady shared on his Let’s Go! podcast in October 2021. Around the same time, in a YouTube video answering fan questions, including if Brady could play until age 50, he yukked it up with teammate Rob Gronkowski, who added: “Will Gisele let Tom play ’til 50?” 

When their marriage officially ruptured last year, the media and the public assumed the timeline and its causation: that the marriage ended after Brady U-turned out of retirement. But marriages aren’t built, or broken, overnight, Bündchen says now. “That takes years to happen.”

Headlines cast Bündchen as a sidelined shrew, with the prevailing explanation centering on a supposed ultimatum: If his career continued, their marriage would not. The only problem is that, according to Bündchen, no such thing ever happened. She calls those characterizations “very hurtful” and “the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.” 

“Listen, I have always cheered for him, and I would continue forever,” Bündchen insists, her voice thick with emotion. “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.” 

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