By Terrance Turner
Oct. 28, 2022
One of the NFL’s most successful (and scrutinized) marriages is over.
Earlier today, media reports had surfaced claiming that supermodel Gisele Bundchen was planning to file for divorce from her husband, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. But Brady revealed today that the two have already finalized their divorce.
“In recent days, my wife and I finalized our divorce from one another after 13 years of marriage,” Brady wrote on social media. “We arrived at this decision amicably and with gratitude for the time we spent together.” He added: “We are blessed with beautiful and wonderful children who will continue to be the center of our world in every way. We will continue to work together as parents to always ensure they receive the one and attention they deserve.
“We arrived at this decision to end our marriage after much consideration,” he wrote. “Doing so is, of course, painful and difficult like it is for many people who go through the same thing every day around the world. However we wish only the best for each other as we pursue whatever new chapters in our lives that are yet to be written.
“And we kindly ask for privacy and respect as we navigate what is to come and the days and weeks ahead.”
Bundchen also shared a statement on Instagram:
“With much gratitude for our time together, Tom and I have amicably finalized our divorce. My priority has always been and will continue to be our children whom I love with all my heart. We will continue to co-parenting to give then the love, care and attention they greatly deserve,” Bündchen wrote.
“The decision to end a marriage is never easy but we have grown apart and while it is, of course, difficult to go through something like this, I feel blessed for the time we had together and only wish the best for Tom always,” she continued. “I kindly ask that our privacy be respected during this sensitive time.”
It’s rare if not unprecedented for a high-profile athlete to experience a high-profile divorce in the middle of the season. But for those who have followed this story, it was clear that marital trouble was already brewing.
The two started dating in 2007. Bundchen told Vanity Fair in 2009 that she fell for Brady instantly:
“I knew right away—the first time I saw him,” she says. “We met through a friend. The moment I saw him, he smiled and I was like, That is the most beautiful, charismatic smile I’ve ever seen! We sat and talked for three hours. I had to go home for Christmas, but I didn’t want to leave. You know that feeling of, like, you can’t get enough? From the first day we met, we’ve never spent one day without speaking to each other.”
But the initial bliss was short lived. Within two weeks, the pair found out that Brady’s ex girlfriend, actress Bridget Moynahan, was pregnant. “It was definitely a surprise for both of us,” Gisele acknowledged to Vanity Fair. “In the beginning you’re living this romantic fantasy; you’re thinking, This can’t be true, it’s so good! And then, Whoops—wake-up call!” She rolls her eyes. “We were dating two and a half months when he found out, and it was a very challenging situation. Obviously, in the beginning, it’s not the ideal thing.”
However, Bundchen eventually came to accept the circumstances. “I think it was a blessing, because otherwise I don’t think I would have known what he was made of, and he wouldn’t have known what I was made of,” she told the magazine. She added: “I wouldn’t have seen the integrity in him—the way he was a good person through all the times. I was like, You have the heart in a good place! It made me feel more in love with him; it made me realize who he was.”
John Edward Thomas Moynahan was born, in August 2007. After Jack was born, Brady and Gisele began shuttling between Boston, where Brady’s football team the Patriots was based, and Los Angeles, where Moynahan lived. It was a challenge, but Bundchen embraced that.
“She is the most positive and energetic person I have ever met,” Brady said at the time. “She always looks at challenges as her greatest opportunities.”
Brady and Bundchen married on February 26, 2009, in a small ceremony in a Catholic church in Santa Monica, California. Photo courtesy of Gisele Bundchen.
In December 2009, the pair welcomed their first child, a son they named Benjamin. Three years later, they had a daughter, named Vivian. At that time, Brady was still riding high as the quarterback for the New England Patriots. He led them to a 13-3 record and a No. 1 seed in the AFC. Once again, the New England Patriots faced off against the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. But the Giants prevailed.
Undaunted, Brady led the Patriots to back-to-back 12-4 seasons in 2013 and 2014, then fought his way back to the “big dance” — and won. In a streak as spectacular as it was improbable, Brady & the Patriots won Super Bowl titles in 2015, 2017, and 2019.
In Feb. 2015, the New England Patriots faced the defending champion Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. According to ESPN , Brady threw for four touchdowns, including two in the first half to Brandon LeFall and tight end Rob Gronkowski. When Seattle jumped out to a 24-14 lead in the third quarter, the Patriots responded. Brady threw a 4-yard TD to WR Danny Amendola to bring the Patriots within three points. Then, with just 2:02 remaining, he threw yet another touchdown to wide receiver Julian Edelman. Later, rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler sealed the game for the Patriots with an interception. New England won, 28-24.
Two seasons later, Brady led the Patriots to a 14-2 record (the league’s best). The Patriots set an NFL record by going 258 pass attempts to start the season without an interception. After a 28-3 deficit in the third quarter, Brady and the Patriots rallied to win 34-28 in overtime — the largest statistical comeback in Super Bowl history. Brady earned his fifth Lombardi Trophy.
Then Brady and the Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta, earning Brady his sixth Super Bowl.
By this point, however, cracks were beginning to form. Bundchen had essentially placed her career on hold to be a wife and mother while Brady chased his dream; now she wanted a more equitable union. In an interview with radio host Howard Stern, Brady said his wife wrote him a letter years ago detailing her dissatisfaction with their marriage and how she needed him to step up and help with family duties.
“She didn’t feel like I was doing my part for our family,” he said. “She felt like I would play football all season and she would take care of the house and all of a sudden when the season would end, I would be like, ‘Great, let me get into all my other business activities. Let me get into my football training.’ And she’s sitting there going, ‘Well, when are you going to do things for the house? When are you going to take the kids to school and do that?’”
“I had to, like, check myself,” he said. “Because she’s like, ‘I have goals and dreams too.’ Her point was, ‘Well, yeah, of course this works for you. It all works for you. But it doesn’t work for me. Because you can get caught up in your life where you think a relationship’s great, because it only works for you. And the point of a relationship — it has to work for both. You’d better work on both, ’cause if you don’t, then ultimately it’s not sustainable.”
Brady’s words would prove to be prescient.
After two decades with the Patriots, Brady left the team to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was later joined by his friend and teammate Rob Gronkowski, with whom he’d won three Super Bowls. The results were spectacular: the Buccaneers finished the season with an 11–5 record and advanced to Super Bowl LV. The game took place Feb. 7, 2021 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The Bucs made history as the first team to play the Super Bowl inside their home stadium.
Thanks in part to a stout defense and the magical connection between Brady and Gronk (who combined for two touchdowns in the first half), the Buccaneers won, beating the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9. Brady won his seventh Super Bowl and his fifth Super Bowl MVP. (He became the oldest player ever to receive that honor.) After the game, Brady located his wife and family to celebrate. But his wife had a question.
“What more do you have to prove?”
This story will be updated.