Supermodel Gisele Bündchen said her ex-husband Tom Brady's decision to extend his NFL career was only "one piece of a much bigger puzzle" in their decision to get divorced last year.
Bündchen, 42, called her split from Brady, 45, "the death of my dream" in an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair published on Wednesday (March 22), which included addressing speculation that the seven-time Super Bowl champion's decision to unretire last offseason was the cause of their divorce.
“Wow, people really made it about that,” Bündchen said, before later adding, “What’s been said is one piece of a much bigger puzzle. It’s not so black and white.”
“Sometimes you grow together; sometimes you grow apart,” she added. “When I was 26 years old and he was 29 years old, we met, we wanted a family, we wanted things together. 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.”
“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.”
Last month, a source with knowledge of the situation told Us Weekly that Bündchen reportedly played a key role in his decision to retire "for good," having "talked this through before he came to the final decision."
"Tom and Gisele are on cordial terms," the source said, adding that the supermodel has been "a real rock" through Brady's retirement process.
On February 1, Bündchen shared her support in response to Brady's retirement announcement.
"Wishing you only wonderful things in this new chapter of your life," Bündchen commented on Brady's Instagram post.
The couple announced their divorce after 13 years of marriage on October 28, 2022. Brady and Bündchen reportedly had "an ironclad prenup" prior to their marriage, which led to their quick divorce settlement and have since co-parented their children, with the supermodel reportedly purchasing a house near Brady's Miami mansion last year.
Brady announced he's "retiring for good" after 23 NFL seasons in a video shared on his official social media accounts. The 45-year-old had previously announced his retirement last offseason before announcing his decision to return several weeks later.
"I know the process was a pretty big deal last time so when I woke up this morning I figured I'd just press record and let you guys know first so it won't be long winded," Brady said. "You only get one super emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year so, really, thank you guys so much for supporting me. My family, my friends, my teammates, my competitors. I could go on forever. There's too many. Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream. I wouldn't change a thing. I love you all."
Brady was set to become a free agent this offseason if he decided to continue his NFL career. The San Mateo native has a massive contract to become FOX Sports' lead NFL analyst beginning after the conclusion of his playing career, but has publicly stated that he won't start until 2024, taking the next year to spend time with his family and prepare for the job.
Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2020 offseason following 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, which included six Super Bowl victories.
Tampa Bay defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9, in Super Bowl LV during Brady's first season with the franchise. The 45-year-old is the NFL's all-time passing leader for yards and touchdowns, as well as quarterback wins, among numerous other records.