Former New England Patriots star Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bündchen said Friday they had finalized a divorce, ending a 13-year marriage that achieved peak celebrity with its global backdrop of high fashion and professional sports.
“We arrived at this decision amicably and with gratitude for the time we spent together,” Brady wrote on Instagram. “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 love and attention they deserve.”
The announcement, while not unexpected, brought an unhappy end to a relationship that had captivated the public for years, a union of a famous athlete and an even more famous supermodel, both fabulously attractive and wealthy, who seemed genuinely happy.
Court records in Glades County, Fla., show Bündchen filed for divorce on Friday and the dissolution of marriage was granted the same day by Judge Jack E. Lundy. The divorce was not contested.
Rumors of a rift had swirled around the couple since Brady announced he was returning to football after retiring in February. In August, the 45-year-old Brady stepped away from training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team he joined in 2020 after 20 seasons in New England, for a rare 11-day planned absence.
“It’s all personal,” Brady said at the time. “You know everyone’s got different situations they’re dealing with. So, we all have really unique challenges to our life. I’m 45 years old, man. There’s a lot of [expletive] going on. You’ve just got to try to figure out life the best you can.”
Weeks later, Elle magazine published an interview with Bündchen, who addressed criticism she has received for wanting her husband to retire from football.
“Obviously, I have my concerns — this is a very violent sport, and I have my children and I would like him to be more present,” she said. “I have definitely had those conversations with him over and over again. But ultimately, I feel that everybody has to make a decision that works for [them]. He needs to follow his joy, too.”
On Friday, Bündchen, 42, expressed gratitude for their relationship.
“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 wrote.
After she and Brady married in 2009, Bündchen put her modeling career aside. She shot just a few campaigns a year during that time after becoming a superstar in her 20s. She said she plans to get back to work.
“I’ve done my part” to support Brady, Bündchen told Elle.
Brady and Bündchen met through a friend in 2006, not long after Bündchen and longtime boyfriend Leonardo DiCaprio separated, according to a 2009 Vanity Fair article.
“I knew right way — the first time I saw him,” she said. “We sat and talked for three hours.”
Less than three months into their relationship, Brady learned that his former girlfriend, actress and model Bridget Moynahan, was pregnant. Brady and Moynahan welcomed their son, Jack, in August 2007.
“Jack, my bonus child, has been a huge gift and blessing in my life,” Bündchen wrote in her 2018 memoir, adding that she and Brady made the decision to start their family shortly after Jack’s birth.
Brady proposed to Bündchen in January 2009.
“He made up this whole story [about] how my apartment was flooding, and I ran over to fix the situation,” Bündchen told Vogue. “When I got there, the whole apartment had candles and rose petals everywhere, and then he went down on his knees to propose, and I’m like, ‘Get up!’”
Brady had recently had surgery.
“He’s like, ‘I gotta go on my knees,’ and I’m like, ‘No, no, no! Get up, please!’”
A month later, the pair tied the knot in Santa Monica, Calif.
That December, Brady and Bündchen welcomed their son, Benjamin. Their daughter, Vivian, was born in 2012.
”With the arrival of Benny and Vivi, I found out quickly that being a mother was a lot more work than modeling,” Bündchen wrote in her memoir. “Tom’s schedule during football season is so demanding that I take on most of the family responsibilities.”
For the next eight years, Bündchen did so as Brady led the Patriots to four Super Bowl appearances, winning three more rings. But a rift was apparently growing between Brady and the Patriots, and in 2018 and 2019, he was the only NFL quarterback to skip voluntary offseason workouts.
In April 2020, weeks after announcing he was leaving New England for Tampa Bay, Brady addressed the absences during a rare and candid interview with Howard Stern, saying he had taken time away from the team because of marriage issues.
Bündchen had told Brady she wasn’t happy that he focused on football all year while she took care of the family. Brady said they sought marriage counseling and that Bündchen wrote him a letter stating her displeasure.
“I had to check myself,” Brady said. “I had to make a big transition in my life to say I can’t do all the things that I wanted to do for football like I used to. I’ve got to take care of things in my family, because my family, the situation wasn’t great. She wasn’t satisfied with our marriage. I needed to make a change in that.”
Outwardly, the friction wasn’t apparent. In February 2019, Brady and Bündchen celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary with tributes on Instagram.
In 2021, Bündchen was by Brady’s side as he celebrated his seventh Super Bowl win, his first with the Buccaneers. Cameras captured the couple smooching on the field as confetti rained down.
In October of that year, Brady acknowledged how the move to Florida and the continuation of his career had not been easy on his wife.
“I think my wife has, you know, held down the house for a long time now, and I think there’s things that she wants to accomplish,” Brady said on a episode of “Let’s Go!,” the podcast he hosts with Jim Gray. “You know, she hasn’t worked as much in the last 10, 12 years, just raising our family and kind of committing to being in a life in Boston and then moving to Florida.”
Brady’s 2021 season ended with a loss to the Rams in the divisional round of the playoffs on Jan. 23.
“I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention,” he said then.
But on March 13, the 45-year-old decided he wasn’t quite done. “These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” Brady wrote. “That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible.”
Two weeks ago, Brady skipped a walkthrough before a Tampa Bay game to attend Robert Kraft’s wedding to Dana Blumberg in New York City. Bündchen did not join him.
The Buccaneers lost two days later. It was the first of three straight losses for the team, games in which Brady, long the sport’s world exemplar of perfection and poise, struggled on the field and fumed on the sidelines.
Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report. Jeremiah Manion of the Globe Staff contributed.
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