“Paying My Mortgage”: Tom Brady’s Ex-Wife Gisele Bündchen Reveals Financial Hardship, Sold First Class Tickets to Pay Rent

Published 03/28/2024, 11:32 AM EDT

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Did you know that the former Victoria’s Secret model Gisele Bündchen wasn’t sure about her modeling career? “I didn’t know if I was going to last in this business.” When one of the most influential personalities in the industry says that, it does turn heads. Gisele now leads an affluent lifestyle, but the Forbes 2016 highest-paid model of the year has certainly worked her way up to earn her $400 million net worth.

Taking a trip down memory lane, Tom Brady’s ex-wife, Gisele Bündchen appeared on Rich Roll’s podcast and talked about her life struggles. The mightiest struggle of Bündchen’s life was establishing herself as a model at the very beginning of her career and getting a roof over her head. Bundchen was candid about the ways she used to climb the ladder. She was 14 years old when she arrived in São Paulo and her father gave her the money he was saving to buy a cab.

Though she was so young she had the presence of mind to spend it in the right way. She got some good clothes to wear to her audition. Rich was stunned by this and said, “That’s not normal like that’s somebody who’s thinking ahead, who’s planning long term, who’s understanding that they have an opportunity in front of them and trying to figure out how to make the most out of it with limited resources… Says a lot about your sensibility or your perspective as a business person”


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The former Victoria’s Secret model bought her first apartment when she was 19 years old. The challenge then was to last in the business, since her interviews required her to look the best, with the best bags and clothes. Juggling the finances between paying for her home and her job was her most pressing challenge then. She wasn’t sure if she was going to last in the business. Hence, she birthed the tactic she used to own her first apartment at 19.

“When I was 19 you know people started flying me first class because I was like the model of the year. So now all the clients are paying me, first class. I was exchanging those tickets for coach classes because, every two or three days I’m in a different country and instead of paying my rent in an apartment, I put down a down payment for an apartment, and then I was paying my mortgage instead of paying rent,” Bündchen explained.

Tom Brady’s ex-wife, grew up with her parents and 5 sisters in a two-bedroom apartment. The initial hardships in her life, seeing her mother working as a cashier, and watching her father making ends meet through various jobs, became the ultimate holy book for Bündchen to survive on. Thanks to her present-mindedness, her career worked out for her, else she had a foolproof plan laid down if things went left.

Gisele Bundchen’s alternate plan


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Gisele Bündchen had her insecurities when stepping into her career, which she well iterated. Given the environment and mental processes she was surrounded by, it was a heavy option for her to set a plan to fall back on if things go left. Bündchen had left school when she was just 14 to pursue her career. Hence, her apprehensions also included her lack of education.

READ ALSO: “It Was Scary”: Tom Brady’s Ex Gisele Bündchen Calls Her Rio 2016 Olympics Catwalk a “Nerve-Wracking” Experience


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The only way she had thought would work for her at the end if everything turned against her, was “… I was going to be a farmer or something because I just always love the land,” Bündchen confessed. Even though things didn’t go that bad for Bündchen, she still connects to her love for land, just a bit differently.


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Her latest book ‘Nourish’ is an attempt to make her fans and patrons feel more connected to the food they consume through curated recipes. Bündchen’s story of financial struggles not only defines her very basis but also reflects the amount of resilience she carries.

READ MORE: “Broken Feet”: Tom Brady’s Hidden Injuries Spilled by Former Teammate Julian Edelman


Written by:

Pankti Parmar


One take at a time

Pankti Parmar is an NFL news writer at EssentiallySports. She combines her educational background in psychology with a passion for sports to delve into the minds of athletes and their game strategies. She's our resident expert on Jim Harbaugh and played a pivotal role in our play-by-play coverage of Harbaugh's journey from the Wolverines to the Chargers.
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Edited by:

Tripti Sarda