Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen have long been viewed as an example of a successful celebrity marriage, with the pair celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary earlier this year.
The couple first met in 2006 when they were introduced by friends, with the NFL quarterback, 45, and the former supermodel, 42, tying the knot in 2009. In the years since, the duo has raised their family while publicly supporting one another.
However, the model and athlete have recently sparked rumours of marital issues, with reports alleging that both Brady and Bündchen have retained divorce lawyers.
From their first meeting and 2009 wedding to their alleged marriage struggles, this is a timeline of the couple’s relationship.
The professional football player and the supermodel first met in December 2006, when their friends set them up on a blind date.
According to Brady, who reflected on the “call that changed [his] life” in an interview with WSJ Magazine, the setup orchestrated by his friend led him to the “love of [his] life”.
“I think the one phone call that changed my life was my friend Ed, who called me one day and he said: ‘I have this girl and I think you should call her,’” Brady recalled in September 2021. “I ended up calling her and it ended up being the love of my life.”
Bündchen has also spoken about the couple’s first encounter, with the 42 year old revealing that she fell in love “right away” when she saw her now-husband’s “kind eyes”.
“You know, when I saw those kind eyes, I literally fell in love, like, right away. I was like: ‘What?’ He was just so - you know how sweet he is,” she told Jimmy Fallon during a 2018 appearance on The Tonight Show.
While speaking to Vanity Fair in 2009, Bündchen also revealed that she knew “right away” that she and Brady were meant to be, and that she and the quarterback have not gone a day without speaking since they first met.
“I knew right away - the first time I saw him,” she said. “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.”
The pair officially became a couple in January 2007, with sources confirming to People at the time that Brady and Bündchen had started dating “just before Christmas”.
However, just a month after they began dating, it was revealed that Brady’s ex-girlfriend Bridget Moynahan, who he dated from 2004 to 2006, was three months pregnant with his child.
Moynahan gave birth to the former couple’s son, John “Jack” Edward Thomas Moynahan, in August 2007.
According to Bündchen, the period in her and Brady’s relationship wasn’t “an easy time,” as she revealed in her 2018 memoir Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life, that she felt her “world had been turned upside down” when she learned of Moynahan’s pregnancy.
The supermodel also previously admitted that she had considered leaving Brady after finding out about the pregnancy, with Bündchen telling CBS This Morning‘s Charlie Rose in 2015 that she questioned whether she should just “run away”.
However, at the time, she noted that “now, eight years later, [she] couldn’t have asked for a sweeter bonus child”.
Despite the rocky start to their relationship, the couple became engaged in January 2009 after two years of dating.
After a month-long engagement, Brady and Bündchen tied the knot on 26 February 2009 at St Monica Catholic Church in California.
While speaking to GQ in November of that year, the seven-time Super Bowl winner shared details of the private ceremony, including that it took just 10 days to plan.
“We planned it in like 10 days, and it was perfect,” he said. “We went back to the house and I barbecued aged New York strips. We had champagne, a cake, some ice cream. It was a great night. I think you always have this idea that weddings need to be 200 people and you invite everybody, and I’m all for it if people want to do that, but I think there was really something special about just having our parents there.”
The couple celebrated their nuptials with a second wedding ceremony in Costa Rica in April 2009.
In June 2009, it was revealed that Brady and Bündchen were expecting their first child together, with the supermodel giving birth to their son, Benjamin Rein Brady, at home on 8 December 2009.
According to Brady, who initially did not want a home birth, the experience of being at home with his wife as she gave birth to their child “lives in [his] mind”.
“Me being there with G at his birth in our home, it lives in my mind. I think we brought this boy into the world in the most precious way,” he said during an episode of the ESPN+ series Man in the Arena: Tom Brady.
The couple expanded their family once more in December 2012, when they welcomed their second child, daughter Vivian Lake Brady.
Following the birth, Bündchen shared the couple’s happiness, writing on Facebook: “We feel so lucky to have been able to experience the miracle of birth once again and are forever grateful for the opportunity to be the parents of another little angel.”
In May 2015, the couple found themselves facing divorce rumours after Brady was accused of cheating during the Patriots’ win against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game in January 2015.
At the time, there was speculation that “deflategate” had put a strain on the couple’s marriage. However, Brady denied the suggestions during a radio interview, when he said that he and Bündchen were “in a great place”.
“We’re in a great place, I’ll just say that,” he said, according toHarper’s Bazaar. “I’m a lucky man. I’ve been very blessed with support from my family and certainly her, and there’s no bigger supporter that I have than her and vice versa. I’ve been very blessed to have an incredible relationship with my life partner, and I don’t think anything will ever get in the way of that.”
In 2018, the couple celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary, with Bündchen sharing photos from their nuptials for the first time. “What a ride this past nine years have been. I love learning and growing with you. Happy anniversary love of my lifey!” she captioned a photo of the pair embracing on their wedding day.
While Brady claimed that the couple was in a “great place” in 2015, he admitted in 2020 that they had experienced a rough patch in 2018 because Bündchen felt he wasn’t doing his “part for the family”.
“A couple of years ago, she didn’t feel like I was doing my part for the family,” the quarterback told Howard Stern. “She felt like I would play football all season and she would take care of the house, and then all of a sudden when the season ended, I’d be like: ‘Great, let me get into all of 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?’”
At the time, the athlete acknowledged that his wife’s dissatisfaction in their marriage acted as a wake-up call.
“I had to, like, check myself because she was like: ‘I have goals and dreams too,’” he said.
In October 2021, Brady, who left the New England Patriots and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March 2020, again hinted at challenges in his marriage when he admitted that he and Bündchen were facing a “very difficult issue” as they navigated the realities of family life.
“I think my wife has, you know, held down the house for a long time now,” Brady acknowledged during an episode of his SiriusXM podcast Let’s Go! With Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray. “And I think there’s things that she wants to accomplish. 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.
“But that’s an issue, and it’s a very difficult issue to reconcile without just saying: ‘Hey, it’s time to retire.’”
Brady ultimately did decide to retire in February 2022, when he announced he would be leaving the NFL after 22 seasons. While reflecting on his decision on his podcast, he acknowledged the role his wife and children played in his choice.
“My wife is my biggest supporter. It pains her to see me get hit out there,” he said. “She deserves what she needs from me as a husband and my kids deserve what they need from me as a dad.”
However, Brady’s retirement proved to be temporary, as he announced in March 2022 that he had changed his mind and would be returning for a 23rd season.
While announcing his decision, Brady referenced his “supportive family,” who he said “make it all possible”.
These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG pic.twitter.com/U0yhRKVKVm
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) March 13, 2022
At the time, Bündchen publicly expressed her support for her husband’s decision, with the supermodel commenting on his post and writing: “Here we go again! Let’s go lovvvey! Let’s go Bucs!”
However, in an interview with British Vogue in May 2022, Bündchen spoke candidly about the work that goes into a successful relationship, with the model claiming that “it’s never the fairytale people want to believe it is”.
“I don’t think relationships just happen; it’s never the fairy tale people want to believe it is. It takes work to be really in sync with someone, especially after you have kids,” she said.
In the same interview, Bündchen said that she was “grateful” her husband “lets her take the reins when it comes to their family”.
Rumours about the state of the couple’s relationship began to circulate again in September 2022, when Brady took an 11-day absence from the Buccaneers. When asked about the absence, Brady refused to explain beyond: “I’m 45 years old … there’s a lot of sh*t going on.”
Speculation that Brady’s decision to unretire from football had put a strain on his marriage heightened the same month, when Bündchen revealed in an interview with Elle that she feels she’s done her “part” supporting her husband and their family.
“I’ve done my part, which is [to] be there for [Tom]. I moved to Boston, and I focused on creating a cocoon and a loving environment for my children to grow up in and to be there supporting him and his dreams. Seeing my children succeed and become the beautiful little humans that they are, seeing him succeed, and being fulfilled in his career - it makes me happy,” she said. “At this point in my life, I feel like I’ve done a good job on that.”
“I feel very fulfilled in that way, as a mother and as a wife,” she continued. “And now it’s going to be my turn. It’s not like I’m going to be in the valley forever.”
During the interview, the supermodel also revealed she has concerns about Brady’s return to football, as she said it is “a very violent sport, and I have my children and I would like him to be more present”.
“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],” she said.
After months of speculation that the couple had been experiencing marriage struggles, sources claimed on 4 October that both Brady and Bündchen have hired divorce lawyers.