Christie Brinkley is a mama bear when it comes to her girls.
The 63-year-old supermodel and her daughters, Alexa Ray Joel and Sailor Brinkley Cook, visited the Today show on Wednesday, where they opened up about posing for the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, and the media scrutiny Alexa and Sailor faced growing up in the spotlight.
"I have to tell you it was excruciating," Brinkley said of the critical comments that followed her daughters as they grew up in her spotlight. "As a mom, I could cry now."
"There's nothing worse [than seeing your children attacked by the media]," she added, tearing up.
For Alexa, whose father is singer Billy Joel, it's hard to forget the types of comments made about her appearance.
"Not to rehash too much -- I don't want any pity, I have a great life and I'm very privileged to be where I am -- but I certainly went through it," she recalled. "They did used to call me 'bow-wow face.' So I went through it. I grew into myself later in life."
"I went through every phase. I went through too skinny, too fat. I don't like using those words but I went through everything and then you just sort of get to an age and you get to a time where you say this is my body…who cares if I don't look a certain way," Sailor added.
"If I could urge one thing for the media: Lay off the kids," pleaded Brinkley, as 18-year-old Sailor has also found herself the target of online comments. "It's like, we're celebrities, we're fair game, say what you want. But lay off the kids. Let them have their moment to grow up and become who they're going to be."
"When they decide to step out, then they're fair game," Brinkley said.
See more on the trio's Sports Illustrated photo shoot in the video below.