Gisele Bündchen might look like she exudes confidence as she struts her stuff down the catwalk – but the Brazilian supermodel recently revealed that she struggled with severe anxiety at the height of her career, which sometimes caused her to have suicidal thoughts and panic attacks. She also confessed that she felt “suffocated” when she was in studios, and only found true peace once she had stepped back from the modelling industry and started “living,” as opposed to “surviving.”
Gisele Bündchen Opens Up About Feeling ‘Suffocated’ At The Height Of Her Career
On CBS News Sunday Morning, the 43-year-old former Victoria’s Secret Angel reflected on feeling “suffocated” at the height of her career, and even refused to use elevators because she feared being stuck in them. “I was in tunnels; I couldn’t breathe. And then, I started being in studios, and I felt, like, suffocated,” she confessed.
“I lived on the ninth floor, and I had to go up the stairs because I was afraid I would be stuck on the elevator, and I’d be hyperventilating,” the Nourish author candidly explained. “Because you know, when you can’t breathe even when the windows are open, you feel like, ‘I don’t want to live like this.’ CBS host Lee Cowan asked Bündchen if she ever thought about jumping from her floor, and she replied: “Yeah. For, like, a second, because you’re like, ‘I can’t (do this)!'”
Her CBS interview wasn’t the first time Bündchen opened up about suicidal thoughts, as she previously discussed it in her 2018 memoir, Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life. She also told People at the time, while promoting her book: "I actually had the feeling of, 'If I just jump off my roof, this is going to end, and I never have to worry about this feeling of my world closing in.'"
She added: "Things can be looking perfect on the outside, but you have no idea what's really going on. I felt like maybe it was time to share some of my vulnerabilities and it made me realize, everything I've lived through, I would never change because I think I am who I am because of those experiences."
Gisele Bündchen Says She Viewed Gisele The Model As A Different Person
The mom-of-two, who split with husband-of-thirteen-years Tom Brady at the end of last year, explained in her CBS interview that she previously tried to separate her modelling persona and her day-to-day persona as a way to try and cope with the stress and anxiety of the job, referring to "her" the model, and "Gisele," the regular person. But now that she has taken a backseat from the fashion industry, she says she has found that she doesn’t need to do that. "They weren't hiring Gisele; they didn't even know me," she recalled. "They just liked the way I looked and they liked the way my body looked in clothes… And now, I get to be me."
Although Gisele is still fronting magazines and ad campaigns (we're obsessed with her new Louis Vuitton ads!) she is more selective about the jobs she takes on now, which seems to have really helped her overcome her anxiety.
"I’m able to choose more of what I want. Before I was more surviving, and now I'm living, which is different," she said, before adding that she now doesn’t need to separate her two personas, which she described as "liberating." Bündchen added: "I just think now I'm allowing myself to come out as Gisele versus as 'her.' I don't have to play a character. I can be me. And that's liberating."