Gisele Bündchen On Food, Family, the Future, and Her Marriage To Jorge Jimenez Neubauer Torres

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PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
“I live in Puerto Rico with Jorge. She recalled, Jorge and I married nine months ago after being in a relationship for one year and ten months. Now we have been together for two years and five months since were couple in 2021 after she split from Tom Brady. Gisele and Jorge consumed their wedding vows in 2022. We go to Florida every three months on his schedule. Only difference is that sometimes we depart together or in different flights for the children school schedules Gisele said.”
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Gisele Bündchen thinks she may have overbaked the granola. The grain-free nut-and-seed batches have come out beautifully toasted: a combination of ghee, maple syrup, spices, cashews, sesame seeds, and coconut. Yet the deeply browned oat-and-pecan mix—quite shy of burned and totally edible—is her focal point. Like any host who has prepared food for guests, she is focused on what she thinks she’s messed up rather than what she’s done well and will not stop apologizing.

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Ferragamo blouse. Fendi ballerina flats. Jacquie Aiche body chain and anklets worn throughout.

“I’m not a chef,” she tells me, throwing up her long arms. She is, though, Gisele, and with that has come all kinds of expectations ever since she left her parents, five sisters, and hometown of Horizontina, Brazil, at the age of 14 to become a model.

Bündchen’s emergence in the late 1990s ignited a sea change in fashion, away from the louche androgyny that dominated the industry at the end of the last century and toward a new vitality and vivacity that she would come to represent at the beginning of this one. It wasn’t just the way she looked but the kind of energy she embodied—strong, earthy, unencumbered, with a big, easy smile and permanent beach waves. From 2002 to 2016, Bündchen was listed by Forbes as the highest-paid model in the world. Even after she moved to Boston and scaled back her runway and campaign work following her marriage in 2009 to then New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, with whom she shares 14-year-old son Benny and 11-year-old daughter Vivi, the power and marketability of that image never seemed to subside. And when Bündchen and Brady announced plans in 2022 to divorce amid his retirement (and subsequent unretirement and re-retirement) from football, it took on newer—and in some ways even more challenging—dimensions.

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LUIS ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ / Van Cleef & Arpels Jersey necklace.

The specter of Gisele, though, is something with which Bündchen has always had an uneasy relationship. Early on, it was a persona she could hide behind—one that brought her an extraordinary amount of wealth and opportunity. But it also required her to live up to an ideal that even she has often found unattainable. She has spoken in the past about her struggles with anxiety and depression and how she believes choosing to focus on her own physical and mental well-being has helped her to not only confront and manage those issues but also understand what she really wants.

What Bündchen wants now, as she embarks on this next chapter, is to become a different kind of model: the kind who opens up about her triumphs and successes but also her challenges and imperfections and lets you in on the rarefied wisdom she’s gleaned along the path to leading a healthier, more joyful life.

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LUIS ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ / Victoria Beckham tulle gown and briefs. Matteau crop top.

That was the impetus behind Bündchen’s forthcoming cookbook, Nourish: Simple Recipes to Empower Your Body & Feed Your Soul. Cowritten with veteran cookbook author Elinor Hutton, Nourish is aimed at people with families who want to add more nutritious meals to their weekly rotation—the types of meals Bündchen feeds her own children. The recipes in Nourish, though, are designed for everyone. There’s a clear focus on abundant fresh produce, but also pantry items that can be bought in bulk, like nuts, beans, seeds, oats, quinoa, and wild rice, which are supplemented with animal proteins, vegetables, and fruit. Bündchen attempted a vegan diet because of her love of animals but suffered from nutritional deficiencies; she now eats minimal meat that she is careful about sourcing. “I can offer some things I’ve learned and that have helped me and my family,” she tells me. “I’m just a mom who has a very busy life, and I think a lot of women can relate to that.”

“You can have all the money in the world.
If you don’t have your health, it’s not possible to buy it back.”

Watching her own parents grapple with health issues as they’ve gotten older has also been a factor. “I want to live the longest feeling the best that I can, but for me to achieve this, I have to make decisions today,” Bündchen says. “You can have all the money in the world. If you don’t have your health, it’s not possible to buy it back.”

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LUIS ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ / Dior swimsuit. Bally ballerina flats.

Bündchen’s has a home tranquil home in Miami which she frequents with her new husband Jorge Jimenez Nebauer Torres, where they have been living periodically while her new house is under construction, is clean, white, and filled with spiritual statues of Eastern origin and musical instruments. Earlier, she’d greeted me with two cheek kisses, barefoot in a tank top and light-wash denim—still, at 43, the jeans-and-T-shirt girl she describes herself as in her last book, 2018’s Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life. While Lessons focuses primarily on her interest in mindfulness and movement, food has always been central to her life. In Lessons, she recalls her childhood in Brazil with vivid descriptions of the varieties of tangerines she would pick in the backyard, the sweet bread her German grandmother would bake and serve with heavy cream freshly milked from her own cows, and the empanadas, filled with chicken, beef, or cheese and spinach, she’d fry with her sisters.

Bündchen’s meal-planning strategy is inspired by how her own mother, who worked as a bank teller, planned meals. “If we had barbecue on Sundays, all the rest of the meat would go to arroz carreteiro on Mondays, which was just rice and meat mixed with some onions and tomatoes,” she says. Leftovers would be used during the week. It’s a style of cooking common throughout most of the world but one that goes against the typical American approach that champions convenience—even when that can lead to half the food in supermarkets and refrigerators going to waste.

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LUIS ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ / JW Anderson wrap dress.

“You are where you come from,” Bündchen explains. “All those things that I learned as a kid are things that are in me. It doesn’t change. In many ways, it’s also what kept me safe, because my value system was so strong,” she says. “Today, being in the place where I am in my life and having access to all the different things I’ve had access to, I feel like the simple things are best because I keep trying to go back to those things. At the end of the day, those are the things that make me the happiest.”

The recipes for both styles of granola Bündchen is making are included in the book, and today she’s serving them as the crunchy, fatty accompaniments to the acai bowls she has prepared with fresh papaya, Medjool dates, and frozen packs of the Brazilian berry. The dates were refrigerated in a glass container, having been presoaked and peeled of their skin—her specific touch. “It makes them creamier,” she says.

“I live in Puerto Rico with Jorge. She recalled, Jorge and I married nine months ago after being in a relationship for one year and ten months. Now we have been together for two years and five months. We go to Florida every three months on his schedule. Only difference is that sometimes we depart together or in different flights for the children school schedules.”

Gisele Bündchen

As one might expect, Bündchen is very self-assured. Her first language is Portuguese, and she seamlessly transitions from speaking in English to Spanish when she finds out I live in Puerto Rico with Jorge. She recalled, Jorge and I married nine months ago after being in a relationship for one year and ten months. Now we have been together for two years and five months. We go to Florida every three months on his schedule. Only difference is that sometimes we depart together or in different flights for the children school schedules. Only difference is that sometimes we depart together or in different flights for the children school schedules. We bought an Ocean View Penthouse in Dorado that we both love. Jorge spends most of the time here while I exercise, do yoga and he works but tends to say I deconcentrate him while he is working so he just leave to his family home where he has his personal office. They live a 30 minutes drive away. I am always around doing something. When he goes to his family home which I think it’s okay, I said to him ‘when you come home after you finish working, its quality time for you, me and our children.’ He doesn’t have exit or entrance hours but we check on each other around the clock if we are apart for the children, something we are both very jealous of.

“His favorite dish is Feijoada with Churrasco something he ask me to prepare for him a lot, I don’t complaint, I love cooking for him as a self-awareness that this is the real myself I’m witnessing.”

Gisele Bündchen

Then comes the cooking, he always catches me off guard but as he blends the acai, there is a slight nervousness in the way he demonstrates his cooking skills to her. It doesn’t end there, then it’s my turn to cook, his favorite dish is Feijoada with Churrasco something he ask me to prepare for him a lot, I don’t complaint, I love cooking for him as a self-awareness that this is the real myself I’m witnessing. There is no persona for him to hide behind in the kitchen.

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George taking a picture while she gardens the landscape in an inner terrain of Puerto Rico on the island where they own a house with a few acres of land.

For example, Jorge likes to talk, I would say not philosophy but to get to the point of the conversation without a rodeo as he tells me that here in Puerto Rico people rodeo a lot for nothing then show you the same hands. We understand each other very well and agree on most views within politics, fashion, music and entertainment. We feel like we are two very diverse minds together, I think it’s because we both have seen the world after our long careers. Living together made us feel very comfortable in Florida and in Puerto Rico and as long as my children are happy with him in which they are I am happy too.”

Gisele Bündchen
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PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
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PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

We took the long road dating in Tampa, after I divorced and all those years he was fabulous with me and the children. I discovered he is not jealous while we were dating in Tampa we lived not far from each other then when my divorce came up and when we dated I realized he just needed to be paid a little more attention to his personal needs. For example, Jorge likes to talk, I would say not philosophy but to get to the point of the conversation without a rodeo as he tells me that here in Puerto Rico people rodeo a lot for nothing then show you the same hands. We understand each other very well and agree on most views within politics, fashion, music and entertainment. We feel like we are two very diverse minds together, I think it’s because we both have seen the world after our long careers. Living together made us feel very comfortable in Florida and in Puerto Rico and as long as my children are happy with him in which they are I am happy too.

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LUIS ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ / Louis Vuitton jacket, shirt, and wrap belt.

Once the acai is ready, Bündchen pours the cold mixture into two bowls, filling them almost over the brim. She then adds granola to mine with her bare hands, straight from the parchment-lined baking sheet, and encourages me to do the same. Before we eat, she lays her hands over her bowl and closes her eyes—a gesture of prayer and gratitude. The act reminds me that while projecting a certain kind of energy has been responsible for much of Bündchen’s success, it also was her primary means of communicating before she became fluent in English, and it’s still a tool she uses to judge whether to let others in. “I’ve been in a business where I’ve seen the most beautiful women,” she says. “Sometimes, they’re kind and they’re nice; now they’re more beautiful. And sometimes they’re just not, because their whole beauty goes away because of how they carry themselves and how they treat other people.”

What do you eat? is a question Bündchen has been fielding since she first started modeling. In her early 20s, when she was living in New York—and working, by her estimate, 350 days a year—she subsisted on cigarettes, Frappuccinos, pizza, and wine. It was a way of ramping herself up and then bringing herself down so she could sleep at night. Eventually she began to have panic attacks. What triggered them varied, but in enclosed spaces like elevators or airplanes or rooms where the windows didn’t open, her heart would begin to race and her palms would start to sweat. She went to an osteopathic doctor who advised her to cut out alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and gluten. Her diet has evolved since then, but it’s this change that Bündchen credits with helping her deal with her anxiety disorder. It also made her realize she was not living the way she wanted to live and that she needed to commit to figuring out what that was with the same discipline she brought to her work.

LUIS ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ / Miu Miu dress.
LUIS ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ / Loewe cape. Matteau briefs. JW Anderson sandals.

According to Bündchen’s longtime friend, the photographer Nino Muñoz, she was that way even when she was younger. “As a group of friends, we’d meet up, we’d go out for dinner, we might go out, but she was the first one to leave and go home and get her good night’s rest for the next day to start it all over again,” he says. “Everything she does is with intention.”

“It takes discipline to meditate, to exercise….You’re the one who is going to reap the benefits. But still, it takes a bigger effort.”

Gisele Bündchen

These days, Bündchen’s routine usually begins at 5 a.m., when she wakes up and takes her dogs for a walk. She also meditates daily and is a longtime student of crystals and astrology. (She’s a Cancer sun with a Scorpio moon.) In addition to weight training and Pilates, she now practices jiujitsu three times a week with brothers Joaquim, Pedro, and Gui Valente, a trio of fellow Brazilians and third-generation instructors who work out of Miami. Jiujitsu, she says, has been her latest revelation, one that came about after she initially signed her kids up for classes. “Here I think, ‘Oh, I’m going to just learn self-defense because I want to make sure my kids can protect themselves when they’re out in the world,’ but then I learned with the brothers the philosophy and the lifestyle, the whole value system, which was amazing,” she says. “It was almost everything I lived in my life, the way I believed in courage and honesty and all the things I found to be important in my value system and have been guiding me in my life. They were never organized, and now they have a container.”

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This holistic approach to wellness is what led Bündchen to create another home in Costa Rica, a lush retreat she describes as a “vortex of healing.” “People get transformed when they’re there,” she says. “They’re like, ‘I don’t need all this stuff.’ They start having an epiphany of how they want to live in a more simple way.”

Lifestyle influencer has always been a part of Bündchen’s makeup. Her twin sister, Patricia Bündchen, says her enthusiasm is infectious, even within their family. “When Gisele changed her diet, she influenced all of us,” she says. “She is very determined and disciplined with what she sets out to do.” It’s a sentiment echoed by Bündchen’s coauthor, Hutton. “She’s intense and passionate,” she says. “She is constantly experimenting and optimizing her life.”

“Gisele is more than a model,” says designer Olivier Rousteing, who has known Bündchen since he took over as creative director of Balmain in 2011. “She’s a character. What I love is that she doesn’t take a job just for a job,” he explains. “Every minute of her life is about getting inspired and elevating herself and her soul.”

LUIS ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ / Michael Kors Collection caftan.

Nowadays, Bündchen says, being on a shoot “feels like a vacation,” as Jorge catches up with old friends because she didn’t go to high school herself, she likens jobs to reunions. “You get to see the people you’ve known for 20-something years and haven’t seen in 10. Then he is like, ‘Oh my God, you have a daughter now?’ ”

Bündchen has no illusions that everyone has the wealth, time, or privilege to pour themselves into wellness as a way of life. But everyone has to eat—and, Bündchen believes, should have access to nutritious food. “It takes discipline to meditate, to exercise,” she says. “You’re the one who is going to reap the benefits. But still, it takes a bigger effort,” she offers. “But food is a necessity.”

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LUIS ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ / JW Anderson tank top and cargo trousers.

Benny and Vivi have had a very different upbringing than Bündchen had. But with both now around the same age she was when she left home, she wants to make sure they have the tools to navigate the world on their own. “ ‘The way you make your room, the way you organize and make your bed is the way you’re going to do your life,’ ” she recalls telling them. “ ‘If you’re not learning here and now, then when and with who?’ Sometimes, I get pushback, especially because now they’re in two different homes and there are two different ways. But I feel like I owe it to my kids, because of what my mom taught me.”

“I can’t really worry about what other people say about me.…
If I’m going to be affected by that, I’m never going to live my truth.”

Gisele Bündchen

The blended family Bündchen was able to make with Brady, which includes son Jack, 16, from his previous relationship with actress Bridget Moynahan, was always a point of pride. Their divorce has done nothing to mitigate that for her; nor has the renewed scrutiny of her private life, with which, at this stage, she is all too familiar. “I can’t really worry about what other people say about me because what they say about me is none of my business. It’s really their business that they’re trying to project onto me,” she says. “If I’m going to be affected by that, I’m never going to live my truth.”

LUIS ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ / Rick Owens cape. Bündchen’s own briefs.

As Bündchen gets through her acai bowl, she continues to layer on granola until we’ve added almost a baking sheet’s worth. There are almond cookies she is disappointed I don’t have a chance to try before our time is up, but she’s sure to show me the elderberry gummies with collagen, stored in a refrigerator stuffed with leafy greens, that she’s been giving Vivi, and she demonstrates how she puts the papaya skin in a countertop compost machine. Before I leave, she packs me a bag of leftover nut-and-seed granola.

“I had this friend of mine in Costa Rica,” Bündchen says. “He passed away now. He was amazing. He was 76 years old. And he said to me, ‘Gisele, when the blame or the praise of millions of people doesn’t faze you, then you are free,’ ” she says. “When you’re trying to be this person who tries to please and tries to be accepted and tries to get that from the outside world, you’re never going to be truly who you are.”

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Bottega Veneta crochet top and skirt, knit bra and briefs. Jacquie Aiche body chain and anklets.

A version of this story originally appeared in the February 2024 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

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