Gisele Bundchen has admitted that she struggled with her mental health at the height of her modeling career and even contemplated taking her own life.
The Brazilian supermodel, 43, opened up about having suicidal thoughts and feeling panicked during the height of her career on CBS’ Sunday Morning.
“I was in tunnels; I couldn’t breathe. And then, I started being in studios, and I felt, like, suffocated,” she said.
Bündchen recalled one particular moment of difficulty. “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. … 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,’ ” the model said.
When CBS host Lee Cowan asked if Bündchen ever thought about jumping from her floor, she said, “Yeah. For a second, because you’re like, ‘I can’t (do this)!'”
To cope with the pressure during her earlier career, Bündchen said she started to view herself as “her,” the persona modeling agencies hired, and “Gisele,” her real personality.
“They weren’t hiring Gisele; they didn’t even know me,” she said. “They just liked the way I looked and they liked the way my body looked in clothes. … And now, I get to be me.”
Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine contributed to her stress at the time, things she eventually reduced or quit.
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.”
Today, the Brazillian model says she’s happy to have taken a backseat from the fashion industry. “Before I was more surviving, and now I’m living, which is different,” she said.
Bündchen previously discussed contemplating suicide and struggling with panic attacks in her 2018 memoir Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life.
“Things can be looking perfect on the outside, but you have no idea what’s really going on,” the supermodel told People in an interview at the time. “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.”
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.