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Tom Brady has helped guide the Buccaneers to a 2-0 record to start the 2022 NFL season, once again defying conventional wisdom about what an athlete can accomplish at his age. But the latest headlines concerning the longtime Patriots gunslinger have little to do with the 45-year-old’s on-field accomplishments: If reports from Page Six and CNN are to be believed, not all is well between Brady and his wife, supermodel Gisele Bündchen.
Ever since a September 1 Page Six article claimed that the couple was in an “epic fight,” there has been a steady drumbeat of reports circulating about Brady and Bündchen’s relationship. After two weeks of stories from Page Six, CNN added fuel to the fire on September 16, quoting a source that said the duo, who married in February 2009, were currently living separately.
All of these rumors have cropped up during a period when Brady has been spending more time away from the Buccaneers than usual: The quarterback left the team for an 11-day period during training camp and will also be excused from team activities on Wednesdays throughout the season.
Keeping track of what’s been said, what’s been rumored, and what is outright fiction about the Brady-Bündchen situation is difficult. To help, here’s everything we know (and don’t know) about the whole saga.
(A representative for Brady and Bündchen had not responded to a request for comment at the time of this article’s publication.)
Long before Brady announced his retirement from the NFL on February 1, 2022 (and then changed his mind 40 days later), both he and Bündchen acknowledged having tough discussions about the quarterback’s career and the impact it had on his family.
Bündchen has consistently said that she didn’t love the hits that Brady took on the field. She caused a stir in 2017 when she said that Brady had suffered a concussion not previously reported by the Patriots during an interview with CBS, adding that she didn’t think it was “a healthy thing for anybody to go through.”
Bündchen balked when then-CBS News host Charlie Rose brought up Brady’s comments about playing into his mid-40s.
“That kind of aggression all the time, that cannot be healthy for you,” she said. “I’m planning on him being healthy and do[ing] a lot of fun things when we’re like 100, I hope.”
Brady, meanwhile, has acknowledged multiple times that Bündchen wanted him to do more on the home front. In an April 2020 interview with Howard Stern, Brady said that the couple had attended therapy after Bündchen wrote him a letter detailing her dissatisfaction with their marriage.
“She didn’t feel I was doing my part for the family,” Brady said. “I had to make a big transition in my life to say, ‘I can’t do all the things that I wanted to do for football like I used to. I gotta take care of things in my family because my family, the situation wasn’t great. She wasn’t satisfied with our marriage.”
In a May 2022 British Vogue interview, Bündchen stated that their relationship wasn’t a “fairy tale,” and spoke about the imbalance between her and Brady when it comes to focusing on their children. (The couple have two children together, Benjamin, 14, and Vivian, 9, and also co-parent Jack, 15, Brady’s child from a previous relationship with actress Bridget Moynahan.)
“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,” Bündchen said. “His focus is on his career, mine is mostly on the kids. And I’m very grateful that he lets me take the reins when it comes to our family. He trusts my decisions.”
Bündchen reiterated her desire for Brady to ‘be more present’ for the raising of their children in an Elle article published earlier this month, several days after tabloid rumors about the couple had already begun to surface.
“Obviously, I have my concerns — this is a very violent sport, and I have my children and I would like him to be more present,” Bündchen said. “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]. He needs to follow his joy, too.”
Ahead of his 23rd season in the NFL, Brady took an unexpected 11-day sabbatical from the Buccaneers during the pre-season. While many veteran players (including Brady) often skip off-season activities before the start of the season, Brady’s absence came in the middle of the pre-season, a time when teams typically focus on building chemistry and getting necessary reps to increase their consistency.
Brady called the reasons for his absence “personal” in a press conference following the Bucs’ final pre-season game of the year.
“It’s all personal,” Brady said. “You know, everyone has got different situations they’re dealing with so we all have really unique challenges to our life. You know. I’m 45 years old, man. There’s a lot of s*** going on. So you’ve just got to try to figure out life the best you can. You know, it’s a continuous process.”
One rumor that cropped up during Brady’s absence was that he was filming an appearance as a contestant on FOX’s reality show “The Masked Singer.” The timing of Brady’s absence coincided with the show’s taping schedule, and Brady has already inked a deal with FOX to serve as a commentator following his retirement. In a previous season of the show, former FOX football announcer Joe Buck competed on the show as well.
Despite a “Masked Singer” promo in which show panelist Ken Jeong hypothesizes that one of the masked contestants is Brady, the quarterback denied he had filmed an appearance for the show on Twitter.
Prior to the Buccaneers’ second game of the season, NFL Network insider Ian Rapaport reported that Brady would be given Wednesdays off for the full season.
Bucs coach Todd Bowles told Rapaport the scheduled days off were related to Brady’s veteran status.
“For most players, it’s important,” Bowles said. “But I think when you play in the league a certain amount of time and you prepare a certain way, it’s not necessary to practice that guy all the time.”
Following Brady’s return to the Bucs, Page Six reported that Brady and Bündchen were in an “epic fight,” and that the supermodel had departed the couple’s Tampa home for Costa Rica.
According to an anonymous source quoted in the article, the fight stemmed from Brady reneging on his retirement plans: “They had agreed he would retire to focus on the family, then he changed his mind.”
The tabloid reported that Brady was taking care of the kids while Bündchen was gone, quoting an anonymous source that said the quarterback was “very sad” about the fight.
“It seems that Gisele gets mad and says things like she’s leaving him, but in the past, they’ve always made up,” the source said. “But maybe this time it is more serious. He’s with the kids, and is just trying to be super dad.”
Since the initial September 1 article, updates from Page Six have not painted a rosy picture. The publication reported that when Bündchen flew back to Florida, she did not return to the family’s Tampa home, and that work being done on their Miami Beach home had been paused.
The tabloid also reported that Bündchen was spotted having a tearful phone conversation in the streets of New York City on Wednesday, and skipped a charity gala in NYC the next day despite being listed as a co-chair for the event.
On Friday, CNN joined the barrage of Page Six stories, reporting that Brady and Bündchen were living separately due to marital issues.
Amidst the despondent headlines, Bündchen found time to tweet her support for Brady ahead of Tampa’s Week 1 game against the Dallas Cowboys. (She did not, however, tweet anything before or after Brady’s Week 2 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.)
Let’s go @TomBrady!,” Bündchen tweeted on Twitter Sept. 11. “Let’s go Bucs!”
Despite the acrimony, Page Six quoted an anonymous source saying that Brady was hoping the couple could survive this rough patch.
“Tom is still hoping they can reconcile,” the source said. “Gisele has told him she’s leaving him before, and they always made up when she cooled down.”
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