There are four marriage stories dominating pop culture this fall: Brad and Angelina (sad and dark), The Try Guys (emotional), Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo (embarrassing but expected), and Tom and Gisele, which I think is the most nuanced split we’ve seen in a long time.
Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen are pulling at people in a different way because it’s not about infidelity or money or more serious allegations, it’s about lifestyle. It’s about who packs lunches and manages the Team Snap (the bane of many households). It’s about how people, even very rich and famous people, show up in their marriage.
Last night, Lainey and I were texting about how the online opinions aren’t taking the usual turn: there’s no “gold digger” allegations or fist-pumping the dude for leaving his nagging wife holding him back from greatness. This is unusual because Tom comes from the sports world and those fandoms – like most others – have a strong layer of misogyny. My theory is this: Gisele is a supermodel (and therefore seen as “worthy” for someone who plays professional sports) AND financially independent. Beauty doesn’t protect women from scorn and neither does money (see: Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson) but it seems like in this specific storyline, the combination of the two traits has made it easier for people to see Gisele as someone deserving of agency, as f-cked up as that justification is. Sure he may be the greatest QB to ever play (according to some) but she was also at the top of her game and unlike him, sacrificed a decade of her prime earning years to manage their household.
Both Tom and Gisele have careers that come with an expiration date. For athletes, it’s when their body can’t take it any longer. For models, it’s usually age… but Gisele is an outlier in her profession. Like Naomi Campbell, she would be in hot demand if she chose to work. She could be doing runway and editorial and ad campaigns and has chosen not to do that for the sake of her home life. Tom winding down on playing, but keeping up with his many side businesses, seems like a natural time for Gisele to start to refresh her professional goals, which it sounds like she had a plan for.
Even those trying to paint her in a negative light are reaching for a whole lot of nothing. She is not holding him back at all. I’m no sports commentator but Tom being on the decline (which is fine! He’s 45!) has many wondering why he won’t hang up his cleats, whereas the usual default is that a man like Tom is so special/talented/important she should suck it up for his greatness. She HAS sucked it up, for many years. Everyone knows that he literally plays a young persons’ game. Fans expect their favourite to retire and he did, for 40 days.
And it seems that Tom has been so distracted by his career that she had time to hire a divorce lawyer and he is now trying to catch up. (Still curious about who leaked this bit as usually it’s a joint separation statement followed by a divorce filing and TMZ breaks who the lawyer is – that’s the standard 95% of the time.) In PEOPLE’s latest story, a source took up for Tom saying, “No other husband gets six months off a year to be totally devoted to just their family," the source said. "And during the season, yes he travels for games and trains, but he's with his family a lot too."
This is an interesting take. “No other husband gets six months off” – some husbands stay home with the kids year-round. Considering she gives 12 months a year, that’s a weak argument. And it’s doubtful that as soon as the season ends, he just gives up football for six months – he is still training and practicing, obviously. When he is off, what kind of support is he providing? Is it during the back to school rush? What’s his summer like when the kids are off school? Does he have a hand in the multiple administrative and social tasks that are required when shuffling around three kids, like consent and emergency forms, activity sign-ups, playdates, birthday parties, class volunteering, field trips and organizing Jack’s visits and flights to the daily stuff like lunches, homework, lessons, making sure they have clean socks for tomorrow etc.? Of course they can afford help and live a life more comfortable than most but it seems like they designed their lives so their kids could have hands-on parents and Gisele has been that. If he spent 40 days doing it and went back on his word well, who wouldn’t be pissed.
Things are not looking good for Tom at home or in the streets. Even though he will be fine in a post-divorce life, he is being clowned online. First with the Pete Davidson Accord, which requires Twitter to bind any single woman to him (the tattoo options would be amazing).
Pete Davidson finding out about the Brady/Gisele divorce rumors pic.twitter.com/cdbWtpp0hY— Wu Tang is for the Children (@WUTangKids) October 4, 2022
Spiritually, there’s the word of Solomon, who gave us the quotable thread on Dell Curry (“you don’t wanna be out here”). He has offered many nuggets of wisdom to Tom; this one is my favourite but I encourage you to read the whole thread.
You not supposed to really â€œLeave it all on the fieldâ€— Hi Iâ€™m Solomon (@solomonmissouri) October 4, 2022
Thatâ€™s just something white people say over IPA
Most signs point to this marriage being over but what if the trickle of information, particularly about the divorce lawyer, could be her way of warning that this is serious. PEOPLE just reported that he has also hired a divorce attorney, so it is escalating. But nothing has been filed. Gisele is still in Florida. Maybe there’s time on the clock for a Hail Mary pass. (Am I footballing right?) Perhaps he should ask that lawyer to get him out of the Tampa Bay contract because seriously Tom, you don’t wanna be out here.
oh heâ€™s getting Divorced-divorced https://t.co/CnjraaH8JT— hunter harris (@hunteryharris) September 19, 2022