Brady v. Bundchen: Neither Team Smells Sweet
Brady v. Bundchen: Neither Team Smells Sweet
You don’t have to be a football fan to know that famed quarterback Tom Brady and his model wife Gisele Bundchen are splitting up.
I can hear it now: Who cares? But I would also remind the scoffers of that insightful quote from the late Andrew Breitbart: Politics is downstream from culture. And this is a cultural story with its own lessons.
Tom Brady is a legend in the NFL; he won six Super Bowl rings as the quarterback for the New England Patriots, and one as the QB for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sports writers worship him as the GOAT: the Greatest Of All Time (although as I sit at the computer in my red Kansas City Chiefs hoodie I smile to myself. There’s a new GOAT on the horizon, and his name is Mahomes.)
But aside from that.
Tom Brady is now 45 years old, and while that’s a prime age for the corporate suite, it’s darn old for a football player. Especially when you consider the violence of the sport, and the frightening incidents of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) among pro players. So at the end of the 2021 season Brady decided to hang up his cleats and retire.
Well, that lasted a few brief months. By March he announced his un-retirement. “I just enjoy playing with the guys that I play with,” he told a reporter.
Tom Brady is the Brokeback Quarterback: he just cain’t quit football. Nor can he quit the adulation that comes along with it, either.
Meanwhile, his super model wife, Gisele Bundchen, has been fuming. And she’s been fuming about Tom’s football obsession for years, according to TMZ. Even as far back as 2017 she expressed her frustration with him in an interview on “CBS This Morning:”
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) May 17, 2017
She also recently told Elle magazine:
“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.”
“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.”
And now they’ve both made their decisions and have hired divorce lawyers.
If you observe any sort of media, you’ll see that Team Tom and Team Gisele seem to split between the sexes. Men — especially Brady fans — say she should let him play. He’s making tons of money for her! He’s the GOAT!
Women, on the other hand, sympathize with Gisele: Look, he keeps leaving her with the kids to play football! And she quit her career as a Victoria’s Secret model, too! All for him!
In my view: a pox on both their houses.
Yes, he’s a jerk for going back on his promise to retire. His prime responsibility should be with his children, whom he apparently loves, but not like football.
.@TomBrady and the kids pregame. ❤️
— NFL (@NFL) September 25, 2022
But let’s look at Gisele, shall we?
She married Tom Brady in 2009, when she was 29 and he was 32. He had been playing since 2001 and had already won three Super Bowl rings at the time of their nuptials. So she didn’t enter marriage being totally clueless about his devotion to football.
Not only that, but Brady had quite the past with Playboy models and actresses. Before Gisele he dated Playmates of the Month, and, most notoriously, actress Bridget Moynahan, who bore him a son, Jack, in 2007.
That didn’t go over well with Gisele, who wrote:
“Two months into our relationship, Tom told me that his ex-girlfriend was pregnant. The very next day, the news was everywhere, and I felt my world had been turned upside down.”
So she knew he was a cad, too, but still married him.
A memorable line from Garrison Keillor’s book Lake Woebegon Days comes to mind here: If you didn’t want to go to Cincinnati, why’d you get on the train?
As far as poor-Gisele-stuck-at-home-with-kids, allow me to get a bit personal here.
Our oldest daughter married a Navy officer. They were high school sweethearts who married three weeks after their respective college graduations: she from a college in Iowa, he from the US Naval Academy. They were literally kids, since both had just turned 22 in the spring of 2005.
Two children, seventeen years, and many moves later, they know what it’s like to be separated. Our daughter has to do All The Things when her husband is deployed for months at a time — which have included a couple of medical emergencies with one of their children.
But other military wives whom I’ve met also experience the same. In fact, there seems to be a corollary to Murphy’s Law for military spouses: If anything goes wrong, it happens when the husband is deployed.
And none of them have the privileges of the Bradys, either.
So please, don’t cry about the very wealthy Gisele’s struggles with being left home to care for the kids.
Fox News’s The Five discussed the Brady-Bundchen breakup, with members of the panel breaking into predictable camps. However, Greg Gutfeld, as he often does, expressed the most interesting, if cynical, take: that the wealthy can divorce because they have options no one else has.
So once Tom and Gisele divorce, how many young women will throw themselves at Brady? How many Playmates will he squire once again? And how many younger men will court Gisele Bundchen, if not for her looks, then certainly for her money?
Of course the ones who stand to lose the most here are the Brady children: Jack, 15 (with Bridget Moynahan); Benjamin, 12; and Vivian, 9. All three have been living in the goldfish bowl of professional sports, and now they’ll have to enter the very public world of having famous parents going through a very public divorce.
Last month, Tom Brady said on a Sirius XM podcast:
“When I was 25, all I did was think about football. That was my life. It was eat, sleep, drink football. It was my profession, it was my career.”
“And then over time, other priorities develop because you change and evolve through life and you grow in different ways. So you take on these different responsibilities, of family and commitment and so forth. And you commit time and energy to those things.”