Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen Announce Divorce


Brady and Bündchen attend the 2019 Met Gala. (Source: Theo Wargo/WireImage/Getty Images)

On October 28, former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and former supermodel Gisele Bündchen confirmed their divorce. Why did this power couple — after over a decade of marriage — decide to terminate their marriage when their bond seemed just as strong as ever?

The answer lies within Brady’s struggle to achieve a work-life balance. It seems that throughout Bündchen and Brady’s marriage, the quarterback has prioritized his demanding career yet neglected his family responsibilities.

While the couple has experienced some rough patches, signs of their worsening relationship first surfaced two years ago. In 2020 on the Howard Stern Show, Brady admitted on the Howard Stern Show, “A couple of years ago, she didn’t feel like I was doing my part for the family. She felt like I would play football all season and she would take care of the house […] And she’s sitting there going: ‘Well, when are you going to do things for the house? When are you going to take the kids to school and do that?’ I had to check myself because she was like: ‘I have goals and dreams too.”

Brady was most likely referring back to 2018, when the Patriots advanced to the playoffs for the tenth consecutive season. Although the resulting extension of his season was another career success, it came with a large sacrifice: less time to spend with his family. Bündchen’s intervention may have opened Brady’s eyes to his shortcomings at the time, but four years later, he made the same choice.

In February 2022, the 45 year-old athlete finally announced his retirement after 22 National Football League (NFL) seasons and a record seven Super Bowl victories. Retirement meant Brady could finally focus more on his wife, kids and personal life. He, however, changed his mind just one month later, declaring his return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 23rd season. Many find it easy to sympathize with Brady’s reluctance to let go of his lifelong passion, but in holding on to this, he once again puts football before his family.

Rumors claim thatBündchen wanted Brady to retire for a long time. When asked about the matter, she replies, “Obviously, I have my concerns. [Football] is a very violent sport, and […] my children and I would like him to be more present.” She adds, “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 [themselves]. He needs to follow his joy, too.”

Brady’s joy, nevertheless, often came at the expense of Bündchen’s ambitions. At one point, Bündchen had been one of the highest-paid models in the industry. She has opened shows for various luxury brands, frequently appeared in Vogue magazines and was a Victoria’s Secret Angel. In addition to modeling, she was a philanthropist, seasoned environmental activist and actress, appearing in movies such as The Devil Wears Prada. After having children with Brady, however, his time-consuming job gave Bündchen the brunt of the work at home, forcing her to set aside her own career.

Brady and Bündchen’s divorce can be traced back to the reason behind many others: work-life balance. When an individual is duly invested in their career, it can be hard to maintain a personal life that  cancels out the negatives of strenuous work. An equilibrium between the two is necessary to improve physical and mental health, develop stronger relationships and increase productivity in the workspace.

Boston Latin School teacher Mr. Philip Pietrangelo explains, “Maintaining this balance is essential for my sustainability in this profession. If I lost this balance, I wouldn’t be a very happy teacher or present with my family.” 

Teaching Chemistry 1 and AP Chemistry, as well as supervising the Chemistry Olympiad club, Mr. Pietrangelo is very busy. Becoming a father last fall placed a further emphasis on work-life balance.

 He reveals, “I rarely bring work home. I do most of my planning, grading and emailing at school. This way, when I’m home I can focus on my family.” Mr. Pietrangelo sets a stellar example of a professional who sustains such harmony.

If a work-life balance is not strictly maintained, one’s life can suffer major consequences. Individuals who choose difficult jobs must in return compensate more to better their own lives and those of everyone around them. In Brady’s defense, most NFL players are occupied with football from 6:30 A.M. to 6 P.M., six days a week. While the season is only 18 weeks long, off-season training is unofficially mandatory if the players wish to maintain or improve their play. Professional football is a demanding job that implements time-constraints, making it harder to make time for a personal life.

The NFL, however, is not to blame for Brady’s situation. Many professional athletes are able to make time to nurture healthy relationships. While Brady seems to have sustainedhis relationship with his children, his marriage with Bündchen is now over, with no one to blame but himself.