Nowadays, Leonardo DiCaprio’s dating life gets him clowned (also side eyed) on the internets. But once upon a time, he was in a committed relationship with Gisele Bündchen and not the source of many a Twitter meme. From about 2000 to 2005, Leo and Gisele were one of Hollywood’s it-couples. During this time, Leo starred in The Aviator, Catch Me If You Can and Gangs of New York. As for Gisele, this era marked the beginning of her domination (in 2002, for example, she first became the world’s highest-paid model, a title she held for more than a decade).
And while this period brought them a lot of success in their careers, it didn’t end up translating into happily ever after for the former lovers. But because the early aughts were a different time (i.e. no Twitter), we decided to look back at their relationship for old time’s sake. Here’s what we learned about Gisele and Leo.
Gisele saw a change in media coverage in 2000.
Despite being a rising star, the media wasn’t as interested in her relationships until she was linked to Leonardo DiCaprio. In 2000, she and Leo began dating, and despite photographic proof of their coupling, Gisele didn’t always readily share that information. For example, a 2000 Rolling Stone profile detailed how the supermodel avoided talking about it while on a Brazilian talk show. The host showed images of Gisele and Leo hanging out at the beach. When she was asked if that was her boyfriend, she didn’t answer the question. “Wow, you know, actually I’ve been looking for a boyfriend – and you could totally be my boyfriend!” she said.
However, in the same profile, she criticized the notion that they made a great couple for “marketing” reasons. “Some people are saying we’re a great couple in terms of marketing,” she said. “That’s stupid. He doesn’t need me. And I don’t need him. Because I got where I am without him, and he got where he is without me.”
They broke up at least once.
In 2002, they broke up, according to outlets. A November 2002 W magazine piece explained that Gisele and Leo had split the previous summer after two years of dating. At that time, Gisele stated she had no time for relationships. “Boys are cute,” she said. “No time for boys. There’s nothing else to say.”
In a New York Times Magazine feature in the same month, Leo didn’t want to talk about his past relationship with Gisele.
Then, they were back on and more serious than ever.
By mid-2003, they were back on, and seemingly, very serious about each other. In a June article, an insider said that “they couldn’t be happier together” and that they were inching closer to marriage. And though they didn’t marry in 2003, they reportedly visited Machu Picchu and rode bikes in New York.
A year later, they were even stronger.
In 2004, rumors of a marriage were even stronger. People, for example, reported that Leo had purchased a “custom-made Neil Lane diamond ring.”
They broke up.
In the first part of 2005, Leo and Gisele attended the Oscars together. Despite the very public outing, they called it quits this same year. They began dating other people shortly after. Leo went on to date Bar Refaeli and Gisele eventually began dating now-husband Tom Brady in 2006.
She revealed why they broke up.
In her 2018 book, Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life, Gisele touched on that time in her life. She explained that after having panic attacks, she chose to make some lifestyle changes, which included cutting cigarettes, wine, caffeine and more from her life. Leo didn’t go down the same path.
“No longer numbing myself with smoking, drinking and too much work, I was becoming more and more aware of things that I’d chosen not to look at,” she wrote in the book. “Was I alone in wanting to do some serious soul-searching while he stayed the same? In the end, unfortunately, the answer was yes.”