Tom Brady and Gisele Bunchen

Getty Images

We’ve got the scoop on the cracks in this picture-perfect pairing.

Tom Brady may be one of the most successful football stars in the history of the NFL, but it seems his career is taking a serious toll on his relationship with wife Gisele Bündchen.

We’ve seen lots of media speculation recently that things are tense between the A-list couple, and that tension appears to be boiling over. CNN reported this week that the pair is “living separately” as they sort through “marital issues.”

While it’s impossible to know exactly what’s going on in someone else’s marriage, the latest reports say the biggest issue is that Brady’s commitment to continuing with football is causing strain, since it keeps him away from Bündchen and their children, 12-year-old Benjamin and 9-year-old Vivian. (Brady also shares a 15-year-old son, Jack, with his ex Bridget Moynahan.)

In February of this year, Brady announced that he would retire from the NFL after 22 seasons. But by March, he’d already changed his mind, declaring he would, in fact, return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2022 season.

“These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” Brady said at the time. “That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business.”

According to a report in People, Brady’s choice to return to the game isn’t sitting well with Bündchen, who would prefer a more consistent family schedule than a demanding football career can allow.

“From a family standpoint, these are critical years,” a source close to the supermodel told the magazine. “The kids are getting older, Ben is 12 now, and Gisele feels like Tom needs to be home.”

Yet another People report published this week quoted a person connected with Brady, who said the quarterback “knows that this is his last season” playing the sport “if he wants to stay married,” adding that he hopes to make his remaining time count and will most likely retire — for good — once this season has come to a close.

Brady himself said he’s “close to the end” of his NFL run during a recent episode of his podcast, Let’s Go!, explaining that he’s been feeling emotional about the awareness that the clock is running out on his career.

“I think when you get close to the end — and I don’t know exactly where I’m at with that, but there’s no decision to be made, it’s not like I have 10 years left, I definitely don’t have that,” he said.

Brady and Bündchen in happier times, sharing a kiss after the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victory in 2019. (Getty Images)

Bündchen entered the conversation via an interview for an Elle cover story, during which she admitted that Brady’s career does cause her stress, but said that she wants him to feel fulfilled.

“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,” she 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.”

Though that Elle interview was just published this week, the writer notes that her conversations with Bündchen took place earlier this summer, before Brady took an unexpected 11-day break from the Buccaneers’ training camp in August, citing “personal reasons” for the absence. At the time, the team’s head coach Todd Bowles said Brady was “going to deal with some personal things. This is something we talked about before training camp started.”

When Elle followed up with Bündchen in September to get her reaction on the rumors of strife within her marriage, she declined to comment. But in her previous remarks, she did elaborate on what she brings to the marriage to allow Brady the time and energy for his career.

“I’ve done my part, which is [to] be there for [Tom]. I moved to Boston, and I focused on creating a cocoon and a loving environment for my children to grow up in and to be there supporting him and his dreams,” she said. “Seeing my children succeed and become the beautiful little humans that they are, seeing him succeed, and being fulfilled in his career — it makes me happy. At this point in my life, I feel like I’ve done a good job on that.”

Want more great content?

Sign up here to jumpstart your mornings with Katie’s dynamic daily newsletter, Wake-Up Call.