90s supermodel Linda Evangelista famously once stated, “I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day.” But when her former lover failed to pay child support for years, she took him to court over a lot more money. The only problem was, he’s been married to actress Salma Hayek for years.
Linda has been making the rounds lately concerning her CoolSculpting cosmetic mishap which has left her “brutally disfigured.” But before the botched fat-freezing procedure, she was embroiled in a bitter child support court case, following several unsuccessful relationships. Take a look at the supermodel’s relationships over the years, leading up to her fling with Salma Hayek’s husband.
Childhood Etiquette Classes Introduced Linda To the World of Modelling
Linda was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1965 to Italian Roman Catholic immigrants from a working-class background. She was an eye-catching beauty even in childhood, but found herself introduced to the modeling world when she started attending a self-improvement course at the young age of 12.
In class, Linda learned about etiquette and was taught how to keep poise and composure, all of which would help her in future modelling career. Her unusual charm caught the attention of a modelling agent at Elite Model Management, and she was immediately recruited.
A Predatory Modelling Job at 16 Years of Age Almost Made Her Quit Entirely
Linda was 16 years old when she flew to Japan for a modeling gig. But it wasn’t anywhere near as glamorous as she imagined, and it was such a horrible experience that it almost made her throw in the towel. “I went to the agency and it was all, ‘Take your clothes off, we need your measurements.’ “
“But they already had my measurements,” Linda explained. It became clear to young Linda that this modeling gig was extremely predatory and nothing that she wanted to be a part of: “They wanted me naked and it wasn’t a ‘would you do nudes’ conversation, it was a ‘you will do nudes.’ “
When Linda’s Looks Were Compared To That of Joan Severance, Her Career Took Off
It wasn’t until the renowned modeling agent John Casablancas took Linda under his wing that her career really took off. He compared Linda’s unusual beauty to that of model and actress Joan Severance (pictured on the left) and moved the then-19-year-old aspiring model to New York.
Her high-fashion career took off almost in an instant. She started gracing the covers of major publications like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Allure, but it was the biggest fashion houses who really took a liking to her. Linda became Chanel’s head designer Karl Lagerfeld’s muse before becoming just as important to Gianni Versace.
Linda Fell for a French Modeling-Agency Boss Who Was 15 Years Her Senior
Linda was barely even out of her teens when she first got married. She met another modeling agency boss, Gerald Marie, in 1987 and soon become one half of a fashion power couple. He was a lot older than Linda – 15 years to be exact – and extremely influential. She married him in the same year that she met him, but cracks in their relationship began to show very soon after the wedding.
Linda and Gerald stayed married for six years, however, and when they finally divorced in 1993, they appeared to be civil with one another. Linda didn’t speak badly about her modeling agency boss husband – in fact, she didn’t say much at all. Until years later, when Gerald’s abusive actions came to light.
Models Accused Gerald of Assault During His Marriage to Linda
In 2020, allegations against the modeling agency boss came to light. And when they did, Linda had nothing but support for those who spoke out. 15 women spoke out about having been physically abused and harassed by Gerald when they were models before, during, and after his marriage to Linda.
Linda told The Guardian: “During my relationship with Gerald Marie, I knew nothing of these sexual allegations against him, so I was unable to help these women.” However, she added that “Hearing them now, and based on my own experiences, I believe that they are telling the truth.” She didn’t elaborate on this point, but many have questioned whether she herself had suffered abuse at the hands of her first husband.
Linda Hooked Up With Actor Kyle MacLachlan Before Her Divorce and “Opened Up” His World
Linda had actually met her next boyfriend before her divorce was finalized. She met actor Kyle MacLachlan by chance while filming for a Barney’s department store commercial in 1992. Allegedly, meeting him encouraged Linda to push for that divorce. It certainly aligns with what Kyle has said about their first meeting: “I met her there, and I was just, quite taken, you know – and I think it was true of her, too.”
He revealed in a 2020 interview that they “got together the second night,” and soon became the new fashion-forward couple of the 90s: “It was like a party. I got to submerge myself in the world of fashion. I became a bit of a clothes horse, actually. Linda opened up the world to me.”
Linda Told the Public That She Was Begging Kyle To Propose, but Eventually He “Didn’t Really Want To”
Linda and Kyle continued their affair after her divorce. When Linda was asked by Jay Leno in a 1995 interview whether she wanted to get married, she replied, “I want to get married, and I drop hints all the time, and not even subtle hints, I come right out and beg… I even cut out pictures of big huge engagement rings out of magazines and I put them on the refrigerator with little magnets.”
All those hints apparently worked, as Kyle popped the question a few short months later. However, they never ended up tying the knot. Later in life, Kyle explained why: “I wasn’t necessarily resistant to marriage but it seemed like I was, and maybe I was, but I just liked things the way we were… She called it a day.” In another interview, he stated, “I didn’t really want to get married as I couldn’t see the point and the relationship wasn’t really going anywhere.”
Soccer Player and Racing Driver Fabien Barthez Becomes Linda’s Next Romantic Conquest
It was 1998 when Evangelista and Kyle called it time on their relationship, the same year that she met the international soccer star and accomplished race car driver Fabien Barthez. He was at the top of his soccer career at the time, having recently achieved glory for France thanks to a FIFA World Cup win.
No one saw their relationship coming. But the paparazzi photos showed the couple was very much in love and trying to keep their blossoming romance out of the papers. They did, however, do a photo shoot together for Paris Match magazine in 1999, in which they publicly declared their love for one another.
Linda Becomes Pregnant With Fabien’s Baby While Their Relationship Is on the Rocks
Despite how loved up the couple appeared to be in the few public outings that were caught on camera, the truth was that they had a rocky relationship. And after around a year of dating, Linda became pregnant. She desperately wanted to have a child, so it was joyous news to her that she would soon have a little one, even if her relationship with Fabien was precarious.
Unfortunately, Linda lost the child in 1999 after about six months of pregnancy, and it was truly devastating for her. She described the stillbirth as one of the hardest experiences she’s ever had to live through, but didn’t give up hope that one day, she would become a mother. It wouldn’t be with Fabien, however, as the couple split up in 2000.
Linda Mysteriously Becomes Pregnant Years Later but This Time, She Refuses To Reveal Who the Father Is
Linda had taken a bit of a career hiatus during her relationship with Fabien, but following their separation, she thrust herself back into the fashion world. She was in her 40s, but she was gracing the covers of magazines once more and strutting her stuff down catwalks for the biggest luxury fashion houses.
Linda managed to keep her dating life private. But she suddenly became pregnant in 2006, announcing to the world that she was carrying a child, but refusing to name who the father was. She was pictured on July 11th, 2006, proudly displaying her burgeoning bump as she attended a gallery opening in London. But she wasn’t accompanied by anyone else.
Billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault Is Revealed To Be the Father, but He’s Married to Actress Salma Hayek
Linda gave birth to a boy, Augustin James, in 2006. But she still kept the identity of the father a secret from the public. Linda appeared to be raising him as a single mom, but it wasn’t until 2011 that it was confirmed. Four years after the birth of her son, Linda filed a paternity suit against the French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault.
Francois-Henri was a billionaire business mogul and the CEO of a luxury fashion group which owned brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen. But there was one slight complication with his paternity reveal – he was married to Hollywood actress Salma Hayek.
Francois-Henri Has a Daughter With Salma, Born a Year Later Than His Son With Linda
Not only was Francois-Henri a married man, but he also had a daughter of his own with Salma. Their daughter was born in 2007, and they married two years later on Valentine’s Day. But before his relationship with Salma and his picture-perfect family life, he had briefly dated Linda.
Linda met the business magnate back in 2005, and things pretty much escalated from there. The pair kept their new romance a secret at the time, and ended up parting ways four months later. But Linda would come to reveal the real reason why they broke up, and it unsurprisingly left her with a lot of hard feelings.
Linda Brings Her Son’s Father To Court Over Child Support
Linda was suing Francois-Henri for child support benefits, and bringing both of them to court for it. Francois-Henri’s 2010 salary was reported as being $5.4 million – but on top of that, he came from an extremely wealthy family, worth around $13 billion, and lived in a sprawling Los Angeles estate of around $12 million. He certainly seemed as though he was in a position to afford child support.
But he wasn’t going to pay up without a fight. On the first day of trial in 2012, the former lovers looked frosty and on the defensive, ready to argue for their cause. They refused to make eye contact with each other, as Linda declared that the business magnate hadn’t paid a dime towards his son or his costly private school. But there’s a good reason why it took her so long to seek financial aid from her son’s biological father.
Francois-Henri Was Loaded While Linda’s Modelling Career Took a Nose Dive
In 2010, when Francois-Henri earned himself a handsome sum that totalled over $5 million (according to Bloomberg Businessweek) Linda’s fashion career had taken a sudden dive. In her modelling comeback, she became the face of cosmetics brand L’oreal Paris and signed a multi-million dollar contract.
She was raking in around $1.8 million annually before 2010, but when her contract with L’oreal ended that year her salary sank. Francois-Henri on the other hand was swimming in money and enjoying luxurious vacations, with his wife and daughter born just a year after Augustin.
The Business Magnate’s Daughter Was Living in the Lap of Luxury While Augustine Didn’t See a Cent
One of the points that Linda and her attorney brought up was the massive discrepancy in his treatment of Valentina, his daughter with Salma, compared to that of his son with Linda. Her legal team explained how Francois-Henri would take Salma and Valentina on lavish holidays, like spending Christmas on a yacht in St. Barts or taking regular family trips to Miami.
Linda’s legal team also claimed that he had recently taken Salma and Valentina to a Four Seasons resort in Bora Bora for 12 days, raking up costs of around $60,000. Francois-Henri admitted in court that he had never invited his son on a vacation. In fact, the businessman never even told Augustine that he had two older half sibling from Francois-Henri’s previous marriage. He also admitted to making expensive financial provisions for Valentina, like security, while never providing the same for Augustine.
Linda Wanted Her Son To Be Equally Entitled To Francois-Henri’s Immense Fortune
Linda was looking to give her son Augustine the same benefits enjoyed by Salma’s daughter. Presumably, the hope was that she would not only have financial aid from Francois-Henri, but also be entitled to a share of his massive family fortune.
According to media reports of the time, Linda was looking to receive around $46,000 per month in child support payments, but the supernmodel’s legal team denied such claims. They stated that the five-digit figure was a rumor started by Francois-Henri’s legal team in a smear campaign.
Francois-Henri Suggests That Linda Got Pregnant on Purpose, Without His Consent
Things got a little bit more tense when Linda’s attorney asked Francois-Henri if he believed she got pregnant on purpose. The billionaire’s legal team objected to the question, but not before Francois-Henri shrugged and was heard answering under his breathe, “She can answer, but I guess.”
The business magnate added: “I asked her [at the time] what was her intention with the pregnancy. I was not involved in the decision of having babies.” Francois-Henri also claimed that on top of child support, Linda was taking him to court to try and receive “mom support.”
Linda Gets Emotional When Francois-Henri Admits He Can’t Remember Learning of Her Pregnancy
The only time Linda appeared to get emotional was when Francois-Henri revealed that he couldn’t remember when exactly she told him she was pregnant. Allegedly, she stepped in to confirm to her lawyer that she did infact tell the French businessman that she was pregnant approximately two months later.
“I got pregnant in January and told him in March,” she was heard telling her attorney, but Francois-Henri failed to recall it exactly. Instead, he stressed that he and Linda weren’t very close at the time that she got pregnant – after all, she was living in New York, and he was living in Paris.
Fighting With Francois-Henri Over His Total Lack of An Effort With Their Son
It became apparent in the trial that the former lovers had had some contact over the last few years with regard to Augustine, although not as much as Linda had hoped. Linda’s legal team showed an email exchange to the court regarding a birthday party that Augustine was having.
Francois-Henri was in New York at the time with his wife and daughter, but Linda’s attorney claimed that he had made an excuse not to come, claiming to have appointments that he didn’t have at all. After a pause, Francois-Henri replied “I came, with my wife,” to which Linda shook her head in disapproval and whispered to her team, “After we fought.”
Courtroom Bombshell: Francois-Henri Tried To Get Linda To Have An Abortion
It was revealed in court that Francois-Henri had tried to get Linda to have an abortion. Linda’s lawyer stated that “After some initial happiness, he indicated his preference to Ms. Evangelista that she terminate the pregnancy.” She refused to do so. He continued, “She would support the child herself since he had made it perfectly clear to her that he had no interest in doing so… And she did.”
Francois-Henri’s spokesman later denied these claims, with the businessman stating in court that “We were dating four months, and I didn’t even know her very much.” He even suggested that with them living in different countries, they didn’t spend much time together – he figured that all in all, they only really went out seven times over the four months, making it more like a week-long fling.
The Billionaire Admitted To Dumping Linda After Finding Out She Was Pregnant
The business magnate also admitted that Linda’s pregnancy is what made him end their romance altogether. He simply didn’t want anything to do with the baby. “She was so happy to be pregnant,” he recalled in court, adding “But it was not planned. I decided to stop the relationship at that point.”
Francois-Henri reiterated that he had no choice over the matter: “I was not involved in the decision of having a baby.” But he claimed that since the baby was his, he was willing to step up: “Then, of course, I told her I would recognize the baby, which I did. I would take my responsibility, and I did.”
Francois-Henri Claims That He Was Willing To Participate More, But Received Radio Silence From Linda
Francois-Henri had some what of a defense. He explained that after DNA testing confirmed Augustine to be his bioligcal son, he legally recognized him and asked his attorney to offer Linda a financial settlement. According to him, his offer went completely unanswered for years.
Francois-Henri claimed that he only heard back when Linda handed him with court papers in 2010, three years after his offer. He explained to the judge, “The way I work, is that I make an offer and if someone doesn’t respond, I think the answer is no. That no money was needed for the care of Augie. That was my understanding.”
A Settlement Is Finally Reached, and It Is Thought To Be One of the Biggest in New York State History
In May 2012, Linda and Francois-Henri finally reached a settlement after a tense child support battle. Both parties refused to reveal the exact number, but it is thought to be around the alleged $46,000 a month that she was asking for. Linda claimed that she needed to provide Augustine with armed bodyguards and a 24-hour nanny, among other things.
To give the sum some perspective, rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs was ordered to pay $19,000 a month in child support just a few years earlier, and it went on record as the biggest child support sum in New York State history. With Linda’s alleged sum of $46,000, it equates to $552,000 a year. Whatever the final sum was, it was a relief to both sides that a settlement had been reached, with Francois-Henri’s attorney stating “Everybody is very glad that it’s over.”
Linda Withdraws From Public Life and No One Really Knows Why
Following that court settlement, Linda continued to model and revive her fashion career. She acted as a guest judge on Australia’s Next Top Model, attended Met Gala’s and award shows, and modeled for Vogue and Zoo magazine, to name a few. She starred in a Moschini campaign and chaired the FiFi Awards, but suddenly in 2016 she completely dropped off.
Linda appeared to withdraw from public life without any explanation, and people assumed that she had retired to a life of seclusion. She continued to maintain her Instagram account, which she had opened in 2015, but rarely posted photos of herself today. When she did, she posted badly lit selfies where you could hardly see her face – a total contrast to her former Instagram behavior.
Salma Hayek Embraces Linda and Francois-Henri’s Lovechild Into Her Life
For years, Linda remained a recluse. In August 2021, we got a small glimpse into her life through Salma Hayek, when the actress posted a sweet photo of herself with Linda and Francois-Henri’s lovechild, Augustine. Augustine was growing up fast, and it was the first time anyone had seen him on the internet since he was a little.
But Augustine wasn’t little anymore. “Here comes the weekend!!” Salma wrote in the caption, showing that the tension from years before had finally settled. Salma and Francois-Henri were now inviting Augustine on holiday, and there was no more bad blood between the 90s “super” and the Frida actress. Linda posted to love heart emojis in the comments section to confirm that all was now well between the families.
Linda Addresses Her Step Away From Public Life, Revealing That She Is “Unrecognizable”
A month after Salma’s touching photo, Linda finally came clean. She wrote on Instagram: “Today I took a big step towards righting a wrong that I have suffered and have kept to myself for over five years.” She was addressing her Instagram followers, who may have “wondered why I have not been working while my peers’ careers have been thriving.”
Linda continued: “The reason is that I was brutally disfigured by Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting procedure which did the opposite of what it promised. It increased, not decreased, my fat cells and left me permanently deformed even after undergoing two painful, unsuccessful, corrective surgeries.” This was shocking news. Linda added, “I have been left, as the media has described, ‘unrecognizable.’ “
Linda Reveals She Has Been Dealing With ” Deep Depression” and “Self-Loathing” Since an Unexpected Diagnosis
In the same revealing Instagram post, Linda elaborated on her difficult situation. “I have developed Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia or PAH, a risk of which I was not made aware before I had the procedures,” she told her fans in total honesty. No one had even known that Linda underwent a cosmetic procedure.
That’s where Linda revealed to what extent these procedures and surgeries had impacted her life: “PAH has not only destroyed my livelihood, it has sent me into a cycle of deep depression, profound sadness, and the lowest depths of self-loathing. In the process, I have become a recluse.”
Linda Reveals That She Is Going to Court Once More Seeking Damages for Her Fat-Freezing Nightmare
Linda also revealed that she was seeking financial compensation for the life-changing procedure, and she was taking those responsible to court. The company was CoolSculpting, but they were owned by Zeltiq Aesthetics, who in turn is owned by a major pharmaceutical company. If Linda got her way, she’d be raking in $50 million in damages.
“With this lawsuit, I am moving forward to rid myself of my shame, and going public with my story,” Linda explained on Instagram. “I’m so tired of living this way. I would like to talk out my door with my head held high, despite not looking like myself any longer.”
Linda Talks to People Magazine About How She’s Been Hiding Away and Living in Shame
It wasn’t until a few months later that we heard Linda addressing the issues outlined in her surprising Instagram post. She gave an interview to People magazine revealing just how terrible her mental health has been since the botched CoolSculpting procedure.
“I loved being up on the catwalk. Now I dread running into someone I know,” she explained in the February 2022 interview. But she had finally come to the realization that enough was enough: “I can’t live like this anymore, in hiding and shame. I just couldn’t live in this pain any longer. I’m willing to finally speak.”
Linda starved herself trying to fix the problem and blamed herself
Linda explained to People that three months after the first fat-freezing procedure, she started seeing bulges on her chin, chest, and thighs. These were the problem areas that she had been trying to minimize with CoolSculpting, and no one had told her that this was part of the process.
Before long, these areas actually became stiff and numb to touch. “I tried to fix it myself, thinking I was doing something wrong,” she stated, explaining that it made her take extreme measures with her diet. “I got to where I wasn’t eating at all. I thought I was losing my mind.”
Linda Cried When She Had To Show a Doctor What Her Body Looked Like
Still unsure of what was happening to her body and whether or not she was the issue, Linda consulted a doctor for a second opinion. In June 2016, Linda explained that “I dropped my robe for him,” but she was overwhelmed with emotions. “I was bawling, and I said, ‘I haven’t eaten, I’m starving. What am I doing wrong?’ “
Finally, however, she got some answers. The doctor told Linda that she was suffering from Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, also known as PAH, a rare adverse effect that affects some people following a fat-freezing procedure. “I was like, ‘What the hell is that?’ And he told me no amount of dieting, and no amount of exercise was ever going to fix it.”
According To Linda, the Company Has Some Questionable Motives
But if this was a rare side affect, it’s possible that Linda just got unlucky. However, the way they treated Linda after suggests that something shady was going on. Linda explained how her doctor contacted the fat-freezing company, and they offered to “make it right.” They told Linda that they would choose a surgeon to liposuction her problem away, totally free of charge.
The night before Linda was due to get liposuction, the company contacted her and explained that they would only cover costs if the model signed a confidentiality agreement. She didn’t agree to their terms but underwent two full-body corrective surgeries as she had planned. Linda was paying for it herself, and following the surgeries, she was told to wear compression clothing and a chin strap for eight weeks otherwise “the PAH may come back.”
Linda has to deal with big bulgy protrusions
Linda explained to People magazine that the surgeries were painful, and gave her no results. “It wasn’t even a little bit better,” she admitted, adding “The bulges are protrusions. And they’re hard. If I walk without a girdle in a dress, I will have chafing to the point of almost bleeding. Because it’s not like soft fat rubbing, it’s like hard fat rubbing.”
On top of that, her famously good posture was negatively affected. Linda found that her arm movement was restricted as she couldn’t “put my arms flat along my side. I don’t think designers are going to want to dress me with that.” She explained that she had been left with rectangular shapes that were “sticking out of my body.”
Linda Feels As Though She Has Totally Lost Her Identity in Recent Years Because She Doesn’t Recognize Herself
Linda admitted that she has stopped looking at her own reflection these days: “I don’t look in the mirror… It doesn’t look like me.” Reflecting on her choice to undergo the 2016 fat-freezing procedure to begin with, she stated, “Why do we feel the need to do these things? I always knew I would age. And I know that there are things a body goes through.”
Linda continued, “But I just didn’t think I would look like this. Sadly, what she sees on the outside has deeply affected what she knows about herself on the inside, too: “I don’t recognize myself physically, but I don’t recognize me as a person any longer either. She is sort of gone.”
The Silver Lining: Linda Hopes Her Story Helps Others Going Through Similar Situations
Despite her complicated relationship with herself, she’s determined to turn her botched procedure into something positive. She told People magazine, “I hope I can shed myself of some of the shame and help other people who are in the same situation as me. That’s my goal.”
Linda settled her lawsuit against the fat-freezing company in July 2022, taking home an undisclosed amount of money. She said at the time, “I look forward to the next chapter of my life with friends and family and am happy to put this matter behind me,” and that she certainly was trying to do. She has more work to do with her own relationship with her body, but regardless, she is resolved on one thing: “I’m not going to hide anymore.”