The Stunningly Awful Love Life Of Christie Brinkley

Christie Brinkley is more than just a model, she is an American beauty icon. A catwalk titan with a girl-next-door vibe, her aesthetic helped make her a sensation from the time she first graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1979. Brinkley wasted no time becoming a roaring success as a model, appearing in countless magazines, fashion campaigns, and signing a contract with CoverGirl cosmetics, leading to an unprecedented 25-year stint with the company.

It seemed she had it all, but her love life tells a different story altogether. It may be easy to imagine that finding love would be easy breezy for a cover girl like Brinkley, but the model's relationship history is wrought with disappointments, devastation, and divorce upon divorce. From her first marriage at age 19 to her more recent failed romances with fellow celebrities, Christie Brinkley has not been exactly lucky when it comes to love.

Married at 19 to Jean-Francois Allaux

Growing up in Los Angeles, Christie Brinkley had big dreams, but none of them included modeling. Brinkley was an aspiring artist, and after high school she moved to Paris to pursue her passion. Not before long, a new passion emerged. As per Dan's Papers, while she was still working as an illustrator, a photographer suggested she give modeling a try. What's more, shortly after she relocated to the City of Lights, she met a French illustrator named Jean-Francois Allaux, who was eight years her senior. The two married in 1973 and continued to work in Paris for a stretch. As she recalled to Dan's Papers, "I did some modeling and some painting. Jean sold drawings to newspapers and magazines."

As Brinkley's modeling career began to pick up steam, she moved back to the U.S. with Allaux by her side. Brinkley soon became one of the industry's most sought-after models, booking job after job. While she and Allaux stayed together for nearly a decade, their love was not built to last. According to the Daily Mail, Brinkley has said she simply married too young. She and Allaux were divorced in 1981. "He's a great guy, but my career took off and it strained the relationship," Brinkley told New York Magazine in a 2008 interview.

A romance with Olivier Chandon de Brailles cut short by tragedy

By the time Christie Brinkley was divorced from Jean-Francois Allaux, she had already appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue three years in a row — a record-breaking feat. Her star had risen considerably, and her social life had expanded as well.

In 1982, Brinkley met Olivier Chandon de Brailles, race car driver and heir to the Möet Chandon champagne fortune, at Studio 54. In March 1983, while test driving a car at a Palm Beach raceway, Chandon de Brailles crashed. According to The New York Times, the car was going 100 mph when it went through a barrier, landing in a canal where Chandon de Brailles drowned.

At the time, Brinkley had already appeared in "National Lampoon's Vacation," and was getting offers for more film roles, but Chandon de Braille's accident sidelined her ambitions for a while. "I remember coming close to 'Splash,' but that was when my boyfriend Olivier was killed in the car accident," she told The New York Post. "And I just had to take a little sabbatical."

It seemed like happily ever after with Billy Joel

Christie Brinkley's most high-profile relationship was with legendary singer songwriter Billy Joel. The two met in 1983 while in St. Barts and initially established a friendship. Brinkley told Howard Stern she didn't even know who Billy Joel was at the time, as she had been living in Paris for four years. And he didn't make a great first impression on her either. "He was burnt, he was red as a lobster, he was shiny, he was in, like, a Hawaiian tourist shirt," she said. The "Piano Man" crooner had been dating model Elle Macpherson but reached out to Brinkley after hearing the news of Olivier Chandon de Brailles' car accident. The two began dating soon after.

The model and the musician tied the knot in 1985, and Brinkley gave birth to the couple's only child, daughter Alexa Ray Joel, that same year. They were by all accounts a happy family and the marriage lasted until 1994. Brinkley told People "[The marriage] pretty much disintegrated the last two years," citing his incessant touring and her desire to move back to the West Coast. But in a 1994 interview with TV Guide (via The Buffalo News), Brinkley hinted at deeper issues within the relationship. "You have to accept a person as he is, with all his faults ... when those faults start to affect your life in what you perceive as a negative way, then you say you can't live with it anymore, so you don't," she said.

Her marriage to Richard Taubman was doomed from the start

Christie Brinkley met real estate developer Richard Taubman while she was still married to, but separated from, Billy Joel. The two became friendly when Brinkley was staying at a guest house on Taubman's Colorado property. They began spending time together, including going on a ski trip with some friends in Telluride, Colorado. The trip turned out to be harrowing; the group's helicopter crashed into a mountain range, leaving everyone on board injured, Taubman nearly fatally so. "We just dropped," Brinkley told People in 1994. "All of a sudden it was like someone cut the cords to the elevator, like the mountain was sucking us in."

The disastrous event ultimately brought Brinkley and Taubman closer together. The crash occurred in April, and by May Taubman had proposed to Brinkley. The two married in December 1994, and Brinkley unveiled a surprise during the wedding: she was pregnant.

But the relationship unraveled just as quickly as it began. A mere seven weeks after the birth of their son, Jack Brinkley Cook, the couple called it. "After much thought and consideration, I have decided to separate from my husband, Ricky Taubman," Brinkley said in a curt statement, per The New York Times. What could have happened to cause such a swift ending to the marriage? According to the Tampa Bay Times, both Brinkley and Taubman were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the crash, which may have been a factor in their split.

Secrets came out about fourth husband Peter Cook

Perhaps Christie Brinkley thought fourth time's a charm when she married architect Peter Cook in 1996. It seemed like a union built on solid ground, and Cook even adopted Brinkley's son, Jack Brinkley Cook. The couple had a child together as well, daughter Sailor Brinkley Cook, in 1998. The marriage lasted a decade but ultimately imploded, ending in one of the nastiest public divorces in recent times.

Many disturbing allegations came to light during the divorce proceedings. Brinkley testified that she learned of Cook's affair with 18-year-old Diana Bianchi when Bianchi's stepfather, a police officer, approached her at a school event. Bianchi, an assistant at Cook's architectural firm, admitted to the affair in an interview with The New York Post. "He first physically made advances at me ... probably around a month after I started working there, " she stated. She admitted that they'd slept together but stated, "We were not out dating [in public]. We didn't do anything like that."

But the affair revelation was just the tip of the iceberg. According to the Daily Mail, Brinkley demanded to look through Cook's computer and what she found was devastating. Not only had he been spending thousands of dollars a month on porn and swingers meet-up sites, he was using their son's name on some of his accounts. Brinkley eventually won custody of the children and ownership of the couple's many properties. In 2022, 60-year-old Cook got engaged to a 20-year-old student, whose age he initially lied about.

Another shot at love with John Mellencamp

Christie Brinkley's divorce from Peter Cook was finalized in 2008, and what followed were more difficult times for the model. She lost both of parents in 2012 within weeks of each other, her mother to a heart attack and her father to Parkinson's disease. But by 2015, Brinkley had spent time healing and was even ready for another try at love.

She met singer songwriter John Mellencamp in 2015 and the differences between them intrigued her. She told People, "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, we're really opposites. He's kind of a throwback from another time, like a silent cowboy,'" she said. "But then we talked and realized that we do have a lot of shared interests." It was also refreshing to Brinkley that the two were around the same age; she was 62 and Mellencamp was 64 at the time. "I know guys that go out with girls that are so, so young," Brinkley said in People. "They'll throw some reference out, and they're like, 'What's that?”'

Alas, the romance was not meant to be. The couple split just one year after dating, citing their respective busy home lives and flourishing careers. A rep told Us Weekly, "They vowed to remain [the] best of friends." However, a story in Page Six claimed there were supposed political and lifestyle differences that drove them apart. This assertion infuriated Brinkley who took to Instagram to set the record straight.

Dating rumors that never materialized

While Christie Brinkley's love life has never been much of a secret, there have been whisperings about dalliances with some very famous men. In 2007, Extra reported that Brinkley had been seen out and about with Paul McCartney in the Hamptons, and both were going through divorces at the time. It seemed like a viable match, but it turned out the two were just friends.

Similarly, in 2016 and 2017 Brinkley was spotted having dinner several times with musician and Yolanda Hadid's ex-husband, David Foster. People reported that the two were seen together at The Polo Bar in NYC and again at Los Angeles eatery Stinking Rose, but a rep for Brinkley insisted the pair were just friends. Foster was linked soon after to his current wife, Katherine McPhee, who is 34 years his junior.

One celeb Brinkley was vocal about never wanting to date was Matt Lauer. When Brinkley and Lauer were both guests on a 2000 episode on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," they chatted about their friendship. However, when asked if Brinkley would ever have gone out with Lauer, she answered simply, "Nah." Knowing what we know now about Lauer's sexual misconduct allegations that got him fired from "The Today Show," it seems for once Brinkley dodged a bullet.

She does not want to get married again

In 2022, 68-year-old Christie Brinkley is still hard at work and still looks amazing. While the model was set to appear on "Dancing with the Stars" in 2019 before an injury caused her to drop out, she bounced back and appeared on "The Masked Singer" in 2020. Brinkley is a brand ambassador for beauty company SBLA, and she even has her own line of Prosecco and sparkling wine called Bellissima. She spends time with her three grown children and lends her time and voice to many charitable causes. One thing Brinkley is not looking for right now? Another husband.

In 2019 Brinkley told Us Weekly that she's probably taken her last trip down the aisle. "I don't really see a reason for marriage," she said. "Maybe there's tax advantages or inheritance advantages or hospital advantages. But I always thought of doing it to have kids. And since I'm not having any more kids, why complicate things?" Brinkley has certainly dealt with more than her fair share of complications when it comes to love, so who could blame her?

Despite all that Brinkley has gone through, she maintains a positive outlook. "When you find something to be grateful about in whatever situation you're in, and wherever you may find yourself, that translates to happiness, and happiness and good energy that you can share with other people," she told People in 2022. Having experienced such a tumultuous love life, Brinkley surely deserves that happiness.