The Stunning Transformation Of Yolanda Hadid

It's hard to believe that multi-millionaire "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" alumni Yolanda Hadid was once a small-town farm girl in Holland. Many fans know her as the luxurious former model who graced our television screens for years, but Hadid's story is far more complex. The Dutch native's journey to fame and fortune involved a lot of grit and backbone, and not just the kind it takes to survive the Bravo circus (though she arguably did that with ease).

Unlike many of the women in the "Housewives" franchise, Hadid didn't come from a rich family. She fought tooth and nail to earn a living in the modeling world, taking the lessons she learned and eventually instilling them in her famous daughters, Gigi and Bella. Her larger-than-life lifestyle eventually caught the eye of the Bravo universe, and she joined the cast of the "RHOBH" around the same time she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, a condition she has continued to struggle with for over a decade.

You may think the cameras captured much of the ins and outs of Hadid's grandeur life, but there's a lot to unpack when it comes to the mother of three. Nowadays, Hadid is enjoying a much slower-paced lifestyle on her giant Pennsylvania farm, where riding horses and enjoying her cowboy beau make up her day-to-day. From cover girl to cowgirl, she has worn quite a few hats. Here's a look at the stunning transformation of Yolanda Hadid. 

Yolanda Hadid grew up in a small town in Holland

Yolanda Hadid grew up far differently than her "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" persona. The former model was raised in a small town called Papendrecht in South Holland, alongside her older brother, Leo van den Herik. Hadid embraced the simpler things in life during that time, like learning to ride horses and complete tasks around the farm. As for what viewers may not realize about her, she told Larry King, "I think that they think I'm much more fancy than I really [am]. Deep in my heart, I'm just a farm girl from Holland and that's where I feel happiest."

Hadid didn't need much to make her happy during her childhood either, as she wasn't raised by wealthy parents. But growing up in a humble household inspired her to become financially independent, a move that would eventually take her far beyond the Netherlands. "I come from a very poor family and my dad died when I was 7," she told Money. "I took on this huge responsibility that I was going to provide for my mother and my brother."

Hadid lost her father in a tragic accident

Yolanda Hadid is no stranger to tragedy, as she endured an unexpected loss when she was just 7 years old. The reality star lost her dad in a tragic car accident, leaving her mother a widow at just 30 years old and Hadid and her brother without a father figure. "Strangely, [my mother] never mentioned my dad, so I cried myself to sleep at night and learned to deal with the loss of the most important person in my young life, my daddy," she wrote on her website.

The tragedy had Hadid leaning more and more on horses as a way to cope, which quickly became one of her greatest passions in life. After attending a pony camp the summer after her father's death, Hadid fell in love with one particular horse from Russia that caught her eye. Her mother ultimately purchased the pony, and horse riding transformed into Hadid's full-time hobby. "All of my love and pain, I shared with this animal," she wrote. "I still remember the day she brought him home — one of the best days of my life — and for sure, the best therapy she could have ever provided for me."

She spent all her available hours dedicated to riding and caring for horses, taking on part-time restaurant jobs to help pay her equestrian bills. She juggled it all, including her school work, to pursue the sport. "I was so motivated. Nothing was ever too much. My energy was endless," she shared.

Her modeling career took her around the world

Losing her father at a young age was a pivotal moment for Yolanda Hadid, leading her to a career in the modeling industry. "I truly believe that at that particular moment, an unexplainable power came over me as I consciously decided that I was going to be the provider for our family," she wrote on her website.

After several jobs in the restaurant industry, Hadid was presented with a chance opportunity to fill in as a runway model. When she was a teenager, she was helping her friend with her fashion show and was asked by a Dutch designer to replace one of his runway models on the catwalk. "So there I was, straight from barn onto the catwalk," she recalled. "I had never even worn makeup or high-heels or done anything so feminine or seen anything so fancy, but I guess I was a natural or maybe just a convincing copycat because I can remember looking at the other girls, copying them, and walking the walk."

Her powerful presence caught the attention of modeling scouts, and she was eventually signed to Ford Models. "Then I am flying to Milan, Hamburg, and all kinds of exotic places on modeling jobs, making more money than I could have ever dreamed of," Hadid said. She welcomed her newfound career, but it also meant saying goodbye to her wholesome roots. "I never returned to live in Holland and, in a flash, my adult life had begun," she remembered.

Hadid's first marriage was to a wealthy real estate mogul

How Yolanda Hadid managed to amass a multi-million dollar fortune has often been speculated, with many pointing to her first marriage as the answer. In 1994, the reality star married her first husband, Mohamed Hadid, who was incredibly successful through his real estate deals. He's known for his luxury ventures, with his company constructing the world's largest block of rentals in Cairo, Egypt, along with mansions throughout Bel Air and Beverly Hills.

Yolanda and Mohamed eventually went their separate ways and divorced in 2000. The former Housewife claimed infidelity led to the split, but didn't specify the circumstances. Despite castmate Brandi Glanville claiming on a 2013 episode of "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" that Mohamed previously had an affair Joanna Krupa, Yolanda debunked that accusation. In a 2013 Bravo blog post, the mother of three wrote: "Joanna Krupa did not cause Mohamed and I's divorce. Unfortunately, infidelity did, but at this point, 12 years later, we have left that negative chapter behind and have moved on to be friends and are united parents to our children."

Yolanda has remained quiet as to who was unfaithful in her marriage, but Glanville alleged that the real estate mogul stepped out on his former wife several times. "Joanna had sex with Mohamed [while he was still married to Yolanda]," Glanville told Andy Cohen (via Us Weekly). "It was one of many affairs. It's not the exact situation. But Mohamed and Yolanda are great now."

She welcomed three children with Mohamed Hadid

Yolanda Hadid welcomed three children during her marriage to Mohamed Hadid. Their first child, a daughter named Gigi, was born in 1995, followed by Bella in 1996, and their son Anwar in 1999. All three of the television personality's children have followed her path in the industry, with Gigi and Bella working as high fashion models and Anwar working as both a model and a film producer. "Being a mother feels like the greatest accomplishment in my life," Yolanda told Fashion Week Daily

As for her parenting style, she has leaned on her upbringing in Holland when raising her kids. "I am a protective Dutch momma bear and the anchor that keeps our family together," she admitted. "I have always strived to be the best that I can be and lead by example. My relationship with my children is based on consistency, trust, and loyalty."

Yolanda was also inspired by her own mother's rules, which forced her to wait to pursue a modeling career full-time until her 18th birthday. Yolanda instilled those same requirements when raising Gigi, Bella, and Anwar, something her children have grown to be grateful for. "I remember Gigi being 16 and saying, 'This is not fair!'" Yolanda explained to People. "But now she hugs me and says, 'Thank you for giving me those two extra years to grow up, be in my flip flops and play basketball.'"

Hadid married her second husband David Foster

In a funny turn of events, Yolanda Hadid met her second husband through her first. Mohamed Hadid introduced Yolanda to David Foster a few years after their divorce, at the renowned musician's request. "I was walking around his house, and I saw all these photographs of him and her and their children," Foster recounted to Haute Living. "I said, 'That's your ex-wife, and I'd like to meet her.' So he introduced us."

Yolanda wasn't the only one in the spotlight in their relationship, as Foster has had a successful career in show business, earning 16 Grammy Awards for his work as a music producer. Eventually, thanks to Mohamed playing cupid, the pair wed in 2011. It wasn't Foster's first time around the marriage block, either, as the Canadian had walked down the aisle three times before he met Yolanda. He also shares five daughters from his three previous wives, who were all present at his and Yolanda's nuptials to help escort their father down the aisle.

After tying the knot, the couple bought a six-bedroom Malibu mansion together, which was often their backdrop on the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." She opened up about their home life to Hello! in 2014, saying, "I love it when my husband says, 'I'm proud this is my home and my woman,'" adding, "Some people might say I'm submissive or weak but, no, it's my strength. David's out all day, working hard; I love for him to come home and have a homemade dinner."

She was diagnosed with Lyme disease

Yolanda Hadid received some devastating news in 2012 when she was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. The mother of three got the news from a Belgian doctor that year after symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, and muscle weakness had her feeling beside herself. According to the CDC, Lyme disease is "an illness caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and spread by blacklegged ticks." In 5% to 10% of patients, the disease can be chronic, characterized by prolonged symptoms, such as exhaustion, muscle weakness, and difficulty thinking.

Hadid's battle with chronic Lyme disease severely altered her life, leading her to contemplate suicide over the intense agony. "I can't begin to describe the darkness, the pain, and the hell I lived through every day," she admitted to Vogue. "For some time, it didn't even feel like living at all. This disease brought me to my knees."

Hadid doesn't know how she contracted the virus, but she chalked it up to the time she spent on a farm amongst horses while raising her kids in Santa Barbara, California. Unfortunately, her kids, Bella and Anwar, were also diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease around the same time as her. Fortunately for Bella, she shares her mother's love of horses, which has helped her keep her mind off the side effects of her condition. "I feel better when I'm riding," Bella wrote on a TikTok video after dealing with a Lyme flare-up. "I think my horses just really take my mind off the pain."

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Hadid joined the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

For some women, joining the Housewives franchise is a golden ticket. For others, like Yolanda Hadid, it was a daily struggle. The mother of three joined the ladies of the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" in its third season (which aired in 2012), but was dealing with several health problems that made filming a tumultuous ride. "The first season I went on, I was diagnosed with neurological Lyme disease, and I struggled every day of the season," she revealed in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. "I kind of stayed on because I thought, 'Okay, I'll be better next season.'"

Hadid didn't get better, however, and instead, her health continued to deteriorate, making it that much harder to keep up the gig. It didn't help that she didn't always get along with some of her cast mates, with her famous feud with Lisa Rinna going down in Housewives history. For those less-versed in "RHOBH" trivia, the latter alleged that Hadid might have had Munchausen syndrome, a condition referring to a person who pretends to be ill to get attention. While Rinna later apologized for her role in the rumor, the damage was still done, and Hadid had a hard time recovering from the accusation.

Eventually, after three seasons, Hadid left the Housewives for good. "I'm too sensitive," she told Entertainment Tonight in 2022. "I couldn't deal with that back-and-forth between women. It's not my communication style or something that's good for my life."

RHOBH may have led to her and Foster's divorce

There are dozens of marriages that have churned through the Housewives franchise and ended in divorce. Sadly, Yolanda Hadid and David Foster are one on that long list of pairings that didn't survive reality television. While they may have seemed like a happy couple when they debuted in Season 3, by the end of Season 6, the two had announced their decision to divorce after four years of marriage in December 2015.

While fans speculated that Hadid's Lyme disease took a serious toll on their time together, Foster has claimed their divorce had little to do with her health problems. "How can I leave a sick woman?" Foster shared in the Netflix documentary, "David Foster: Off the Record" (via People). "The fact of the matter is that was not the reason I left. It was for a different reason — which I will never disclose — that had nothing to do with her being sick."

Foster has been vocal about his disdain of the Bravo franchise, however, which many point to as the straw that may have broken the camel's back. "The Beverly Hills 'Housewives' was just kind of a nightmare for me and something that I really wish I hadn't been part of," he told the Los Angeles Times, referencing a time when a reporter asked him about Lisa Vanderpump instead of his music accolades. "It was all about the 'Housewives.' I wanted to say, 'I've got 16 Grammys, b***h!'"

Hadid is living her best cowgirl life in Pennsylvania

Yolanda Hadid has gone back to her farm girl roots. After selling the Malibu mansion she shared with David Foster, she bought a huge farm in Pennsylvania in 2017. The former model seems happier than ever, riding several different horses, milking cows, and enjoying cuddles with goats and ponies.

After a hectic few years filming "Real Housewives" and a tumultuous divorce, the change in pace seems to be suiting Hadid just fine. "I've gone through the seasons with the trees and saw the blossoms coming and going," she told Bravo in 2020. "For that, it's been incredible." It has also a plus that she met her current boyfriend, Joseph Jingoli, while on her farm in 2018, and the two began dating shortly after. "I made a love spiral and wrote down exactly everything that was important to me in a man and he magically just rang the doorbell at the farm," she gushed to People.

Jingoli runs a fifth-generation family development and construction business and lives just 10 miles away from Hadid. "What has connected us is probably horses and the farm life," the mother of three shared with Bravo. While she didn't specify, Hadid revealed that Jingoli also had a near-fatal health scare, something that the two of them have bonded over. "When you meet somebody that thought he was going to die like I felt I was going to die, you have a whole new appreciation for life, and you kind of share that," she opened up to People.