Christie Brinkley Biography

Model, Activist, Children's Activist(1954–)
Model Christie Brinkley embodies the all-American look that dominated the fashion industry in the 1980s, during which she appeared on over 200 magazine covers.

Synopsis

Christie Brinkley was born on February 2, 1954, in Monroe, Michigan. In the 1980s Brinkley was featured on over 200 magazine covers. She adorned three consecutive Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition covers and endorsed a number of products including Cover Girl cosmetics. Her major projects in the 1990s included a short-lived talk show on CNN. Brinkley continues to model and in 2017 appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue at the age of 63, alongside her two daughters.

Early Life

Christie Brinkley was born on February 2, 1954, in Monroe, Michigan. Blonde, blue-eyed and athletic, Brinkley embodies the all-American look that dominated the fashion industry in the 1980s.

Although Brinkley was born into the glitz and glamour of the West Coast media scene—her father is television producer and writer Don Brinkley—she harbored artistic ambitions from an early age. In 1972, at the age of 18, Brinkley moved to Paris to enroll in art school. She then worked as an illustrator for three years before she caught the attention of an American photographer on the street. Despite some initial hesitancy to abandon her creative work for the high-pressure world of modeling, Brinkley soon became one of the most sought after faces in the business.

Model and Actress

In the 1980s, Brinkley was featured on more than 200 magazine covers. She adorned three consecutive Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition covers (1979-1981). She endorsed a number of commercial products including Cover Girl cosmetics, Prell shampoo, and Chanel perfume.

Her attempts to branch out into film and television included a brief appearance as Chevy Chase's dream girl in National Lampoon's Vacation (1983). She also appeared in a video for then-husband Billy Joel's pop hit "Uptown Girl."

After the birth of her first daughter, Alexa Ray, in 1985, Brinkley became a poster girl for the workingwoman image, retaining her sex appeal while simultaneously juggling career and family goals. But with the 1980s on the wane and ethnic diversity the latest rage in the fashion world, the demand for Brinkley's all-American charm faded.

Her major projects in the 1990s included a short-lived talk show on CNN called Living in the 90s. She is currently a spokesperson for the Total Gym line of fitness products.

Now in her 50s, Brinkley continues to model, serving as a representative for the Cover Girl cosmetics line. She is also active in many charities, including the Susan G. Komen Foundation and UNICEF.

Brinkley's first marriage to Jean-Francois Allaux ended in divorce in 1981 and yielded no children. Her much-publicized marriage to pop superstar Billy Joel assured Brinkley continual public scrutiny. The two married in 1985 and had a daughter, Alexa Ray, that same year. The marriage lasted nine years.

A brief marriage to real estate developer Richard Taubman yielded a son, Jack Paris, in 1995.

Brinkley wed architect Peter Cook in 1996 and in 1998 gave birth to a second daughter, Sailor Lee. The couple filed for divorce in 2006 after Cook reportedly had an affair. After a lengthy—and rather nasty—divorce trial, they settled out of court in July 2008.

Unfortunately, the former couple has continued to make news since their divorce. Brinkley talked about her ex in a 2012 television interview, saying that he had been bothering her. Cook has disputed her remarks. The two have also been engaged in a legal battle over child support.

While struggling with these personal challenges, Brinkley made a return to Broadway. She reprised her role of Roxie Hart in the hit musical Chicago for several weeks in April 2012. In addition to Broadway, Brinkley performed in a national tour of Chicago.

In 2017, Brinkley received praised and created positive buzz on social media for appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue at the age of 63, alongside her two daughters. In a post on Instagram, Brinkley said: "Thank you Sports Illustrated for sending the powerful message that good things come in packages of every size and we do not come with an expiration date!"

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