The fashion icon holds back tears as she recounts her tumultuous relationship with the former model agency boss, who has denied all allegations, in 'The Super Models' streaming now
In the third episode of Apple TV+'s new four-part documentary, The Super Models, Linda Evangelista explains that while her life certainly looked fun and fabulous at the height of her career in the early '90s, her relationship at the time couldn't have been a more polar-opposite experience.
Evangelista married Gérald Marie, the former head of Elite Model Management's Paris office who was once considered to be one of the most powerful men in fashion, in 1987, when she was just 22 years old and he was 37. Their marriage lasted five years over the course of her rise to megastardom, but the model confessed that it was also the most painful time of her life.
"It's easier said than done to leave an abusive relationship. I understand that concept because I lived it," Evangelista, now 58, claims in the documentary. "It wasn't a matter of just saying, 'I want a divorce, see ya.' It doesn't work that way."
She continues, "He knew not to touch my face, not to touch the money maker, ya know? I married him when I was 22 and I got out when I was 27, and he let me out as long as he got everything. But I was safe and I got my freedom."
Marie's lawyer Céline Bekerman tells PEOPLE: "Gérald Marie firmly objects to the defamatory and false allegations made against him. He refuses to participate in this dishonest media controversy."
In 2021, Marie was accused of rape and sexual assault by at least 15 women, including American model Carré Otis and '90s supermodel Karen Mulder. In February 2023, French prosecutors announced they had closed their criminal investigation into the accusations against Marie as they all allegedly took place during the '80s and '90s which exceeds the country's statute of limitations.
"When I found out that he's hurt many, many, many women, he's violated many women...It broke my heart," Evangelista says with tears in her eyes. "I never told my story because I feared...," she trails off before resuming, "Thanks to the power of all these women coming forward — bless them, God bless all of them — it gave me the courage now to speak."
"I would love that justice be served. I would love for assholes like that to think twice and be afraid. And I would love women to know that they're not alone," she concludes.
Marie maintains his innocence, categorically denying the accusations via his lawyer and claiming that he "has never committed the slightest act of violence," and that these women "intend to frame" him "as a scapegoat for a system, for an era, that is now over."
However, several alleged victims have said they will continue to pursue their claims against Marie in civil court and intend to appeal the French criminal prosecutor's decision.
Evangelista prevailed, continuing her meteoric rise in the industry, finding love and taking on her biggest role yet: mom.
Motherhood quickly became the supermodel's top priority.
"Motherhood is my whole life now," she told Harper's Bazaar in 2013. "It's the best. I am so fulfilled."
Earlier this month, Evangelista and Augustin, 16, wore matching suits as they hit the red carpet at second annual Caring for Women Dinner. Augustin's father Pinault and his wife, Salma Hayek Pinault, are co-chairs of the event.
The Super Models four-part documentary series, spotlighting the extraordinary careers of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington, debuts Sept. 20th exclusively on Apple TV+.
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