Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen seem to have the perfect life. But recent reports have surfaced that the New England Patriots quarterback’s alleged role in the football-tampering scandal Deflategate has brought tension to his marriage with the world’s highest paid supermodel.
“There have been a lot of stresses in their marriage in the last year, especially during football season,” says a source close to Brady, adding that he can be “nasty and cold” when engrossed in his own problems. “Tom is singularly focused on his career and sometimes Gisele feels left out. There have been arguments.”
Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that the couple also spend time apart: They didn’t celebrate their summer birthdays together like they usually do, and Bündchen, 35, was absent at Brady’s court hearing and the Patriots’ Aug. 14 preseason game against the Green Bay Packers – and she is usually a fixture at the stadium.
Brady, who one source describes as “moody,” also raised a few eyebrows last month when a photo surfaced showing Christine Ouzounian – Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner‘s former nanny – posing with his four Super Bowl rings. The shot was supposedly taken in June on a trip to Las Vegas, where Affleck and Brady played in a charity poker tournament. (The guys have been friends for years.)
Still, say sources, there’s no reason to assume trouble is brewing. “This summer was just a bit different,” explains a source close to the model. “Gisele had a lot going on, so they weren’t always in the same place at the same time.”
One instance in particular included Bündchen’s trip to Paris, where she was allegedly spotted entering a high-end plastic surgery clinic dressed in a burqa – the concealing garment worn by some Muslim women – during the holy month of Ramadan.
On social media, certainly, all seems well. For Brady’s 38th birthday on Aug. 3, Bündchen posted an Instagram photo of them kissing in the ocean, with kids Benjamin, 5 and Vivian, 2 on their shoulders. (Brady also shares a son, John, 8 with ex-girlfriend Bridget Moynahan). “Happy birthday my love!” wrote Bündchen. “We’re so blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you for always giving us so much love. We love you!”
And sources say that kind of sentiment is not just for show and deny any reports of strife. “They’re living their life, and they’re doing great,” says a source close to Bündchen. “They didn’t spend his birthday together because he was in training camp.” As for the Super Bowl rings pic? “That was utterly random. It was just a weird place, weird time situation.”
Back in Boston, Brady and Bündchen still seem to be enjoying each other’s company. The couple was spotted on at least two dates in the last few weeks, including an intimate dinner at Del Frisco s Grille in Chestnut Hill. “It was just them, no kids,” says an onlooker. “They wanted to be tucked away in the back booth. They definitely seemed happy.” A few days later they were also seen leaving a movie theater holding hands.
Maybe one-on-one time is just the antidote they need to deal with all of the recent craziness. “The biggest challenge they’ve been facing is dealing with the stress of the Deflategate situation,” says a source close to the model.
“She’s being a supportive wife, just like anybody whose husband would be going through something like this, says a source close to Bündchen. “They’re surprisingly pretty simple people and very down to earth. Family is first on all fronts.”
For more on Tom and Gisele, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday