Gisele and Bridget Moynahan battle over Tom Brady's son. Here's the story of two pretty women and one ugly feud

By Michelle Tan
April 20, 2009 12:00 PM

As the sun set on April 4 before a picturesque peak along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, it was hard to tell what was more breathtaking: the view—or the newlyweds. With the sky changing colors behind them, supermodel Gisele Bündchen—wearing a bias-cut John Galliano silk gown with a sweeping 6-ft. veil of silk tulle and hand-sewn lace—exchanged vows with NFL quarterback Tom Brady in front of about 25 friends and family at her home in the seaside village of Santa Teresa. “Gisele looked beautiful all dressed up,” says one onlooker. “She couldn’t stop smiling. She seemed happy and excited.”

But the wedding day wasn’t all about the bride. As Bündchen, 28, and Brady, 31, celebrated Round 2 of their nuptials just five weeks after their first surprise ceremony in Santa Monica, all eyes were on the littlest wedding guest: 19-month-old John Edward—Brady’s son with his ex, actress Bridget Moynahan. Just days before John Edward joined his dad and new stepmom in Costa Rica, the tot’s name was splashed across headlines thanks to the candid and controversial comments Bündchen made to Vanity Fair about her bond with her new stepson. “I understand that he has a mom, and I respect that, but to me it’s not like because somebody else delivered him, that’s not my child,” Bündchen told the magazine. “I feel like it is, 100 percent.”

The article left Moynahan in disbelief. The actress, who turns 38 on April 28, has gone to great lengths to keep her son out of the spotlight and was stunned that Bündchen chose to speak so publicly about John Edward, whose nickname is Jack. “Bridget isn’t angry about Gisele’s quotes. She’s hurt,” says a Moynahan source. “For Jack’s sake, she wanted him to be comfortable with Gisele. Bridget tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. But that goodwill has taken a hit. She’s like, ‘Did she really say that?'”

Those close to Moynahan are lashing out at the world’s richest supermodel for poor judgment. “The way Gisele is going around as a stepmother, claiming how much she loves him and using him as a platform for her own celebrity? It’s disgusting,” says another Moynahan source. “I’m sure Bridget is happy that someone cares about her son. But the way it’s coming off is not genuine.”

Friends say Bündchen’s devotion to Jack is beyond question. “What’s she going to do, treat the kid like kryptonite because it’s his kid with Bridget?” says a pal. “She is an affectionate, nice person. She is not cold…. She is not catty.”

Still, it’s easy to see why the complicated lives of three impossibly good-looking people have been compared to a soap opera. In late 2006 Moynahan and Brady ended their three-year relationship “amicably,” a rep for the actress said at the time. By the end of the year, the quarterback was dating Bündchen. But just a few months into their relationship, the pair was put to the test: Moynahan announced that she was more than three months pregnant with Brady’s baby. “It was definitely a surprise for both of us,” Bündchen told Vanity Fair. “I think it was a blessing because otherwise I don’t think I would have known what he was made of, and he wouldn’t have known what I was made of.”

The situation proved equally as defining for Moynahan. “Going through that traumatic time of being heartbroken and then being pregnant turned my whole life upside down and inside out,” the actress told Harper’s Bazaar last July. “But now I have a child, and it’s the best thing in the world.”

Today Moynahan is raising Jack in her Pacific Palisades, Calif., home, and a nanny shuttles the baby between her house and Brady’s mansion not far away in L.A.’s Brentwood neighborhood, where the footballer moved so he could be closer to his son. When he and Bündchen are on the West Coast, “we have Johnny 50 percent of the time,” Bündchen—who also shares homes in Boston and New York with Brady—told Vanity Fair. But even that comment raises the eyebrows of Moynahan partisans. “No one calls [the baby] Johnny. It’s Jack,” says one.

Despite the criticism, Bündchen seems determined to be a good stepmom. Along with attending one of the baby’s music classes, Bündchen was spotted giving the tot a snack at L.A.’s Beverly Glen Park after an early morning playdate last month. “Gisele kept playing peekaboo games with him, and he would laugh hysterically,” says a witness. “He’s a little angel—the sweetest, most cuddly, loving baby,” Bündchen told Vanity Fair. “I want him to have a great relationship with his mom because that’s important, but I love him the same way as if he were mine. I already feel like he’s my son from the first day.”

For his part, Brady has kept mum about life with Bündchen and the baby. “It doesn’t affect anybody but me anyway, so why is it a big deal?” he told Details in 2007. But while he calls Jack “truly a joy,” the quarterback’s silence in the wake of Bündchen’s comments to Vanity Fair also angers some of his ex’s friends. “If Tom was a good father, he wouldn’t let Gisele parade his son around in the public eye,” says a Moynahan pal.

And Moynahan? Friends say she’s trying to stay above the fray by focusing on the main man in her life: Jack. “Bridget is a mom first and foremost. She doesn’t have any interest in engaging in name-calling or fighting,” says a friend of the actress’s, who plans on taking Jack to the Vancouver set of her new movie this month. “Her single purpose is for Jack to be healthy, happy and safe.” Now that’s something all three adults in Jack’s life can agree on.