Christie Brinkley is a model that rose to prominence in the 1970s. And has seen a staggering amount of success in the industry since. Christie continues to work to this day, and her career has survived through a couple of tumultuous public divorces. At age 67, Christie still looks nearly as good as ever and loves posting bikini pictures on Instagram. In addition to continuing her own modeling career, she is also currently helping her daughter, 23-year old Sailor Lee Brinkley-Cook, find her own footing in the industry. All of this after surviving a helicopter crash and postponing back surgery for more than two decades! Join Facts Verse as we explore what happened to Christie Brinkley, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model.
Christie Brinkley was born on February 2, 1954, in Monroe, Michigan. When she was still young, her mother separated from her father and the two moved out to California. They found a home in Los Angeles. And Christie’s mother soon become married to a television writer by the name of Donald Brinkley. After marrying her mother, Donald went through the process of officially adopting Christie, as well as her brother. It was at this point that she officially became Christie Brinkley, having been born Christie Hudson.
Young Christie Brinkley fit right in around the beaches of Los Angeles thanks to her natural good looks and charm. She also dedicated herself to her studies, becoming proficient enough in French that she was able to move to Paris after graduating from high school. Christie moved to the French city in 1972, where it was her dream to become a famous painter. Although Christie would end up achieving this dream, in a fashion, decades later, another career was calling for her first. Only a year after arriving in Paris, a photographer by the name of Errol Sawyer spotted Christie while walking down the street and he demanded that she be his model. Christie relented, and the photos ended up shared with numerous people in the industry. Almost overnight, Christie found herself a sought-after model!
Christie had never intended to be a model, having instead wanted to live the quiet life of an artist. However, she ended up won over by the good life. Over the course of the 1970s, Christie rose in prominence until she was on pretty much every magazine cover gracing the newsstands. She could seen plastered on such magazines as Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan, and Vogue. Though her most iconic magazine appearances wouldn’t begin until she donned her first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover in 1979.
After Christie’s appearance on the cover of the 1979 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, she continued to appear on the cover of the annual publication for the next two years. Christie’s appearances on these Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covers have gone down in history as the model’s most iconic work. Though they stand as only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her immense career both before and since. Following her third appearance on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1981. Christie maintained the status of a household name over the ensuing decade.
Besides Christie Brinkley’s numerous appearances doing photo shoots for magazines, she also had numerous advertising contracts with various brands. Throughout the 1980s, Christie could seen trying to sell such varied products as diet soda, credit cards, and cars. She also began to venture into acting during the decade. And with one of her most notable roles being in the classic 1983 comedy film National Lampoon’s Vacation.
It was during the filming of National Lampoon’s Vacation that Christie Brinkley introduced to Billy Joel. Christie had already married once, to a man by the name of Jean-François Allaux. The two had married in 1973 and divorced in 1981. Christie was single when she met Billy Joel, and the two quickly hit it off. Two years after their initial meeting, Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel married. During the period of time that Christie married to Billy Joel, she took a bit of a break from modeling in order to focus once again on her painting. Her modeling success allowed her to support herself while following her passion. And she even painted one of her new husband’s album covers!
Christie painted the cover of Billy Joel’s 1993 album River of Dreams, which is the last album of popular music that the musician has recorded up until this point, and likely ever will. Sadly, the two divorced only a year later, in August of 1994. During their marriage, Christie and Billy had one child together. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
The same year that Christie Brinkley divorced from second husband Billy Joel. She got into a terrifying helicopter crash while going on a ski trip in the state of Colorado. While flying over the popular ski location of Telluride, the helicopter that Christie was in lost control and crashed. There five other survivors, and Christie left with hip pain that tormented her for several decades afterwards.
According to Christie, she knew the pain in her hip was going to necessitate surgery sometime down the line. However, she wanted to put the surgery off for as long as she could. She found the surgery more intimidating than she found the pain. But the pain eventually became too much for her to deal with. It wasn’t until just recently that Christie Brinkley finally decided to get the surgery to fix this hip pain. She received a full hip replacement in 2020, and has felt much better in the time since! According to her, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that made her feel the need to get the surgery. And as her boredom made it so she couldn’t ignore the pain.
Christie has continued working well into the new millennium, with much of her work being on television. Though the beloved model hasn’t appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue recently. She has made guest appearances on such notable television programs as Parks and Recreation and The Goldbergs. Christie also performed in a stage version of the musical Chicago. And even performed for a time as a cohost of Anderson Cooper Live.
Christie Brinkley’s time as a cohost of Anderson Cooper Live showcases a different side of the model than is normally seen in her photo shoots. In addition to being a timeless beauty, Christie is also a humanitarian. She has won awards for her work with organizations such as the American Heart Association and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
When Christie Brinkley isn’t furthering her humanitarian efforts, she’s helping her daughter, 23-year old Sailor Lee Brinkley-Cook, navigate a newfound modeling career of her own. In addition to having an active social media just like her mother, Sailor is also signed to her mother’s same agency! Sailor was born from Christie’s marriage to Peter Cook, which ended disastrously in 2008. The two married in 1996, only two years after Christie had separated from Billy Joel. Sailor is the only child the couple had during their marriage. Although Christie and Peter’s marriage didn’t end well, Sailor still has a positive relationship with both of her parents! However, it’s her mother that she looks to for guidance when trying to make sense of the modeling industry.
Sailor was given her first modeling contract at the age of just 15, when she was signed to IMG Models in 2013. She signed with the agency at the same time as her mother, who was switching agencies after having worked with rival company Elite Model Management for many years. In the time since being signed to IMG Models, Sailor has become a force to be reckoned with in the modeling industry. The young woman looks much like her mother did at the peak of her success. And she has similarly found success by appearing in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Other magazines that Sailor has been seen in since starting her career as a model include Marie Claire and Vogue. Her and her mother also did a photo shoot for the magazine Bella.
In 2019, Christie Brinkley was set to perform on the 28th season of Dancing with the Stars when she broke her arm during the show’s rehearsals. Because of this, Sailor ended up stepping in to take her mother’s place! Although Sailor was the third to be eliminated, she still made her mother proud. Though Sailor didn’t have much interest in performing on the series, she did it just to do right by her mom.
While Christie Brinkley isn’t revealing herself in magazines quite as much anymore. You can still catch glimpses of her in bikinis on her social media! The 67-year-old model loves posting bikini pictures on her Instagram, which is a habit that she says she isn’t going to be giving up anytime soon. She looks incredible for her age, so we can’t say that we blame her. According to Christie, she feels it’s her responsibility to showcase her legs to the world, so long as they’re still looking good. Although she might no longer have what it takes to make it onto the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She’s still doing her thing one way or another. After nearly five decades in the industry, it seems like Christie Brinkley isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Christie Brinkley is still a famous model at the age of 67, making her one of the most respected models since the inception of the industry! Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Christie Brinkley is still working today at the age of 67, or did you think that she had retired? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!