The Transformation Of Chrissy Teigen From Childhood To 35

Chrissy Teigen’s shade game is strong. If you haven’t been following her on social media, you sadly don’t know what snark is — and it’s honestly as good as her coconut and chocolate chunk-infused banana Bundt bread. Truly, Teigen could well be the Queen of the Twitterverse, but don’t try to peg her into any particular hole. The former Sports Illustrated model has established herself as a cookbook author and has sparred with the likes of Donald Trump, but she really rose to fame as John Legend’s girlfriend — even though she was already a celebrated model before meeting him. Gigs on various television programs, such as “Lip Sync Battle,” “Bring the Funny,” “Snack Off,” and “Chrissy’s Court” followed, cementing her as a celebrity in her own right. 

But how did Teigen evolve into one of the most relatable celebs on the planet? Born to an American-Norwegian father and a Thai mother, she was blessed with a bevy of good genes (thank you, mom and dad). According to Vanity Fair, Vilailuck “Pepper Thai” and Ron Teigen’s love story began in Korat, Thailand. The smitten electrician brought home his Asian bride — and her daughter, Tina — to the United States. Later on, Chrissy was born in Delta, Utah, per Us Weekly, and her parents later managed a tavern in Snohomish, Washington.

But let’s have a moment just for Chrissy Teigen, and take a look at her transformation from childhood to bona fide, multi-talented star.

The Teigen family moved around a lot

The Teigen clan didn’t live in one place for very long. According to Us Weekly, while future star Chrissy Teigen was born in the tiny town of Delta, Utah, her parents would soon go traipsing through several states. The Teigen family lived in Hawaii, Idaho, and Washington, before finally putting down roots in Huntington Beach, California.

In the midst of all this traveling, mom Vilailuck “Pepper Thai” Teigen tried to cling to her cultural heritage — unfortunately, much to the chagrin of her all-American daughter. Chrissy even dished to Insider that she was “a little embarrassed” by the food her mother cooked and ate, with Pepper Thai noting that, in typical teen fashion, her daughter, “like most kids,” instead craved things like pizza or grilled cheese. The Teigen matriarch also shared an anecdote in “The Pepper Thai Cookbook,” in which she added “herbs in one of [her] Thai salads” (via Insider), leading her now famous daughter to yell, “‘MOM! Why are you eating weeds?'” 

Thankfully, Chrissy has put on her big girl pants since then and has even developed her own foodie palate. Pepper Thai told Insider, “I see she feels guilty that she was embarrassed growing up.” These days? Chrissy thinks her mom’s cooking slaps.

Chrissy Teigen dealt with anxiety as a kid

Just because Chrissy Teigen’s a boss entertainer now, doesn’t mean she’s always been the life of the party. In 2015, when she posted a throwback photo of herself as an eight-year-old sitting with some friends on Instagram, the star captioned the image with, “Hating parties since ’93” — indicating that she wasn’t always comfortable in social settings. In the snap, Teigen leans forward and has a quizzical expression on her face while her pals are all grinning broadly.

In later years, Teigen confessed to Glamour, “I was an anxious, nervous kid. That transferred into being anxious in high school and then right after, when I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.” Things weren’t easy for the future model as she trudged her way through childhood and early adulthood, adding, “I started seeing therapists, but I stopped because I thought it was ‘normal twentysomething anxiety.'”

Teigen would eventually seek help much later in life — but more on that journey below. In the meantime, she picked up a wicked sense of humor and learned to make people laugh by keeping it 100.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Inside Chrissy Teigen's mom's return to Thailand

Even though Chrissy Teigen and her mother are close now, things weren’t always this way. Sadly, there was a period of estrangement between Vilailuck Teigen and her daughter during her crucial teen years. As noted by Vanity Fair, the pain ran deep as an emotional Pepper Thai related the story while Chrissy was simply “lying on her back and staring at the ceiling.” 

Pepper Thai’s dad was diagnosed with lung cancer when Chrissy was just 15 years old, leading her mother to regularly visit her home country of Thailand to take care of him. Pepper Thai was understandably left devastated when he “choked to death in front of her,” followed by her mom’s death in a “freak accident” on a train just a few months afterward. Pepper Thai would then isolate herself in Thailand. Chrissy and her sister, Tina, were upset and refused to talk to their mother on the phone. Their mom confessed, “I never knew what depression is. Sometimes I thought about killing myself because I know that my girls are mad at me.” 

When Chrissy was 17, dad Ron Teigen moved his daughters to Huntington Beach, California — but nobody talked about why he took so long to bring Pepper Thai back home. “I think I’m such an open person now,” Chrissy told Vanity Fair, “because everyone in my family has always been so hush-hush.”

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

The future model was discovered at age 17

When her family moved from Washington to California in her late teens, Chrissy Teigen was admittedly not happy. During a 2013 episode of “When I was 17” (via MTV News), she explained that the change of scenery was particularly difficult because, “I hate water.” Nevertheless, she took the plunge and worked a gig as a surf shop salesgirl. 

According to Vanity Fair, a rebellious Teigen had “shaved her eyebrows” and “dyed her hair jet black.” A cameraman discovered her on the job and wanted to take some bikini shots of her, convinced that she could make it as a model. The rest would have been history — but Ron Teigen had to make sure that this was legit. 

“My dad was on that first photoshoot with me,” Chrissy said with a laugh on “When I Was 17.” She added, “He made sure it was A-OK.” It seems as if Ron was understandably protective of his baby girl and supervised the beach shoot, even holding the light reflectors. Thankfully, Chrissy (a.k.a. #DaddysGirl) was safe, and she was thrust into the modeling world: A little networking with the clients of the surf shop and Chrissy scored her first Billabong campaign. “If that didn’t happen,” Chrissy reminisced, “I would have nothing that has happened to me today.”

Chrissy Teigen was told she was 'too fat'

Chrissy Teigen’s modeling career took off shortly after being discovered, and she spent six months at a time in Miami, according to Vanity Fair. Unfortunately, the fashion industry wasn’t always glamorous or as forgiving as one might hope. In 2014, Teigen told DuJour magazine (via Insider) that she once lost out on a job for not conforming to their beauty standards. 

“I actually was fired from a job … Forever 21. They booked me directly when I was much younger,” Teigen said. “I showed up on set and they asked me if they could take a photo and they shot that photo off to my agency, who then calls me as I’m sitting in the makeup chair.” The story plunged into the abyss of cesspool decay when Teigen revealed how she was humiliated in the middle of her shoot, dishing, “And they say, ‘You need to leave right now. They just said you are fat and you need to come get your measurements taken.'” (Skrt! We are shooketh and running over with indignation!) Well, Clapback Chrissy wasn’t one to hide her feelings and lambasted the brand, “So I hate you, Forever 21. Hate you so much, honestly you’re the worst.” 

In a 2020 interview with Glamour, Teigen revealed that the on-the-spot sacking affected her so much that, “I didn’t do any jobs without first going to a casting meeting for years after that.”

The star found love on the set of a music video

If ever there was a person who changed the course of Chrissy Teigen’s life, that credit belongs to Nabil Elderkin. Not only was he the photographer who discovered her in a surf shop when she was 17 years old, but he also introduced her to her future husband, musician John Legend. 

In a sweet animated Instagram video shared on Valentine’s Day 2021, Legend narrated their “love story” — and it’s a real tear-jerker. Elderkin thought that Teigen would be the perfect fit for his “Stereo” music video in 2006, with Legend sharing, “He knew her and thought she’d be really cool, and he also thought I would like her. Well, Nabil was right: We had chemistry.” Like the rest of Chrissy’s Twitter stans, the “Bigger Lover” crooner fell in love with the way she uses words: “I would text her, and she would write me the funniest replies, and she’d always make me laugh.” And the deets about when he realized that he was a goner? Legend fell hard during a trip to Villa d’Este at Lake Como, Italy, revealing, “As we were saying goodbye at the airport, I knew I had fallen in love with Chrissy Teigen.” 

They returned to the magical destination for their 2013 wedding and the filming of the music video for “All of Me.” Legend concluded his romantic missive by stating, “Our love story started with flirtation, conversations in the dark, and blossomed into a marriage and two beautiful kids.” Now, who’s cutting onions?

Chrissy Teigen went from model to foodie

As of this writing, Chrissy Teigen may be even more famous these days for her culinary skills than for her time on the runway. The future cookbook author eventually started to blog about her love for food in 2011 on So Delushious, later telling Marie Claire, “I always loved food and I think I kind of needed an outlet.” She added, “I didn’t want to just talk about modeling all the time and just be in the modeling realm. It wasn’t to shock people like ‘oh models eat and models like to cook,’ it wasn’t about that at all. I just kind of needed somewhere to just talk.”

But before she kicked off what would become her Cravings food empire, Teigen wanted to be sure that her offering would have credibility. “I never ever wanted anyone to think that I was that model that pretended to eat pizza because I see right through that and I hate it,” she dished to Eater. “I really am very aware of those girls interviewed backstage at New York Fashion Week and they’re like, ‘All I want is a pizza.’ And I’m like, ‘No you don’t, you’re crazy. And you’re a liar, too.'” (Okay, where were we when that showdown happened and can we get the tape?)

Having since released her hugely popular cookbooks, “Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat” and “Cravings: Hungry for More,” Teigen told Eater, “I wanted people to know that these are really the recipes that we love at home.”

Becoming Mrs. John Legend

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend had the most gloriously romantic wedding on September 14, 2013, in Lake Como, Italy. After dating for seven years, they finally said their “I do’s” in front of 125 friends and family members in an unforgettable ceremony, per Martha Stewart. The lavish wedding had the bride changing into several gowns throughout the day. 

According to A Drink With, Teigen later confessed, “I have to admit, I think I did do one too many dress changes. I ended up being stuck in hair and makeup for a lot of it, which kind of sucked because I could hear the party happening. But gosh, I just loved how everything turned out and I loved looking up at the lights.” Revealing how much she values her loved ones, Teigen added, “I think the dinner was my favorite part of the night and when we wove through everybody making our rounds.”

For his part, Legend felt that their nuptials were a game-changer for their relationship. “I think when you declare it to your family and friends and it’s official they have more respect for your relationship,” the singer divulged. Of course, they lived happily ever after in their blissful bubble-of-two … until they had kids. Then, it just got better.

Chrissy Teigen conceived her children via IVF

Most newlyweds will tell you that pre-wedding jitters have nothing on the pressure loved ones put on you for babies after you tie the knot. Imagine what it was like for Chrissy Teigen and John Legend when the world was looking at them and expecting an announcement that never came. In 2015, Teigen candidly revealed on FABLife, “I will say, honestly, John and I were having trouble. We would have kids five, six years ago if it’d happened. But my gosh, it’s been a process!” She went on to share that she and Legend had been seeing fertility doctors. And just one month after this appearance, the model broke the news that she was pregnant on Instagram.

Teigen later opened up about her IVF journey with The Cut, stating, “You hear stories about IVF working the first try. But you’ll hear a lot more stories about when it takes a few times. Ours didn’t work the first time, and it was devastating.” She also shared, “When you go through IVF, it does feel like, ‘Oh it’s not fair I have to do all this.’ Still, it’s a complete miracle when it works.” 

Like most moms, Teigen sometimes struggles with motherhood, but we relate to her realness. Plus, she and Legend now have the two cutest children to boot, daughter Luna and son Miles.

She struggled with post-partum depression

Chrissy Teigen has continued to keep it real about her struggles with her mental health. In 2020, she shared with Glamour, “The last month has been really tough. I’ll tell John, ‘Deep down, I know I am happy.’ But I think anyone with anxiety knows it’s physically painful to think about doing things. Sometimes reaching for your medication is like picking up a 60kg dumbbell that I don’t feel like picking up and I don’t know why.” At the time, she was pregnant with Jack, the baby that she would tragically lose a few months later. 

The reality TV host and Twitterer extraordinaire has dealt with anxiety, depression, and post-partum depression in the past, but was first diagnosed with PPD three months after the 2016 birth of daughter Luna, per Glamour. “It was a sad existence. There were no highs. It was a flatline of life for a few months,” Teigen explained. “You hear these horrific stories of people not seeing their child as theirs, or wanting to hurt them, and I never felt that way. That’s why I put off getting it checked as I hated myself, not my child.” 

Big ups to the slay queen who’s been so open about her mental health and for getting the help that she needed. As Teigen told Marie Claire in 2020, “I didn’t start therapy until quarantine … I used to avoid it and make fun of the idea of it, and then I found the right person and it changed my world.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Chrissy Teigen: the unofficial mayor of Twitter

Chrissy Teigen has the soul of a mother, the down-to-earth realness of a friend, and the mouth of a smart aleck — and we love her for it. If social media has a pyromaniac, Teigen has set the internet ablaze with her cackling clapbacks and sizzling snarks. It’s little wonder that Twitter honored their honorary queen by sending her some cake, per Delish, in 2019. Yup, the social media giant made it official and finally did the right thing, naming her the #MayorOfTwitter. (Of course, there was the time when Teigen quit Twitter for a whole 23 days, but we digress.) 

Naturally, Teigen tweeted a photo of the slab cake and promptly asked her followers for some help, revealing that the foodie had some icing but needed some inspiration about how to decorate the dessert’s blank canvas. In the end, pal Jesse Tyler Ferguson of “Modern Family” fame shared a follow-up pic, showing how Chrissy decided to just have her cake and eat it, too. But was it “Cravings” good, dear Twitter GOAT?

Inside her hilarious reaction to her parents' divorce

Vilailuck “Pepper Thai” Teigen and Ron Teigen had been married for 37 years before they got divorced. According to People, Chrissy Teigen’s parents had already separated in 2017, but their divorce wasn’t finalized until May 14, 2020. However, the news didn’t come as a total shock to those who follow the model-turned-cookbook author on social media. 

Per Us Weekly, Pepper Thai had been living with Chrissy and husband John Legend for years, and while Ron often popped in, it seemed as if she had no intention of moving back to her marital home. “It just works for them,” Chrissy told the outlet in 2018. “It’s a good family life. We’re all very close, very tight–knit.”

The journalist who interviewed the Teigens for their Vanity Fair story, Karen Valby, dished on Chrissy’s reaction to her parents’ divorce on Twitter: “‘Two Christmases!’ Chrissy said she told her parents, trying to make a joke.” The social media star reportedly added, “A marriage that was long more of a friendship is coming to an end. Life goes on.” In her own way, Chrissy lightened the mood and tried to make the situation easier for the two people who raised her.

She and John Legend suffered an unimaginable loss

In September 2020, Chrissy Teigen shared on Instagram that she and husband John Legend had tragically lost her third child, son Jack. Sharing a heartbreaking series of black-and-white images depicting her and Legend mourning their late son, she penned a gut-wrenching caption, which read in part, “We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before.”

“We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough,” she explained, adding, “Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever.” Teigen also wrote to her son, “To our Jack — I’m so sorry that the first few moments of your life were met with so many complications, that we couldn’t give you the home you needed to survive. We will always love you.” She added, “We are so grateful for the life we have, for our wonderful babies Luna and Miles, for all the amazing things we’ve been able to experience. But everyday can’t be full of sunshine. On this darkest of days, we will grieve, we will cry our eyes out. But we will hug and love each other harder and get through it.”

Teigen later revealed in an essay penned for Medium that Jack’s ashes would “be put into the soil of a tree in our new home, the one we got with his room in mind.”

Chrissy Teigen champions a fertility cause

No transformation story is complete without a happy ending. After the tragic loss of her third child, Jack, Chrissy Teigen chose to use her voice to further a cause that’s close to her heart. 

In a move that surprised many fans, she decided to champion a Resolve fertility campaign called “Fertility Out Loud” not long after Jack’s death. When Glamour questioned why she would expose herself so soon after the hullabaloo of sharing the pics of her son’s loss, she revealed, “I had been on the internet long enough to know that was going to happen … I just knew sharing would impact a lot more people positively than it would negatively.” Teigen also knew that the fertility campaign would help women in their “spiral of shame.” She added, “And I don’t want any woman to have to go through that feeling alone, ever.” 

In March 2021, Teigen also revealed her hopes for the future with People. “I can’t wait to see salt-and-pepper John and me next to him with my silver hair,” she said. “I really look forward to our children being hopefully the type of kids that come over every weekend for Sunday dinner.” She finished her thoughts by saying, “That would be incredibly meaningful to me. I will be so happy seeing my family all around the same table.” And so say all of us, Chrissy. 

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