At 68, Christie Brinkley has a new lease of life - and the potential for new love. The model-turned-entrepreneur has revealed that although she has not been looking for romance, a friend recently made an introduction and she is excited to see "what happens".
That being said, Christie's main passion at the moment is purely professional. She is launching a new range of still wines under her Bellissima brand, which features the hugely popular zero sugar, vegan, and certified organic prosecco. Launched four years ago, the brand blossomed when the wife of an Italian vineyard owner decided Christie would be the perfect partner after watching her on Instagram.
"When I first got on social media, I was shy about it and I didn't know what to talk about, so I talked about my garden and raising beautiful vegetables and flowers with no chemicals," Christie shared, adding: "So they came to me and said, 'We want to pour the wine for you if you would want to partner with us.'"
It was a match made in heaven, as Christie says the "foundation" of her life is health.
"I like to exercise so I am always able to move and go with the flow, and I like to eat foods that are healthy so I am fueling my body and I must say, usually I am the one still going when people younger than me are fading!" she jokes.
But that prosecco comes out whenever it can - "I like to say it's like an exclamation point on your day" - and for this special digital cover with HELLO! Magazine, Christie sits down to talk about turning a house into a home, how she formed close bonds with her three children and the secret to having more energy than peers half your age...
Tell us about this gorgeous home on Long Island...
"I bought this house 23 years ago and it's the longest I have ever been in any one place. I lived like a gypsy my whole life and this wasn't supposed to be my house for this long - it was a holding station – but then it turned into this amazing place to raise a family.
"It has hills and a pond, and when we get snow in the winter kids come from near and far and bring sleds, and everyone including my kids would play. In the summertime we have barns and chickens and puppies and room for everyone to spread out and come home. It's a real family compound, and it's such a nice family house.
"It was originally built by the Gardiner family, who had an island off the coast, their own private sovereign domain before the revolution, and a famous pirate once buried treasure there. The tower has so much history; they found the oldest flag in America that predates Betsy Ross, it's the Hulbert flag and it's now in a museum.
WATCH: At home with Christie Brinkley
"It's really the kind of house people love to play hide and seek in, with so many nooks and crannies. It has really become part of my family, and my son said the sweetest thing one day when he turned and said, 'Someday when I have kids I will build myself a little house in the woods right there, and the kids can walk over to see you any time, day or night.'
"It's something every mother would love to hear."
You're a big advocate for wildlife and the environment - how is that reflected in this space?
"There is no space because it's filled to the brim. I like to think it's eclectic bohemian chic but also take that with a grain of salt!
"But every scratch and dent has a story behind it so I love it, it's the kind of house the kids skateboard through and never have to worry when the board goes flying through the air.
"I also like to bring the outdoors in, very much so. I grew up in California where there is a lot of bougainvillea, and I have spent so much of my life in the Caribbean, so I love plants indoors; in the family room there is now a gigantic tree that is too big to get out!
"The kitchen has palm trees on the kitchen counter, geraniums and ferns, and then shells that I have collected over the years from around the world that I have been so lucky to have visited. I will make things with these items - lots of family pictures are framed in frames I have made out of shells, and on the back I write the beach the shells came from.
"It's a house of souvenirs and memories and stories."
Is this a place where you like to get the whole family together? What are your favorite ways to entertain here?
There is nothing better than being together in the kitchen cooking up a big meal together. We have a fireplace in the kitchen and we alway have it going, and we cook up a storm and we gather round the table.
"And I love the firepit outside to gather around, I just love having a glass of wine or prosecco together and catching up with each other."
Can you tell us what started you on the journey to making wine and your brand Bellissima?
"We started with three wines and proseccos after my business partners, Richard DeCicco and his wife Ro, found this beautiful vineyard in Italy that had never had any chemicals used on it, just pure as could be. The vineyard owners really wanted a partner that could speak to the fact that they were organic and the wife of the vineyard owner said, 'Christie Brinkley is always talking about her garden,' so they came to me.
"Organic really is so much better for your body and your planet, and people have learned over the last few years it's better for your health to reduce sugar intake, so we've made our entire range of new, still wines also sugar free."
When it comes to your wellness regime, can you tell us what a typical day in the life of Christie Brinkley would be?
"There is no typical day, because of the nature of my job I need to be ready to go in any direction and that means the foundation of my life is about being healthy.
"I like to exercise so I am always able to move and go with the flow, and I like to eat foods that are healthy so I am fueling my body, and I must say usually I am the one still going when people younger than me are fading so I do have a good amount of energy.
"I try to fit prosecco in whenever I can - when people drop by the first thing I do is pop a cork, it makes a normal day into a special day. Whenever I hear that sound you have to do a 'woohoo!' I like to say it's like an exclamation point on your day."
COVID put a stop to so many family celebrations, including your daughter Alexa's wedding, how is the planning going?
"Alexa [and fiance Ryan Gleason] love being engaged and are very much enjoying this time in their lives. But whenever she starts to plan there is another uptick in Covid, and safety for everyone is their priority."
Have you given her any tips for the wedding day?
"Having been through four divorces I am not the one to ask for any wedding advice!
"Even wedding planning I never did a ton of wedding plans, they all just came together."
With your singing talents and those of ex-husband Billy Joel, would you unite to do a special performance at Alexa’s wedding?
"Oh no - Alexa and I do sing together but I would never think anyone would care to hear me sing with Billy!"
You’ve said in the past that a "good friendship is the basis for everything" do you still think that, and are you looking for romance?
"I am not looking for romance - there is an expression when you don't look, it happens so I haven't been looking for a while and maybe it will happen.
"It's not very often my friends set me up, but recently a friend has sort of made an introduction so we'll see what happens..."
You have a very close relationship with your children, what is the key to that success?
"I think that the key is good real estate—have a house on the ocean and you will see your kids! But in all seriousness, it is just spending time together and there is no replacement for that. It's being there for them no matter what happens in their life."
Sailor is a model too - do you give her modeling advice?
"Of course I would give her advice if she asked for it. Sailor enjoys modeling and the opportunities she’s been given; she is working on other projects and taking a business course at Harvard online so she will know how to develop her many ideas.
"I have no doubt she will be successful and there’s no rush. I say to my kids all the time, 'I still try new things.'"
You often share pictures of your children in your clothes and vice versa - how did that start?
"That's where I figure out where my clothes have gone!
"People that follow us know we're big into convenience clothes, lots of overalls, because we spend a lot of time in the country and so lots of my male followers sometimes comment when I share something different, 'thank god you are not in the overalls!'
"But I have been threatening to do my own line of jumpsuits because the perfect one doesn't exist. I like to get dressed in less than 60 seconds and be out the door."
You recently appeared as a contestant on The Masked Singer, how did that come about?
"I almost did Dancing With The Stars, I did three weeks of rehearsals and then I broke my arm very badly so Sailor came in and saved the day and learned my dances in no time at all.
"The same producers then asked me to do The Masked Singer. But I don't know if I can do DWTS again because when I broke my arm I also did something to my shoulder which has not recovered. I have done a round of MRIs and they told me I need a complete shoulder replacement and I don't have time for that, so now I am looking at stem cell treatments, and we'll see how that goes.
"When I lift my arm it has a serious snag and it can be really painful, some days it is worse than others.
"I couldn't keep The Masked Singer a secret from my family though, so they kept it along with me. They would catch me singing in front of my computer, really singing away the same song and be like 'Mom are you okay?' so I had to let them know."
Did you choose your costume?
"I got the choice of two costumes, and one was bodycon and fierce and I thought, 'I could wear something like that modeling,' but the other was cuddly and fuzzy and easy so I knew I would be so comfortable.
"The costume department was so disappointed that I went with the fuzzy animal one, which also had flat shoes in the sketch – but little did I know the tail was the biggest tail they ever created in the history of the show. It was like strapping a telephone pole to my body.
"The straps started at my hips and went to my collarbone to hold it on to me and keep me from falling over sideways, and I am in good shape, but I could hardly breathe and you need air to sing!
"And they gave me high heels that were attached to my pants, so I had to leave my aching feet on. It was not my best performance in the world but people were so kind and sweet."
Photography by Anna Gunselman, Hair: Mitch Barry, Make-Up: Sandy Linter, Styling: Jamie Frankel
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