Chrissy Teigen Recalls Sobbing 'for Hours' After She and John Legend Had a 'Scary Experience' With Racism
By Paige Gawley
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Chrissy Teigen is opening up about a frightening incident. The 34-year-old model covers Marie Claire's Fall 2020 issue and, in the accompanying interview, recalls a terrifying moment that she and her husband, John Legend, experienced back in 2010.
"We were in a nicer neighborhood at night, driving slowly, looking for John’s godmother’s home," Teigen explains. "These two guys were in a pickup truck slowly tailing us, flashing their lights and trying to speak to us. When we pulled over, they were like, 'What are you guys looking for?' and we gave them the address."
"They literally said, 'Get your a**es out of here!' and proceeded to follow us all the way into her driveway. They got out of the car and stared at us as we knocked on the door and went inside," she continues. "It was a terrible, scary experience."
While Teigen was shaken by the incident, her now 41-year-old husband "wasn't emotional" at all.
"That was my first taste of seeing what happens to Black men everyday. It was horrifying and could have gone wrong so quickly," she says. "I was sobbing afterward for hours, and I noticed John wasn’t emotional about it. Seeing that he wasn’t very thrown by it was really upsetting because he obviously had experienced it before."
Now that she and Legend are parents -- Luna, 4, Miles, 2, and baby number three on the way -- the model often grapples with how to explain issues like racism to her kids, while also acknowledging their privilege.
"There are books that I read when I became a mom that would explain to them hard and traumatic situations. But it’s really hard to teach them about their privilege; there are no books for that," she says. "But regardless of money or status, they’re always going to have their skin color."
"When it comes to them being treated differently because of the color of their skin, I’m going to look to John for a lot of help with that because while they are Asian and white too, their skin color is Black," Teigen, whose mother is Thai, continues. "We just try to talk to them like little adults, saying it in words they’ll understand, making it known that it’s very serious, and letting them ask as many questions as they need."
As their children, specifically Luna, grow and learn, Teigen hopes that she and Legend are able to impart important lessons about confidence and self-worth on to their kids.
"I hope that she’s never afraid to speak up and knows that other women will have her back," Teigen says of her hopes for Luna. "And I really hope she knows there are good men out there like her daddy who will support her and not talk down to her and demean her."
Despite the couple's outspoken nature about President Donald Trump and ongoing debates plaguing the country today, Teigen says it's her love for America that makes her want to speak out and create change.
"With how outspoken we are and how critical we are of America, a lot of people think that that means we hate the country, when it is really just the opposite," she says. "If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be doing all of this. I could easily not say something, and, mentally, life would be so much easier."
Though she's frequently unfiltered and opinionated on social media, trolls have caused Teigen to step back from engaging online, a decision that she admits makes her feel "selfish."
"I'm barely online anymore, and that was at the request of my therapist. 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," she says. "People think I'm tough, but I'm such an empath, and I take on other people's pain and sadness as my own. And when I let people down, I'm hyperaware of it. Sometimes I feel like people aren't going to be as hard on me as I am on myself. So it's good for me to take a break."
"Part of me right now knows this is not the right time to go silent. It does feel very selfish and weird to say that my mental health is important when there are people being murdered by police and murdered in their own homes," Teigen adds. "Who gives a f**k about someone making fun of me when people’s livelihoods are being threatened just for telling their stories? I have Black children, so is it really the right time to not want to step on anyone’s toes?"