However much we might all wish we had a wealthy supermodel like Heidi Klum as a mom, we know being Leni Klum has not been without its challenges. Heidi Klum acknowledged as much in her Instagram post congratulating her 16-year-old daughter for her first magazine cover, Vogue Germany. In it, she mentioned what her complicated romantic life and version of co-parenting has meant for her first-born.
“I know that it’s not always easy to be my daughter,” Klum wrote in her post, which SheKnows’ own Louisa Ballhaus has translated from the original German. “You never had the possibility of growing up ‘normal.’ But what is normal? Growing up with three different daddies probably isn’t either.”
So who are these three fathers? Well, you probably know one: Klum’s ex-husband Seal, né Seal Samuel. He started dating Klum when she was pregnant and adopted her daughter as his own. She used to be known as Leni Samuel but has gone back to Leni Klum, at least professionally. Dad #3, we suppose, is Klum’s current husband, Tom Kaulitz, the 31-year-old Tokio Hotel guitarist.
Dad #1 is Leni’s biological father, Italian businessman and controversial Formula One racing manager Flavio Briatore. He and Klum dated briefly in 2003 but split up shortly after her pregnancy announcement.
“Leni is my natural daughter, but the three of us happily agreed that it made more sense if Seal adopted her, because a child needs to grow up in a family,” he reportedly told Il Corriere della Sera in 2016. “Heidi, Seal and I have built an amazing relationship. It’s hard to miss a baby that you never see. But I know that Leni is not an abandoned child.”
According to TMZ, Leni was spotted spending time with Briatore, along with Seal and Klum, back in 2018.
This year, Klum and Seal fought over their custody arrangement when the children’s mother wanted to take them to Germany with her to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Seal was apparently reluctant to let them go, but eventually, the issue was resolved.
Now, it looks like Leni Samuel gets along quite well with her stepdad, Tom, who’s only 15 years older than she is.
Even if this isn’t “normal,” Klum thinks her daughter’s unusual family life has been good for her.
“[Y]ou have a gift for making the best out of everything,” she wrote in her post. “And I would say: None of it hurt you — on the contrary: You are an assertive young woman who fights for her goals. And far more important: You are a wonderful human whose heart is in the right place.”
If that already has you aww-ing, grab a box of tissues before you watch the video of the mother-daughter photo shoot Leni shared on her Instagram.