Mishel Gerzig
Thibaut Courtois and Mishel Gerzig
Photo: Courtesy
Mishel Gerzig

Israeli model girlfriend of Real Madrid star talks life in Spain as stepmother

Mishel Gerzig, who is engaged to Thibaut Courtois, opens up about her IDF service, battle with mental health, and what it's like to be in a relationship with a father of two

Miri Ben-David Livi |
Published: 09.11.22, 14:40
At 25, Mishel Gerzig is already an accomplished model, featuring in campaigns for international and Israeli brands, such as GUESS and Twentyfourseven.
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  • Gerzig is also a fiancé of Thibaut Courtois - Real Madrid's goalkeeper, and has been living in Madrid with his two children.
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    מישל גרציג
    מישל גרציג
    Mishel Gerzig
    (Photo: Andres Gar Luján, Styling: Daniel Russo)
    Recently, she has also began working as part of management team of the Golden Ale Association for the Elderly - a non-profit organization that renovates the homes of the elderly and Holocaust survivors.
    In an exclusive interview with Ynet's sister outlet Menta, Gerzig talked about the upcoming wedding and what's next for the model and her beau.
    "Thibaut and I have been in a relationship for a year and half. We have the togetherness and we have the individuality - each of us is also busy with our own career," she says. "During this period we learned one another and discovered how to incorporate our careers into each other's lives, and I think that we are doing a great job.
    "Ahead of the upcoming year, I hope that we enjoy the process, the journey, the preparations. A wedding is one day, but the preparations are spread throughout the whole year."
    Gerzig also talked about what it was like to be with someone who already has children from a former partner, and says that they have become a family.
    "I entered a special relationship in which my partner has two kids from a previous one - a girl, 7, and a boy, 5. They're very sweet, they've accepted me, we're a family and it's really heartwarming. They see me as their friend and I like it that way," she says.
    "I hope this unique connection only continues because it's complicated. It's not a secret that when there are children from a previous relationship, it's not easy, but I'm really lucky because these are amazing kids and I've really connected with them. I think for anyone who enters a situation like this, it's important to remember there is a mother in the picture. It's important to deal with the children as a friend and not someone who is trying to take the place of their mom. I didn't come to 'take' their dad.
    "On the personal level, I'm expecting to build our own family in the next year, and God willing, in the future we'll have our own children."
    6 View gallery
    Mishel Gerzig
    Mishel Gerzig
    Thibaut Courtois and Mishel Gerzig
    (Photo: Courtesy)
    Mishel Gerzig also opened up about her struggle with mental health. She shared that she started having panic attacks at 20, following her IDF service.
    "I had a very meaningful IDF service. I was a commander of a search and rescue ship in the Navy. It's a very intense role - physically and mentally, with a lot of responsibilities and commitment. I felt like it fulfilled me," she says.
    "When I got discharged, I debated whether to sign up for one more year. But my draft had put a pause in my modeling career, in which I invested all my efforts from the age of 13, ending contracts that I worked on for years. I felt that I owe it to my parents, to gain additional experience in the modeling field, after they invested in me for all those years.
    6 View gallery
    מישל גרציג
    מישל גרציג
    Mishel Gerzig
    (Photo: Andres Gar Luján, Styling: Daniel Russo)
    "I had no idea that getting discharged from such a meaningful role in the army would make me feel empty and insignificant in life. I didn't know what was happening to me. I suffered from shortness of breath, numbness all over my body, rapid pulse, my eyes would go black. I had the feeling that I was going to die, that I was having a heart attack," Gerzig says.
    After repeated panic attacks, Mishel sought out treatment. She turned to a doctor, who immediately realized she was having panic attacks. Upon being offered medication, Mishel insisted to try alternative coping methods first. She says that her support system and sticking to a routine, was what got her through the tough times.
    "I went on with my work, I didn't give up," she says. "I learned to practice breathing and talk to myself in front of the mirror through affirmations."
    6 View gallery
    מישל גרציג
    מישל גרציג
    Mishel Gerzig
    (Photo: Andres Gar Luján, Styling: Daniel Russo)
    The model says that sometimes she still experiences stress and anxiety when she is very busy, but knowing how to identify it helps her be proactive.
    "It is really important to talk about it, like I do on social media, and if I had time for psychological treatment, it would be amazing."
    Gerzig says she always starts her day by herself in the garden, where she briefly sits in silence and practices breathing, without her phone. She went on to describe what her daily routine looks like.
    "My day starts after coffee and a workout. I go to meetings but make time for a lunch break. We always eat lunch together at home because Thibaut comes back from a workout. After an hour an half break I go on with my schedule. This break resets me and allows me to effectively continue the day."
    6 View gallery
    מישל גרציג
    מישל גרציג
    Mishel Gerzig
    (Photo: Andres Gar Luján, Styling: Daniel Russo)
    When it comes to her diet, Gerzig says she "tries to eat everything that my body needs.
    "I believe in dietary supplements and make sure to take B12, Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Omega 3 regularly, even though I consume all the nutrients. I don't have a set menu. I believe in eating what the body needs. There is a definite connection between the mind and body. If my mind feels like it wants a pancake now, that's what I'll eat for breakfast, and yes, I will balance myself out with a health lunch."
    Gerzig admits that she is aware of the expectation her fans have from her on social media.
    "I invest in it - it's part of my job, but it's not always easy for me. This is a job that takes a lot of time and attention and content creation constantly. It used to be easier for me to do it on a daily basis, but this year, I learned to integrate the real world into my life and find a balance.
    6 View gallery
    מישל גרציג וטיבו קורטואה
    מישל גרציג וטיבו קורטואה
    Thibaut Courtois and Mishel Gerzig
    (Photo: Getty Images)
    "On the one hand I can't, and don't want to, give up on the ability to express my voice and make a change, on issues such as the issue of the army and mental health that I surface from time to time. I also like posting pretty looks and fashion and also moments from soccer life.
    "It's important to always remember that there is a beautiful world outside, set a limited time for social media and enjoy the world outside. I hope to continue living by this rule in the upcoming year."
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