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Linda Evangelista Just Revealed Why She Hasn't Been Seen in Years

The model says a beauty treatment left her "permanently deformed."

She used to be photographed for a living. Today, supermodel Linda Evangelista hasn't been seen publicly in years. And, as she explained in an Instagram post on Wednesday, Sept. 22, there's a devastating reason for that. Evangelista says that CoolSculpting treatments left her "brutally disfigured" after they had the opposite result to what she expected. "It increased, not decreased, my fat cells," Evangelista claims. The model also notes in her post that she has filed a lawsuit against the company.

Evangelista, 56, developed a condition following the procedure that's actually is an established risk of CoolSculpting. Read on to see what the star had to say about her experience and why she's speaking out now.

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Evangelista says CoolSculpting is why she stopped working and going out.

In her Instagram post, Evangelista writes, "Today I took a big step towards righting a wrong that I have suffered and have kept to myself for over five years." The model does not say exactly when or how many times she used CoolSculpting, but refers to "procedures" in the plural.

A look at her Instagram account shows that Evangelista does not often post current photos of herself. The last time she posted several new pictures of herself was in 2019.

She explains how her reaction permanently changed her appearance.

Linda Evangelista at the Harper's Bazaar ICONS Celebration in September 2014
Ovidiu Hrubaru /

Evangelista's post continues, "To my followers who have wondered why I have not been working while my peers' careers have been thriving, the reason is that I was brutally disfigured by Zeltiq's CoolSculpting procedure which did the opposite of what it promised. It increased not decreased, my fat cells and left me permanently deformed even after undergoing two painful, unsuccessful, corrective surgeries."

She explains that she developed Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH) and claims that she was not made aware of the risk prior to the procedures. According to a 2014 study published in the medical journal JAMA Dermatology, "Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia is a rare, previously unreported adverse effect of cryolipolysis with an incidence of 0.0051%." The study also notes that there is no single unifying risk factor, but it does occur more frequently with male patients. Another study (via Science Daily) found that PAH is 0.72 percent more common in men.

Best Life has reached out to the company behind CoolSculpting, Allergan, for comment, but has not yet received a response. Safety information on the CoolSculpting website lists PAH as a possible side effect that "requires surgical intervention, such as liposuction, for correction."

Evangelista says it has affected her wellbeing.

"PAH has not only destroyed my livelihood, it has sent me into a cycle of deep depression, profound sadness, and the lowest depths of self-loathing. In the process, I have become a recluse," she writes. She also says that she is moving forward with a lawsuit to "rid myself of my shame."

"I'm so tired of living this way. I would like to walk out my door with my head held high, despite not looking like myself any longer," she concludes her statement.

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Her appearance has been commented on in the media.

Linda Evangelista at the 2007 Vanity Fair Oscar Party
s_bukley /

In her post, Evangelista writes, "I have been left, as the media has described, 'unrecognizable.'" Back in 2017, the Daily Mail published photos of Evangelista at an airport and used that word in reference to her. The article explained that Evangelista was noticeably absent from a reunion of '90s supermodels on the Versace runway.

Friends and fans are in Evangelista's corner.

Marc Jacobs and Linda Evangelista at the Louis Vuitton Gala Celebrating Murakami Exhibition in October 2007
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic via Getty Images

In the comments of her Instagram post, fans, friends, and fellow members of the fashion industry shared their support for Evangelista. Model Karen Elson wrote, "Sweet Linda. I love you dearly, you are so brave and wonderful." Actor January Jones shared, "Love that you're reclaiming your story. This strength and bravery supersedes any superficial outward appearance. An icon is an icon is an icon. Always." Designer Marc Jacobs commented, "Thank you for your courage and strength. I love you dear Linda."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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