Refaeli in 2011
4 June 1985|
Hod HaSharon, Israel
(m. 2003; div. 2005)
Adi Ezra (m. 2015)
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 8.9 in)|
As a result of her modelling and investment career, her net worth was estimated at US $20 million in 2015. According to Forbes Israel, she was the highest-paid model in Israel in 2013, ahead of the combined modeling income of other Israeli models such as Esti Ginzburg, Gal Gadot, and Shlomit Malka.
Refaeli was born and raised in Hod HaSharon, Israel, to a secular Jewish family. Her parents were both born in Israel, and her grandparents were immigrants from Europe and of Italian-Jewish, Lithuanian-Jewish, and Polish-Jewish descent. In Hebrew, her first name means "wild" (as in nature), and her surname literally means "God, please heal" and is a derivative of the biblical angel Raphael. Her mother was a successful model in the 1970s under her maiden name, Tzipora "Tzipi" Levine.
Refaeli began modeling at the age of eight months, when she first appeared in commercials. Orthodonture at 12 interrupted her modeling until she was 15, when an Israeli fashion awards ceremony awarded Refaeli "Model of the Year" (2000). She played prominently in campaigns for the fashion brands Castro and Pilpel, and she starred in a Milky pudding commercial.
She has appeared in editorials for French, American, Italian, Spanish, Russian, and Ukrainian Elle, Spanish Vogue, British, Russian, Australian, and Vietnamese Harper's Bazaar, V, French and Dutch L'Officiel, American, British, Italian, German, Spanish, and Indian GQ, i-D, and Allure. She has appeared on the covers of French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Belgian, Danish, Swedish, Australian, Latvian, Norwegian, Polish, Bulgarian, Romanian, Slovenian, Croatian, and Turkish Elle, French, Spanish, and Russian Marie Claire, British, Italian, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Mexican GQ, American, British, Australian, and Serbian Maxim, and Esquire.
Refaeli has appeared in advertising campaigns for Chanel, Escada, Ralph Lauren, Desigual, Andrew Marc, Victoria's Secret, Marks and Spencer, Gap, Moët & Chandon, Hurley, Rampage, True Religion, Lucky Brand, Accessorize, Passionata, Fox, Reebok, Sears, Arrow, Besni, Marco Bicego, and Agua Bendita. She also has appeared in advertising campaigns for non-fashion brands such as Garnier Fructis, Samsung, and Subaru.
Refaeli became the second Israeli model to appear in Sports Illustrated magazine (after Michaela Bercu), in her 2007 debut in its Swimsuit Issue, where she posed with the rock band Aerosmith. Refaeli was the cover model for the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Southwest Airlines painted a bikini-clad Refaeli from that shoot on the side of its Boeing 737, which led some passengers to criticize the airline for what they regarded as prurient, and hence "offensive to families."
On 5 March 2009, Refaeli received the World Style Award presented by the Women's World Awards for her "natural elegance, sense of style and compassion." In October of the same year, Refaeli co-hosted Fashionable Istanbul's press conference, announced its October 2009 fashion event, and appeared in its advèrtisements. FHM voted Refaeli No. 42 in 2008, No. 57 in 2010, and No. 97 in 2011, in its lists of the "100 Sexiest Women."
Maxim placed Refaeli at the very top of its Hot 100 list in 2012. In April 2012, Shalom Life ranked her fourth on its list of the "50 most talented, intelligent, funny, and gorgeous Jewish women in the world." Refaeli has been referred to as a supermodel by Maxim Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, the Daily Mail, The Algemeiner, The Jerusalem Post, The Independent, and others.
Film and television career
Refaeli co-starred in the Israeli TV drama series Pick Up in 2005. In October 2008, she co-hosted the Bravo special program Tommy Hilfiger Presents Ironic Iconic America, based on the book Ironic Iconic America written by George Lois. She returned as a program host in 2009, this time for MTV's brief revival of House of Style.
In 2011, Refaeli starred in the American-Israeli film Session, directed by Haim Bouzaglo. The film is a psychological thriller that tells the story of a manipulative psychiatrist who becomes obsessed with a new young patient. She also served as a guest judge on cycle four of Germany's Next Topmodel hosted by Heidi Klum. In November 2012 she started her own model casting show Million Dollar Shootingstar on German TV Channel Sat.1.
In January 2013, Refaeli appeared in Go Daddy's Super Bowl XLVII commercial, acting with Jesse Heiman (with whom she intimately kisses) and NASCAR driver and perennial Go Daddy pitchwoman Danica Patrick. In 2013, Refaeli also hosted the first season of The X Factor Israel, which became the most popular music show in Israel, leading to them bringing her back in 2015 for season two. In 2013, Refaeli played a starring role in the French-Israeli crime-caper film Kidon, a comedy in which she stars as a Mossad assassin involved in liquidating a terrorist.
Business and investment career
Refaeli invests in a variety of business ventures in Israel, and has also launched her own.
Refaeli has an ownership stake in a number of fashion companies, such as in the designer glasses manufacturer Carolina Lemke.
On the sale of a 5% stake to fashion brand Castro in 2016, Refaeli made a NIS 2-4 million profit.
In 2011, Refaeli and Dudi Balsar, an attorney and former male model, set up an E-commerce company called Under.me, to sell designer underwear. As well as being its investor, Refaeli runs business development for the venture. By November 2011, the company had raised $1 million in venture capital funds.
Refaeli is one of the main investors behind MyCheck, which processes payments behind smart phones, and which raised $1.7 million in its first financing round. In its second financing round, it raised $4.2 million.
In 2016, Refaeli lodged a police complaint for identity theft with the Israel Police after a news item in Calcalist linked her to suspicious money transfers involving Amir Bramly, based on leaked banking correspondence. Bramly sued the Calcalist reporter in relation to the media coverage.
In late 2015, Refaeli was accused of concealing millions of shekels of annual income, with Bar Refaeli having an estimated net worth of US $20 million in 2015. It was revealed she had recently bought a NIS 15 million apartment in Tel Aviv, as well as a NIS 2.5 million apartment for her younger brother. On 16 December 2015, Israeli tax authorities in Tel Aviv detained Refaeli and her mother overnight for questioning related to potential tax evasion; she was accused of failing to pay income tax on two vehicles that she received as compensation for posing in pictures with the vehicles, and for evading taxes by disguising her Israeli residency by renting a luxury apartment in Tel Aviv through relatives.
Charitable and public service activities
She led a free campaign under the slogan "One Bag Less" to reduce the use of plastic bags in Israel. In 2009, she led an unpaid campaign on behalf of the Israel Water Authority, to educate the public about water use and conservation.
On 7 June 2013, Refaeli hosted a beach party in Tel Aviv for participants of Tel Aviv Pride, the city's gay pride parade. In November 2013, Refaeli spoke out in support of legislation for civil marriages in Israel, as part of a campaign for the proposed Knesset bill.
Refaeli once dated Baywatch actor David Charvet. In November 2005, she began a relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio after meeting him at a party in Las Vegas thrown for members of U2. In the course of their trip to Israel in March 2007, the couple met with Israeli president Shimon Peres and visited Refaeli's hometown of Hod HaSharon. The relationship ended in June 2009. In 2010, numerous reports indicated that their romance had been rekindled, but in May 2011, it was reported that the couple had ended their romantic relationship, though they would remain friends.
Refaeli became engaged to Israeli businessman Adi Ezra in March 2015. She has said she plans to raise "a big Jewish family" with him. The couple were married in Israel on 24 September 2015. She and Ezra have two daughters: Liv Ezra, (born 11 August 2016) and Elle Ezra (born 20 October 2017).
Avoidance of military service
As early as 2004 Refaeli received criticism in Israel for avoiding mandatory service in the army. At the time model Agam Rudberg said: "The way Bar Refaeli [sic] evaded army service wasn't right. It's worth trying to serve in the army, and only if you don't feel good there to try and do something."
In 2007, it was reported that Refaeli had evaded the draft by marrying family acquaintance Arik Weinstein in 2003, and divorcing him soon afterwards, to avoid military service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which is mandatory in Israel for unmarried secular Jewish women over the age of 18.
The Israeli Forum for the Promotion of Equal Share in the Burden threatened to boycott the fashion chain Fox if they hired Refaeli. The two sides reached a compromise in which Refaeli agreed to visit injured IDF soldiers whenever she is in Israel, and actively encourage enlistment in the army. Refaeli later said, "I don't regret not enlisting, because it paid off big time. That's just the way it is: celebrities have other needs. I hope my case has influenced the army." She also said: "Israel or Uganda, what difference does it make? It makes no difference to me. Why is it good to die for our country? What, isn't it better to live in New York? Why should 18-year-old kids have to die? It's dumb that people have to die so that I can live in Israel."
In 2009, while speaking in support of enlisting, fellow Israeli model Esti Ginzburg criticized Refaeli for evading military service. In 2011, Refaeli was featured on the cover of Italian GQ's war-themed May 2011 issue. Refaeli's avoidance of military service was again raised in 2013, this time by IDF Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai, who criticized the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for casting Refaeli in a 2013 advertisement. Mordechai maintained that the use of Refaeli as an "official representative of Israel" sent a "negative message" to Israeli society.
In 2014, during Operation Protective Edge, Refaeli frequently expressed solidarity and appreciation of Israeli citizens serving in the Israeli Army with postings on her social network accounts, and by posting selfies of her together with smiling Israeli soldiers.
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Last year they called a halt to their relationship, apparently, it seemed, for good. But, if these new photographs are anything to go by, Leonardo DiCaprio and Bar Refaeli appear to be back on track.
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