"It's pretty obvious that he's hurting," says a source close to Brady. "He feels very hurt by her."
For months, there have been reports of trouble between Brady and Bündchen, 42, that began soon after Brady returned to the NFL for another season after previously announcing he'd retire. The choice to go back on that decision has led to "a lot of tension" between the longtime couple, multiple sources told PEOPLE.
But other sources tell PEOPLE that their struggles are more nuanced than just his return to football. "It's complicated," the insider says. "There's a lot more to it."
Now, both Bündchen and Brady have hired divorce attorneys as they navigate the next phase of their relationship.
"She is the one steering the divorce," the first source says. "She is playing offense and he is playing defense. He wants to protect himself, protect his interests, but he's only starting to go the legal route in his defense from her. He doesn't want this to be ugly, he doesn't want to fight. If the divorce is happening — and it seems like it is — he wants it to go as smoothly as possible."
Matt Winkelmeyer/MG18/Getty Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen
Brady's marital issues are difficult for a man who is used to winning.
"Think about it: Tom has had a very charmed life," says the source. "Things always seem to go his way. He works hard, he's a good guy, he hasn't had a lot of things go wrong in his life. This is awful for him. You can tell that this really, really hurts."
In September, a source told PEOPLE that the couple had been living apart for "more than a month," by the time the 2022-23 NFL season had started. "Gisele is busy with her own life now, and has spent time away from Tom in Miami and New York," said one insider.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen
Another source explained: "During the season, they live separate lives." Sources had previously told PEOPLE that Brady's decision to un-retire has been a sticking point for the supermodel, who has said that she wants him to be more present with their kids.
With divorce lawyers on hand, Brady and Bündchen are preparing for a potential legal battle, and a source told PEOPLE that the supermodel has been working with her attorney for "weeks."
"This is not something that just happened today," the insider said.