I’m not sure if the Pulitzer deadlines have passed, but I have a strong contender for the top investigative journalism honor: A TikTok user by the name Culturework has presented a very compelling theory connecting Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen’s divorce with the fall of FTX. While I obviously cannot confirm the allegations made in the TikTok series, I am at the very least intrigued.
Crucial to this story is the fact that Brady and Bündchen went hard in the paint backing the cryptocurrency exchange now being referred to as a Ponzi scheme, and even starred in a commercial for it. Is it a coincidence that this high-profile couple with many millions between them split up right before an FTX investor sued both of them? Maybe! But when that much money is involved, things are rarely left to chance. Before diving into the theory, let’s briefly recap the public dissolution of Football’s First Couple.
Both parties’ PR teams worked closely with the tabloids to paint the picture of a marriage pushed to the brink by Brady’s football career, from the New York Post’s September exclusive on the couple’s fights to TMZ’s October announcement of their divorce. As someone following along with middling interest, I bought it all: I, too, would be pissed if my 45-year-old husband was secretly whispering “I just can’t quit you” to a football behind my back.
Luckily, Culturework was following along with the keen eye of a CIA operative and has presented her research this week from the comfort of her plush bed. (Personally, the more casual the backdrop, the more likely I am to believe the conspiracy. If you have these hypotheses so on lock that you can rattle them off before a cup of coffee, you’ve hooked me.) Though her backdrop was casual, her deep dive was anything but.
Over the course of three videos, Culturework creates a timeline of Brady and Bündchen’s divorce and how it coincides with the implosion of cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The primary event the series focuses on is the couple’s August vacation in the Bahamas (where FTX is based), which came around the same time the Federal Trade Commission sent FTX a cease and desist letter.
Immediately after the vacation, Brady gave an interview saying, “I’m 45 years old, man, there’s a lot of shit going on right now”—and thus began the aforementioned PR blitz for the dissolution of his marriage. From there, Culturework mentions a lot of suspiciously timed incidents: Bündchen taking repeated tropical vacations within days of each other; the timing of her recent mansion purchase; even the timing of the coverage of her supposed new jiu-jitsu trainer beau. (This week, she and Brady were named as defendants in a lawsuit suing FTX: “Part of the scheme employed by the FTX Entities involved utilizing some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment—like these Defendants—to raise funds and drive American consumers to invest...pouring billions of dollars into the deceptive FTX platform to keep the whole scheme afloat,” the lawsuit claims.) Some watching Culturework’s videos might just come to the conclusion that this divorce is a way for the impending financial disaster to fall on Brady and keep Bündchen and their children clean—at least that’s what a lot of the comments on the videos suggest.
Of course, this is all just guesswork, which Culturework assures us when wrapping up her videos. “It’s all speculation, fantasy, parody,” she rushes to say in the third and final video. With that in mind, let me just say—with a knowing look straight into the camera—I’m tuned in to this fantasy.