When Heidi Klum sashayed down the catwalk looking sensational, just 41 days after giving birth, no one could take their eyes off her and that includes her husband Seal.
The 36-year-old supermodel was in amazing shape for last month’s Victoria’s Secret fashion show, despite just becoming a mum for the fourth time.
And award-winning musician Seal insists that his wife has her German genes to thank for recovering her great figure so quickly.
“A lot of it is genetics,” says Seal, 46, who is looking good himself – even though he has been up half the night with their new baby daughter, Lou Sulola.
“The other thing is that my wife is one of the most balanced eaters I know. She eats loads of greens and vegetables.
“It’s not like she doesn’t eat chocolate or McDonald’s, she just won’t eat as much of it as I will. She’s very disciplined like that.
“And it’s not that she’s worked out like a fiend to get back in shape either. I find it really unattractive, women who do that.
“Heidi isn’t a gym buff. She’s like her mum who’s 65 and is more active than I am. I have no problem putting my feet up and watching football but my mother-in-law is always doing stuff. Heidi’s the same.”
Seal and Heidi have one of the strongest marriages in showbiz, yet they had a very challenging start to their relationship.
Heidi was three weeks pregnant with her ex-boyfriend F1 mogul Flavio Briatore’s child when she met Seal.
But they knew they were destined to be together and Seal has brought up her daughter Leni, now five, as his own. He has now adopted her.
“It’s only happened fairly recently,” says Seal, who is also father to Henry, four, and three-year-old Johan. “But it doesn’t make her any more or less my daughter. She always has been. All it means is that both Heidi and I wanted her to have the same last name as the rest of us.
“It was about Leni. I don’t want her to feel different because I know what that’s like, being a kind of stepson. And I don’t want that dynamic for my little girl.”
Flavio has not stood in their way.
“Heidi handled everything,” says Seal. “And from what I understand Flavio was a gentleman about the whole thing.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I’m not talking about in a professional level but just in the way that he has handled the situation, which, let’s face it, must have been really difficult.
“I don’t know if I would have been that adult about it. I certainly have nothing but good things to say about the way he’s been with us and he’s more than welcome to see Leni any time he wants to.”
Seal is determined that all his children have a happy childhood – something that he never had. Born Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel, he was two when he was sent to live with a foster family in Romford, Essex, when his mum Adebisi was deported back to her native Nigeria.
Three years later, Seal went to live with his father, Francis Samuel, in North London. But Francis ruled his household with a rod of iron. Seal left home as soon as he could, but ended up sleeping rough. His tough beginnings fuelled his determination to make something of his life through his music. And remembering those hard times means he never feels smug about just how far he has come.
“I do feel incredibly lucky and pinch myself every day,” says Seal, who stormed into the music scene in his 20s with the hit singles Crazy and Killer.
“It’s not all a bed of roses. We have the same issues that other families deal with. But in the grand scheme of things, it is the perfect life.
“There’s an element of luck but the harder you work for and visualise something, the luckier you get. The luck comes in the fact that Heidi and I have healthy children and we are relatively healthy, too.
“I have a job that gives me incredible happiness and satisfaction, and a lifestyle I aspired to as a kid. We can afford luxuries like sending our kids to good schools, which is something I didn’t have – I went to one of the worst schools in England.
“Also I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to put food on the table. But I don’t feel guilty about any of that – I’ve been on the other side of the tracks, I know what it’s like.
“I was homeless at 17 and was sleeping in the Under-ground and in homeless shelters.
“It’s not like I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth.
“I was given up for adoption and lived with foster parents so I know what it’s like to have rejection.
“I contracted lupus when I was 21 and it disfigured my face, I didn’t know what the hell was going on and no one was able to diagnose what was going on.
“I’ve paid my dues and don’t feel guilty for the perfect lifestyle people see that we have. Both Heidi and I worked our arses off to get here, no one gave it to us.
“It’s something I visualised from when I was young. I watched programmes like Happy Days and shows with people with perfect lives because my real domestic life was horrible.
“I had an abusive father and a dysfunctional family. That was the place I escaped to when my own everyday life was so s****y that it was the place I took refuge. So when it became my reality, I didn’t feel surprised.”
As much as he and Heidi enjoy their family life, they are not planning on having any more children.
Seal says: “I found myself thinking before Lou was born, ‘We’ve got three kids, how on earth am I going to find any more love to give another kid?’
“Then Lou turned up and the first time I held her she looked up at me with this frown, which she’s definitely got from me, and I fell in love at that point.
“Four kids is enough, though. It was really emotional this time because we knew this was the last time.
“We knew she was going to be a girl. Heidi found out the sex and she can’t keep a secret – even though I didn’t want to be told!”
As well as looking after their children, he and Heidi renew their marriage vows every year in their holiday home in Mexico, and even turn down jobs to be together. How do they fit it all in? “You have to,” insists Seal, who has just been nominated for a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and has released a new album, Hits. “Heidi’s good at schedules and she’s dragged me kicking and screaming to be organised, too.
“You have to be, otherwise you just don’t get to see each other.
“You have to put your foot down as well. We’ve both turned things down because basically I made a call. I don’t want to work at any point over December.
“It is seductive when all these great career opportunities come up and you’re riding the crest of the wave again.
“My career has had ebbs and flows.. right now it seems to be going up again.
“And that’s great. But the one thing the ebbs and flows teach you is that you cannot take it too seriously. My family is my priority now.”
Seal’s latest album, Hits, is out now.
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