fashion

Former Victoria's Secret model Erin Heatherton went from a life of luxury to losing every cent.

She was once one of the world’s most recognisable Victoria’s Secret Angels and a regular on the celebrity social scene – living a life of luxury most would envy.

Now, Erin Heatherton, 30, is virtually penniless, with little more than $1000 in her bank account, and approximately $709,350 AUD in debt.

So how did the supermodel lose almost everything? How did she slowly move from being a familiar face on the international stage to fighting a number of private, and expensive, battles?

Heatherton is known for making a stand against Victoria’s Secret’s unrealistic body standards, famously quitting her contract with the company after they allegedly told her to lose weight in 2013.

“My last two Victoria’s Secret shows, I was told I had to lose weight,” she told TIME’s Motto in 2016.

Erin Heatherton, 2010. Image: Getty Images.

"I was really depressed because I was working so hard and I felt like my body was resisting me. And I got to a point where one night I got home from a workout and I remember staring at my food and thinking maybe I should just not eat."

“I realised I couldn’t go out into the world—parading my body and myself in front of all these women who look up to me—and tell them that this is easy and simple and everyone can do this,” she explained.

This year, she reflected further on her decision to hang up her angel wings for the sake of her body image in a candid Instagram post, in which she donned a top emblazoned "empowered by failure".

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"In the end, if you aren’t being true to yourself, then what the f*ck is the point?," she questioned.

 

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The breakdown to breakthrough moment in my life has allowed me to become the truest version of myself. In my moment of “failure,” I stood in the face of adversity. I was struggling with my body image and the pressures to fulfill the demands of perfectionism upon me. I am not perfect. Through this struggle, however, I found the strength to love myself. I stood in my power. I thought of one of my favorite quotes, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a men’s character, give him power” - Abraham Lincoln. I look back on that moment now, and I embrace it. This feeling I once perceived as “failure” was, in truth, a powerful awakening for me to stand behind my purpose in life. I stepped away from hiding behind a fabricated version of myself. I no longer put actions behind my fears and insecurities. I made a choice to redirect my energy to be a catalyst for change. To create a channel for women to become the truest versions of themselves, along with me. (Stay tuned for more...) In the end, if you aren’t being true to yourself, then what the fuck is the point. #rebelwacause #empowerment #womensempowerment#empoweredbyyou

A post shared by Erin Heatherton (@erinheathertonlegit) on

No stranger to a red carpet and the glitzy Hollywood high life, Heatherton was romantically involved with Leonardo DiCaprio for 10 months in 2012, and wore the coveted VS wings on the catwalk for three years, just two years after starting work with the company.

This week, she filed for bankruptcy, admitting she's unable to keep up with not only her monthly expenses, but staggering legal bills that have accumulated over the years.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Heatherton, 30, listed around $9,000 AUD in total assets, with only $1300 AUD in her checking account.

Her listed assets include (approximately) $1000 in electronics, $1400 for a vintage Japanese jacket, $700 in other apparel, and a $1300 necklace designed by Jennifer Meyer, Toby Maguire’s ex.

As for the monstrous debt - a pile-on of legal fees and unpaid property costs is to blame.

In 2017, Heatherton was sued for a whopping sum of approximately $14 million AUD by her former stylist Clair Byrne, after she allegedly failed to meet the terms of an agreement over a sportswear collection, called RetroActive, they had planned to launch together.

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According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Byrne had been working as Heatherton’s stylist at a discounted rate for roughly nine months. Heatherton wasn’t paying Byrne’s full rate because, according to Byrne, Heatherton had offered her 40 per cent equity in the company.

Byrne asserted that Heatherton said she would fully compensate Byrne for her work should their plans for RetroActive not come to fruition.

Heatherton reportedly never followed through with her promise when the business plans flopped, leading to Byrne initiating legal action for an amount close to $14 million.

Byrne claimed Heatherton pulled out of the project “without warning or justification," after having worn some prototype pieces from the line for her cameo in Zoolander 2.

 

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Derek. So hot right now... ???????????? @zoolander

A post shared by Erin Heatherton (@erinheathertonlegit) on

But this isn't the only legal battle contributing to Heatherton's enormous debt.

In 2016, she was involved in a civil suit reportedly due to causing excessive noise in her New York City apartment.

As reported by Page 6 that year, court papers filed by the board of her apartment in New York's West Village stated she "regularly causes and allows unreasonable levels of noise and bass vibrations to emanate from the unit into the condo's common areas and adjacent units late at night and into the early-morning hours, disturbing the condo's residents and interfering with their ability to use and enjoy their units."

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The civil suit went on to claim the then-27-year-old model owed $16,000 in unpaid rates, and had been issued seven written warnings from the building's board about noise disturbances throughout the year.

When asked about the noise complaints, she reportedly responded, "You can call my publicist."

These days, Heatherton is still modelling, and represented by MP Management, but has admitted in her bankruptcy claim she's made less than $4256 this year.

Heatherton split amicably from Leonardo DiCaprio in 2012 - blaming their "busy schedules".

"He's [DiCaprio] a wonderful person and he's a friend of mine, I wish him all the best," she told Daily Mail Australia in 2015.

Following her break-up with the Oscar winner, she dated Australian musician Felix Bloxsom - a Sydney-born DJ and record producer who works under the name 'Plastic Plates'.

She has most recently been linked to US footballer Jordan Cameron.

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