On May 10, 2005, Heidi Klum and Seal (legal name: Henry Samuel) got married on the beach in Mexico in front of 40 of their closest friends and family. The Project Runway host, then 31, and British singer, then 41, then hosted a reception at Seal’s home in nearby Costa Careyes. According to People, Klum wore “a Vera Wang ivory chantilly lace gown with an empire waist,” and the couple served a cake “topped with a miniature Seal in a tux and Klum in a gown.”
Sounds like a nice event. So nice, in fact, that Klum and Seal decided to have another wedding on their anniversary the next year. And then another one. And one after that. For every year of their seven-year marriage, the couple renewed their vows in ceremonies that became increasingly elaborate (and, in most cases, “themed”). If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then it seems Klum and Seal are actually quite stable, because they were just doing this shit for fun.
“We do the ceremony again every year,” Seal told Oprah during a joint interview with Klum in 2006, establishing the idea as a tradition just one year into the marriage. “It just keeps you focused. It reminds you why you got married — not that we need any reminding.”
In 2010, Klum told Redbook, “We love to renew our vows. It’s so special to us, something we love and something our children have gotten accustomed to. It’s like, ‘Hey, Mom and Dad love each other and they get married every year!’”
That year, for the couple’s fifth anniversary, they hosted a vow renewal in Mexico with double the number of guests as their first wedding. According to People, the theme was “brides and grooms.” A source revealed to the tabloid that Klum and Seal “wanted it to feel like a real wedding, but still have a theme.”
During other years, the former Victoria’s Secret Angel and her beloved got funkier with it. In 2009, Klum — then pregnant with the couple’s third child — wore a white lace jumpsuit and what People described as “Bo Derek” braids in her hair, while Seal dressed in an American-flag painted leather jacket and a mullet wig. An Elvis impersonator led the ceremony. It is not clear to me exactly what the couple was going for with this: Some outlets referred to the theme as “retro,” while others said it was “white trash.”
The year before, Klum and Seal participated in a Hindu ceremony, during which Klum wore a traditional red lehenga. This one was also in Mexico, though the couple said they were inspired to execute this particular theme after visiting India together. (A few months after the ceremony, noted costume queen Klum dressed up like the Hindu goddess Kali for Halloween, which proved to be more controversial than the vow renewal. She reposted photos of her costume on Instagram in 2018, saying she intended “the utmost of respect.”)
The vow-renewal tradition ended, like so much else, at Mar-a-Lago. In 2011, Klum and Seal put on their final wedding together at Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida — according to the Daily Mail, they had wanted to return to Mexico again but changed plans due to “drug violence.” The theme was “masquerade.”
A source told the New York Daily News at the time that Trump “was happy to put out the welcome mat for them, even though he had another commitment that kept him from attending.”
Eight months later, Klum and Seal announced in a joint statement that they were splitting up. “While we enjoyed seven very loving, loyal and happy years of marriage, after much soul-searching, we have decided to separate,” they said. Klum ultimately filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences, and Seal accused Klum of hooking up with her bodyguard during an on-the-street interview with TMZ. (He memorably claimed Klum was “fornicating with the help.”)
In 2015, Seal looked back on the years of renewing his marriage vows with a certain amount of regret. “It kind of turned into a little bit of a circus, which I wasn't terribly fond of," he said in a radio interview with Andy Cohen. "Because I'm, you know, by default, I'm quite a private person.” (Okay.)
For her part, Klum said this summer that during those celebratory seven years, she was just doing her best. "I think I got married eight times to Seal," she said in an interview with the Times of London. "I thought it would be kind of, like, fun. I thought it would be a fest of love. But you know, that doesn't work either. I tried, you can't say I didn't try!"
No one’s saying that.
“Remember When?” is a series in which we remember things long forgotten. Previously: “Remember When 38-Year-Old Gavin Newsom Dated a Republican Teen?”