After two public apologies for ruthlessly bullying people online, Chrissy Teigen isn’t playing nice anymore.
On Friday afternoon, she and her husband John Legend fired back at Project Runway fashion designer Michael Costello, claiming he faked the bullying DMs he said the model and cookbook author had sent him years ago.
Costello came forward earlier in the week with his story of how he was allegedly harassed by Teigen in 2014 after he was accused of using the N-word, saying he had been living with a “deep unhealed trauma.”
The 38-year-old shared screenshots of messages purportedly sent by Teigen where she boldly threatened to ruin his career. “Racist people like you deserve to suffer and die,” the message read. “You might as well be dead. Your career is over, just watch.”
But Teigen and Legend weren’t having it. Legend, who has been quiet for much of the scandal his wife has found herself in, piped up and declared on Twitter, “This exchange was made up, completely fake, never happened.”
“Honestly I don’t know why anyone would fake DMs to insert themselves in this narrative, but that’s what happened,” he added. “I encourage everyone who breathlessly spread this lie to keep that same energy when they correct the record.”
Teigen hit back harder, saying she had “No idea what the fuck Michael Costello is doing,” followed by a lengthy statement and screenshots of friendly social media interactions between the two, which occurred as recently as April 2020.
“When the supposed screenshots from 2014 were originally circulated last week, the name on Chrissy’s account was misspelled,” her statement read, going on to list the additional ways that the DMs couldn’t be real. “Chrissy has every right to correct the record and defend her name. She is not interested in making Mr. Costello the target of harassment or abuse from anyone claiming to support her. She hopes this can be a time of honest reflection and healing.”
Costello has since deleted his initial post with the alleged screenshots between him and Teigen, but maintains the model bullied and blackballed him.
Still, Safely, the new cleaning product company she launched with Kris Jenner announced on Friday that Teigen would be stepping away for “some much needed time to focus on herself and be with her family.”
It’s a strange twist in Teigen’s very public fall from grace. Last month, several of Teigen’s old tweets were dug up where she told former teen bride Courtney Stodden to take “a dirt nap” and mocked Lindsay Lohan’s struggles with self-harming.
“She wouldn’t just publicly tweet about wanting me to take a ‘dirt nap’ but would privately DM me and tell me to kill myself,” Stodden revealed to The Daily Beast. “Things like, ‘I can’t wait for you to die.’”
The backlash came swiftly, and retailers announced they would no longer be selling Teigen’s cookbooks and cookware, prompting Teigen to apologize and note she would be taking some time away.
But Teigen signaled her return on Tuesday in a Medium post, reflecting on the “very humbling past few weeks.” “I was a troll, full stop,” she admitted. “And I am so sorry.”
Her mea culpa garnered some eyerolls, due to her short time away from social media and because she sprinkled jokes throughout the address of serious criticism for her behavior.
Then Costello came forward, as well as Cameroonian singer Dencia, who claimed to The Sun that Teigen had pushed her twice at the 2016 Grammys, allegedly annoyed because she believed Denica’s assistant was filming her.
“I almost fell flat on my face,” Denica claimed. “She's just a mean-spirited human. Everyone who has known me since 2016 knows the story, because since then, I’ve never liked her.”
It’s a sudden about-turn for Teigen, who was previously seen as Twitter's darling, often praised for her “savage clapbacks” to random fans who dared to criticize or comment on her posts, which opened up the person to the wrath of her millions of followers.
While Teigen has attempted to distance herself from her old bullying tweets—painting them as ancient history—she was still up to her old antics as recently as January.
When Twitter user Steph replied to one of Teigen’s tweets, remarking “she’s not that funny,” Teigen went after her. She pettily mocked her use of makeup, zooming in on her profile photo and screenshotting it to critique her looks.
“She spent the better half of the night insulting my looks and zooming into my picture, picking apart my face and use of makeup,” Steph told The Daily Beast.
“Of course, all of her fans/followers followed suit and insulted me regularly for a few weeks. I like to believe I have thick skin, but it was exhausting and mentally draining. I was so surprised that someone could become so incredibly rude and unhinged over being called unfunny.”