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Cindy Crawford Candidly Details ‘Survivor Guilt’ After Brother’s Death: ‘It Should’ve Been One of Us’

Cindy Crawford has opened up about the “survivor guilt” she experienced after her brother passed away from leukemia at 3 years old.

Candidly detailing her childhood memories on the Saturday, May 11, episode of the “Kelly Corrigan Wonders” podcast, the supermodel, 58, spoke of her inner turmoil.

Cindy, who is one of four siblings including sisters Chris and Danielle, discussed her father John Crawford’s long standing hopes to have a boy prior to the arrival of Cindy’s late brother Jeffrey.

“My dad wanted a boy, so the fourth was the boy and I think that there was a lot of guilt,” Cindy told hosts Kelly Corrigan and Christy Turlington Burns, in reference to Jeffrey’s tragic passing. “There’s like that survivor guilt of the other kids and especially because we knew that my dad really wanted a boy. We felt like ‘Well it should’ve been one of us’.

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Cindy, who is married to Rande Gerber, continued, “It was so weird, like for years, my sisters and I would all have these same nightmares, that it should’ve been one of us.”

GettyImages-1796005777Cindy Crawford at 74th National Book Awards
Cindy Crawford Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Mother to daughter Kaia Gerber and son Presley Gerber, Cindy detailed how undertaking recent therapy had pushed her to reflect on the raw feelings she had neglected.

“Just recently, I was doing some coaching through COVID. I actually had time to do real work, and I realized that one of the questions the coach asked me was something like, ‘What did you need to hear at that time that you didn’t hear?’ and I realized,” she said. “And my mom wouldn’t have known to say this, she was 26 years old and had just lost a child, but I needed to hear, ‘Yes, we’re so sad that Jeff has died, but we’re so happy you are here.”

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One of the world’s original fashion icons, Cindy went on to detail how death, at the time, was treated very differently to how it’s treated today. “I remember when I went back to school after my brother died, not one person said one thing to me, no kidding, except for one kid who was like, ‘I saw in the paper your brother’s dead. Is that true?” she said.

“I was like, ‘Whoa.’ It was so in your face, but he didn’t know what to say. We were in third grade.”

She added that experiencing a lack of open discussion at the time has played a role in her own parenting style. “Modeling for our children, those skills of not being afraid … sometimes that opens the door.”

Cindy was 8 when Jeffrey was first diagnosed with leukemia, while her brother was 2.

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