Cindy Crawford’s Unretouched Bikini Photo Leaked For ‘Marie Claire’? Singer Responds To Controversy

Cindy Crawford has finally responded to the Marie Claire unretouched bikini photo that was leaked last year.

The photo, taken by photographer John Russo, was allegedly stolen and “significantly altered” before becoming a viral sensation.

During a recent interview with Elle Canada, the supermodel opened up about the unretouched photo, calling it “malicious.” She said she had originally stayed mum on the subject because she had received such an overwhelming amount of support from people who saw the photo. She said she felt really “manipulated and conflicted” about the whole situation, so she decided to simply keep her mouth shut.

“It was stolen and it was malicious, but there was so much positive reaction [to the image],” Crawford told the magazine of the Marie Claire photo. “Sometimes, the images that women see in magazines make them feel inferior—even though the intention is never to make anyone feel less. So somehow seeing a picture of me was like seeing a chink in the armour.”

Whether it was real or not isn’t relevant, although it’s relevant to me. I don’t try to present myself as perfect. It put me in a tough spot: I couldn’t come out against it because I’m rejecting all these people who felt good about it, but I also didn’t embrace it because it wasn’t real—and even if it were real, I wouldn’t have wanted it out there. I felt really manipulated and conflicted, so I kept my mouth shut.”

The 49-year-old mother of two also said she didn’t understand why the leaked photo was so popular. She questioned why anyone would want to see a “bad” photo of her, and why that photo would make them feel good.

“Why would seeing a bad picture of me make other people feel good? I felt blindsided,” Cindy said. “I was very conflicted, to be honest. The story had run a year and a half before, and the picture of me in that outfit was from the bust up. I know my body, and I know it’s not perfect, but maybe I have a false body image; maybe I think I look better than I do.”

After the photo was leaked, Russo issued a statement to ABC News explaining that it had been “stolen or unlawfully accessed and then altered and distributed to the media.”

“It has been falsely claimed that this photograph represents an un-retouched image of Cindy Crawford. This is not true,” Russo said at the time, according to Entertainment Tonight, reported via MSN. “It is a fraudulent altered version of my photograph. I am grateful that this fact has been brought to the public’s attention and that corrections are being run in the media.”

However, Marie Claire issued their own statement, saying that the photo was legitimate and describing it as “honest” and “gorgeous.”

“No matter where the photo came from, it’s an enlightenment — we’ve always known Crawford was beautiful, but seeing her like this only makes us love her more,” said a statement from the magazine. “[The photo] is real, it is honest, and it is gorgeous.”

[Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images]