Model Linda Evangelista shared her pain of being “permanently deformed” by a cosmetic procedure.
The 56-year-old, who was one of the most famous models of the 1990s, said she developed paradoxical fat hyperplasia (PAH) following fat freezing treatment five years ago .
She added that a rare unwanted side effect of fatty tissue growth instead of shrinkage in response to treatment had “destroyed my livelihood.”
The runway model also explained how she fell into “a cycle of deep depression”, which led to her becoming a recluse.
Evangelista wrote in a statement on Instagram: “Today I took a big step towards righting a wrong that I suffered and that I have kept to myself for over five years.
“I remained, as the media described it, ‘unrecognizable’.
“I developed paradoxical fat hyperplasia or PAH, a risk that I was not aware of before undergoing the procedures.
“PAH not only destroyed my livelihood, it put me in a cycle of deep depression, deep sadness and lower levels of self-loathing.
“In the process, I became a recluse.”
Evangelista went on to suggest that she take legal action adding, “With this lawsuit, I am moving forward to get rid of my shame and make my story public.
“I’m so tired of living this way. I would like to walk out of my door with my head held high, even though I don’t look like myself anymore.”
Evangelista started modeling at the age of 16 after being spotted by a representative from Elite Model Management while entering the Miss Teen Niagara beauty pageant.
In its heyday, Evangelista was regularly featured on catwalks and magazine covers, as well as in numerous advertising campaigns.
She also appeared alongside Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington in the famous music video for George Michael’s Freedom! 90.
Her fellow models have left messages of support under her post.
Campbell wrote: “Elos I congratulate you on your courage and strength in sharing your experience and no longer being hostage to it… you know I love you…”
Crawford added: “Linda – your strength and true essence are forever recognizable and iconic! Well done!”
And Helena Christensen praised her friend for her “courage and strength”.
She said: “It would have taken tremendous courage and strength to write these words. I can honestly say that I burst into tears while reading this…
“It’s so important and beautiful when someone comes out of the shadows and is brutally honest and real. Thank you for being beautiful inside and out.”
Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow also showed her support by commenting with a heart-shaped emoji.