Linda Evangelista's coolsculpting treatment left her 'disfigured' and a 'recluse' for over 5 years

As a result, the supermodel is now filing a lawsuit against Zeltiq Aesthetics

Model Linda Evangelista attends 2015 Fragrance Foundation Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 17, 2015 in New York City.
(Image credit: Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)

Supermodel Linda Evangelista is finally speaking up after staying out of the public eye for over five years.

In the 90's she was considered one of the most sought out supermodels, but around five years ago she vanished from public view. That is until now. The 56-year-old shared with her Instagram followers the story as to why she suddenly became a "recluse," and it's heartbreaking. 

After undergoing Coolsculpting, which is an aesthetic treatment that targets fat cells, she was left "deformed" and severely depressed.

What happened to Linda Evangelista?

Linda Evangelista attends the 2013 CFDA Fashion Awards on June 3, 2013 in New York, United States.

(Image credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Typically, Coolsculpting procedures are considered a safe way to shrink fat cells, but for Linda, it turned into a worst-case scenario. Rather than stay silent, she's decided to share with her followers what caused her sudden disappearance.

She explained that around five years ago she underwent a CoolSculpting fat-reduction procedure that left her "permanently deformed." As a result, she has filed a lawsuit against the parent company of the brand, Zeltiq Aesthetics. Her sudden revelation has us now questioning, does Coolsculpting work?

"Today I took a big step towards righting a wrong that I have suffered and have kept to myself for over five years," she said in her statement. "To my followers who have wondered why I have not been working while my peers' careers have been thriving, the reason is that I was brutally disfigured by Zeltiq's CoolSculpting procedure which did the opposite of what it promised."

Zeltiq Aesthetics has not yet responded to woman&home for comment.


Linda claims that the procedure allegedly caused her to develop a rare side effect called Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH)—something she claims she was not made aware of before undergoing treatment. She has since attempted several corrective reconstructive surgeries but both were unsuccessful. Instead, she states that she's "been left, as the media has described, 'unrecognizable.'"

What is Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia?

Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia is a rare side-effect that affects less than one percent of patients and can occur after Coolsculpting procedures. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons describes it as "an unexpected increase in the number of fat cells." Meaning, instead of fat cells becoming smaller, they actually increase in size, which can leave people with skin "surface irregularities and asymmetry," the website stated. It's also usually more common in men rather than women.

Why has Linda Evangelista stayed out of the public eye?

Linda Evangelista attends the celebration of CHANEL FINE JEWELRY'S 80th anniversary of the "Bijoux De Diamants" collection created by Gabrielle Chanel on October 9, 2012 in New York City.

(Image credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Chanel)

The negative results she claims were caused by the procedure have affected her mental health to a point of "self-loathing." This pushed Linda to become a "recluse" and avoid going out in public.

"PAH has not only destroyed my livelihood, it has sent me into a cycle of deep depression, profound sadness, and the lowest depths of self-loathing," she said in her statement.

Now, the supermodel has filed a lawsuit against the aesthetics brand for close to $50 million for alleged severe and permanent personal injuries.

Rylee Johnston
Rylee Johnston

Rylee is a U.S. news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life who primarily covers lifestyle, celebrity, and fashion news. At times, she also reports on beauty, royals, entertainment, health, and travel. The latest fashion and beauty trends, along with any quirky travel destinations are her favorite topics to write about. 


Before coming to woman&home and My Imperfect Life, Rylee originally studied journalism at Hofstra University where she explored her interests in world politics and magazine writing. From there, she dabbled in freelance writing covering fashion and beauty e-commerce for outlets such as the TODAY show, American Spa Magazine, First for Women, and Woman’s World.


When she’s not writing articles, you can find her testing out one of the many restaurants New York City has to offer and planning her next travel destination. Her other hobbies also include hiking, ballet, yoga, and reading practically any book TikTok recommends.