German model Heidi Klum began dating Flavio Briatore in March 2003. At the time, Flavio was managing Renault’s Formula One team, and Heidi was fresh from her divorce from Ric Pipino after five years of marriage.
In December, Heidi announced her first pregnancy, but very quickly after that, she and Flavio split up! But Heidi once again mounted the dating horse quickly and started a relationship with musician Seal, that following February.
In May 2004 Heidi gave birth to Helene (Leni) Klum in New York City. At the birth, it wasn’t Helene’s father who was present—it was Seal! From the getgo, Seal was ALWAYS Leni’s father. But the three adults actually have a great relationship, and Seal even praised Flavio for being “a gentleman about the whole thing.”
In 2009, both Heidi and Helene officially took Seal’s last name of Samuel. For Heidi, it was a matter of changing her legal name. For Leni, becoming Helene Samuel meant she was OFFICIALLY adopted as Seal’s daughter. “It doesn’t make [Leni] any more of less my daughter. She always has been,” Seal told People magazine.
“All it means is that both Heidi and I wanted her to have the same last name as the rest of us…It was about Leni.” By this time, Heidi and Seal had welcomed sons Henry and Johan, and daughter Lou.
They seemed to be the PERFECT blended family—a picture of maturity and cooperation among parents, until the bombshell in 2012 when Heidi filed for divorce from Seal. This was a shock as the couple had thrown elaborate, and often themed, vow renewal parties EVERY YEAR. They would even sneak away from the party, bringing the kids, in order to read their vows to each other privately and share a special family moment.
Three years later the divorce was finalized. Now that Leni is twelve, and the only father she’s ever known is officially divorced from her mother, what will life be like?
Leni’s biological father Flavio recently spoke to Italian magazine Il Corriere della Sera, and it’s VERY clear that Flavio will not be lending Leni any comfort! “Leni is my natural daughter, but the three of us happily agreed that it made more sense if Seal adopted her, because a child needs to grow up in a family.”
And it seems it was not a difficult decision for Flavio at all! “It’s hard to miss a baby that you never see. But I know that Leni is not an abandoned child. Leni is part of Seal’s family and Nathan is part of mine.” In 2008, when Leni was 4, Flavio married Elisabetta Gregoraci. The two welcomed son Falco Nathan in 2010.
Flavio even revealed that he USED TO speak to Leni for 2 hours on the phone every day, “but it wasn’t enough.” So he simply…let her go.