Bar Refaeli is an Israeli model, known for her modeling work and for her relationship with American actor Leonardo DiCaprio. She is the cover model of the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Bar Refaeli was born in 1985 into a Jewish Israeli family in Hod HaSharon, Israel. Her parents, Tzipi and Rafael, own a horse ranch. Her mother was a successful model herself in the late 1970s, under the name Tzipi Levine. Refaeli has three younger brothers. She began a modeling career at the age of eight months, appearing in commercials. She had to wear braces in her early years, postponing her modeling. At age 15, Refaeli returned to modeling with the representation of Irene Marie Models.
Refaeli began her modeling career before the age of 8 months for a baby commercial. By age 15, she was featured in campaigns for the fashion brands Castro and Pilpel, also starring in a commercial for Milki. Refaeli won the title "Model of The Year" in a beauty contest in 2000 and 2001. She was also chosen to be the home model of Renuar fashion network and appeared in their summer 2002 and winter 2003 catalogues.
Refaeli appeared in ELLE (France), Maxim, and GQ (Italy). She debuted in the 2007 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, becoming the first Israeli model to appear in the magazine. In the issue, she posed with rock band Aerosmith.
She has been the spokesperson for fashion brand Luisa Cerano. She has modeled for Subaru, Accessorize, Brazilian clothing line, Besni, and Italian jewelry line Marco Bicego. She is signed to Storm Model Management in London, and 1/One Management in New York City.
In 2008, Refaeli has become the face of clothing line Hurley, and the new Diddy cologne, "I Am King.
On February 9, 2009, it was announced that Refaeli is the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model. A photo from the shoot, featuring a bikini-clad Refaeli, was also painted on the side of a Boeing 737 in a promotional deal with Southwest Airlines, leading many passengers to criticize Southwest for using an image they regarded as inappropriately sexual and "offensive to families".
Refaeli co-starred the Israeli TV series Pick Up in 2005. In October 2008, she co-hosted the Bravo special program Tommy Hilfiger Presents Ironic Iconic America, based on the book Ironic Iconic America written by George Lois. She returned as a program host in 2009, this time for MTV's brief revival of House of Style.
In 2009, she will star in an English-language film, Session, directed by Israeli Haim Bouzaglo. The film is a psychological thriller that tells the story of a manipulative psychiatrist, Josh Tellman, who becomes obsessed with a new young patient named "Jibbs."
Refaeli volunteers for Project Sunshine, a non-profit organization providing free services and programs for children facing life-threatening illnesses. She has also volunteered for organization Ahava, which has been caring for pets abandoned in Northern Israel during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.
Bar Rafaeli and film director Shahar Segal have agreed to do a gratis campaign under the slogan "One Bag Less" to reduce the use of plastic bags.
On March 5, 2009, Refaeli was awarded in the "World Style" category at the Women's World Awards, an event honouring women for achievements in various fields and for contributions to furthering the elimination of discrimination of women.
Previously linked to Baywatch actor David Charvet and Uri El-Natan, Rafaeli began a relationship with American actor Leonardo DiCaprio in November 2005 after meeting him at a Las Vegas party thrown for members of U2. In the course of their trip to Israel in March 2007, the couple met with Israeli president Shimon Peres and visited Refaeli's hometown of Hod HaSharon.
In 2007, a controversy arose when it became widely known that Refaeli had married a family acquaintance and divorced him soon after, thereby avoiding military service in the Israel Defense Forces, which is mandatory for both men and women over the age of 18, with certain exemptions. As a result of the adverse publicity, the Israeli Forum for the Promotion of Equal Share in the Burden threatened to boycott the fashion chain Fox if they hired Refaeli, but the two sides reached a compromise in which the model agreed to visit injured IDF soldiers on visits to Israel and encourage enlistment in the army.