“I started MODELING at 14 and would TURN up for a JOB and they’d say ‘she’s too fat’”
modeled at 14, co-hosted controversial TV show The Word at 17, became a tabloid target, dated Keanu Reeves, married Duran Duran's John Taylor in 1991, aged 19, had a daughter (Atlanta, now 21, a model and DJ), got sick of the attention, decamped with Taylor and Atlanta to Los Angeles in 1993 (where she still lives), got divorced in 1997, and carved out a new career as a photographer.
"I was headed down a destructive path," says de Cadenet in her transatlantic voice. When her parents – 1970s racing driver Alain and former model Anna – divorced, de Cadenet went off the rails. "When I started modeling, I would turn up for a job and they'd say 'she's too fat', and fire me," she says. "I was in a lot of pain and my parents didn't give me the tools to manage what I was going through." Lonely, angry and lost, she was drinking too much. Her behavior was so extreme that she was carted off to a children's home, aged 15, for seven months because her mother found her unmanageable. De Cadenet claims that being in
care saved her. "Whatever stops you in your tracks is a good thing," she says.
De Cadenet left the home at 16, and soon after caught the eye of television producers, who offered her the chance to present the outrageous show The Word. But inwardly she was struggling with body issues. "At my thinnest, I was also at my unhappiest. People would say, 'You look amazing', and I'd think, 'Wow, I'm dying inside but because I'm a size 2, you think I'm doing great.'" Her attitude towards her body
De Cadenet with her first husband, Duran Duran's John Taylor, in 1990
With husband Nick Valensi, The Strokes' guitarist, at a gallery opening in 2005; with Gwyneth Paltrow, in 2012 (left)
Sweater and tights by Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimanecredits
Photographs: Alpha Press, Getty Images