The 65-year-old Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, who is on Social Life’s latest cover, told the outlet she and the celebrated singer/songwriter, 70, kept close through music after the marriage came to an end.
The couple tied the knot in 1985 but called it quits in 1994. They share a daughter, fellow singer/songwriter Alexa Ray Joel.
“Many years after our divorce, Billy would still come to my house for the Christmas singalong and play the piano, and all of our friends would come over and sing Christmas carols,” Brinkley told the outlet. “Singalongs are one of my favorite things to do. And you know that’s what makes everybody happy.”
But Christmas wasn’t always about hitting notes in Brinkley’s home — the gifts received were also just as unforgettable.
“When I was married to Billy, one Christmas morning I awoke to find a white horse with a red ribbon waiting for me on the lawn,” said Brinkley. “And it was the first horse of my very own. Belle Star was her name, and I absolutely loved having a horse that I got to know on a deep level. I knew everything about her: what she was afraid of, what she liked. I would groom her myself, and I just loved that.”
Brinkley added she still loves horses and is a fan of polo, a popular activity in the Hamptons, where she currently resides.
“I think it’s amazing to see the horses and the riders galloping around,” Brinkley explained. “They are so passionate, and I love activities that bring people together, especially when it brings people outside. Polo is a beautiful combination of these two things. Being outside, watching horses, enjoying the summer day, and being part of a tradition are things I enjoy.”
Music still plays an essential role in Brinkley’s life. In fact, she said it is something she and her daughter Alexa, 33, bond over.
“Alexa loves to do harmony,” said Brinkley. “She has me do the soprano part and then she does all the harmony around it. The harmony part is the most difficult. And of course, I love it because she does all the work and makes me sound good!”
Brinkley is constantly praised for her seemingly ageless appearance. Back in February, Brinkley told Fox News that age is nothing more than a number.
“I think that the number really doesn’t represent the modern woman today,” she explained at the time. “In the olden days, the numbers came with so many rules and so much weight on a woman. There were so many restrictions associated with certain numbers. Like after 30 you can’t wear your skirt above your knee. After 40 you shouldn’t wear your hair below your shoulders.”
“Nowadays, women are totally reshaping the numbers and giving those numbers a new image,” Brinkley continued. “To me, to be turning 65, it really could be any number. The only thing is that once you pass 50, every birthday is an opportunity to take stock and say, ‘What else do I want to do?’ And then go for it!'"
Brinkley, who isn’t afraid to rock a bikini on social media, also gave insight on how she stays in swimsuit-ready shape all year long.
“I’ve always loved sports and doing things outdoors,” said Brinkley. “Whether it’s running around the tennis court, standup paddle boarding, skiing, kayaking, cycling, mountain trails — I just love being active and doing things. It’s just so important to keep moving every day, especially at my age now. My enemy is sitting. It’s a big mistake for people to think they need to sit it out. That’s the worst thing you can do. You gotta get yourself to a physical therapist, figure out what’s causing those aches and pains, strengthen your muscles and keep going.”
The star also revealed she’s a passionate vegetarian who prefers clean eating to both look and feel good.
“I’m a lifelong vegetarian and I’m always seeking out my fruits and vegetables,” added Brinkley. “I always make sure my fruits, vegetables and grains are all organic. We live in a world that’s so full of chemicals. … We need to clean up our bodies and our environment. One of the best ways is to insist on everything being organic because mankind just cannot take these chemicals anymore. … Diseases are running rampant and this is something we all need to insist on. The prices will go down as more and more people demand organic.”
But if there’s one beauty lesson Brinkley would give to her younger self it’s to be mindful of the sun.
“Seriously, I would have taken better care of my skin from the sun,” said Brinkley. “Because boy, I grew up on the beach in Malibu. I was always as tan as could be. And then I got a job where they would hand me a bikini and say, ‘Go get a tan!’ I would be all too happy to do it. I would be on the beaches all over the world, on the strongest sun.
“I would have been much more careful about the sun. My mom was always worried about the very end of our nose. Like, she would put that dab of zinc oxide on our nose and go, ‘You’re safe, go on and play!’ Like only the nose that sticks out is the thing that’s gonna get burned! Back then, the rest of it was healthy for us. Like, go get a healthy tan. If we didn’t feel well, my mom would say, ‘Go sit in the sun. It will bake it out of you.’ But we didn’t know!”
The July 4 issue of Social Life magazine hits newsstands on Friday, June 28.