Viewers of “The Voice” will see a surprising new commercial this Tuesday.
John Legend — one of the judges on the NBC competition show — will appear in a spot for vacation-rental site Vrbo, along with his wife, Chrissy Teigen, their two young children, and Teigen’s mother Vilailuck “Pepper” Teigen.
It should have been a clever piece of cross-promotion. Instead, Teigen is embroiled in a scandal that is casting a dark shadow over her career — not to mention the business deals she shares with Legend and even her mother, who has benefited from Teigen’s fame with a newly released cookbook of her own.
Teigen has been exposed for sending shockingly cruel messages to other women on social media, telling TV personality Courtney Stodden in 2011 to “Go. To sleep. Forever.” and mocking Lindsay Lohan, who has admitted to cutting herself in the past, by tweeting that same year: “Lindsay adds a few more slits to her wrists when she sees Emma Stone.” In 2013, Teigen publicly called “Teen Mom” star Farrah Abraham “a whore.”
The revelation of these long-forgotten messages led to her Cravings cookware line — which Teigen tirelessly promoted to her 13.6 million followers on Twitter and 34.8 million followers on Instagram — being pulled from Macy’s. Although it was previously reported that Target had also dropped Teigen, a rep for the store said: “We made the mutual decision in December to no longer carry the cookware line.” Macy’s has not confirmed if the line is shelved for good.
Teigen is now holed up with her family at their Los Angeles home and a source who knows her told The Post: “She’s so raw and vulnerable … I don’t know if she can come back to social media.”
The Teigen source admitted that the store brands had their hands forced to sever their relationships with the model after being bombarded by customer complaints on social media. “As you can imagine, last week was wild,” the source said. “When people start going after brands, whether warranted or not, it creates a mess for the brands to deal with.”
Page Six reported that Bloomingdale’s was hours away from signing a contract with Teigen to host a promotional event for the store, but pulled the plug on Monday.
Although a source with knowledge of the Vrbo partnership told The Post there were “no issues” and the deal is “moving forward as planned,” branding expert Mark Borkowski isn’t so sure Teigen will be forgiven by her fans or the people who hired her. (Vrbo did not respond to requests for comment.)
“No one tolerates the idea of a bully. Within the business values of many of these brands it causes problems,” Borkowski said. “It’s all about authenticity. If you’re found out not to be what you [claim] to be, that always leads to an Icarus moment and everything comes crashing down. One day you’re hot and the next day you’re canceled due to stupidity, arrogance or ego.
“America is the worst place to be shamed — and the first people to jump ship are agents [who arrange deals], if they don’t see money in you.”
Stodden, who first came into the public eye in 2011 as a 16-year-old wed to 51-year-old actor Doug Hutchinson, brought the scandal to light on May 10 in an interview with the Daily Beast.
“She wouldn’t just publicly tweet about wanting me to take ‘a dirt nap’ but would privately DM me and tell me to kill myself,” said Stodden. “Things like, ‘I can’t wait for you to die.’”
In March Stodden, now 26, also posted a video to Instagram in which 2011 tweets from Teigen were revealed that ranged from “I hate you” to “my Friday fantasy: you. Dirt nap.”
And while Teigen is known for her sparky humor, it didn’t jibe with the image on which she has built her brand — as a loving mom and wife, and a champion of women. The 35-year-old model has made it her deal to be open and honest about everything, from getting sober to the tragic stillbirth of her baby son Jack at 20 weeks into her pregnancy, even publishing a series of raw photos from her hospital room in September 2020.
It’s all helped her build a huge social media following and, it turns out, some of those followers are just as vicious as she has been.
As The Post previously reported, retired military nurse and self-confessed social-media troll Kari Rhyan found herself in a Twitter war with Teigen in 2019 after commenting “You are waaaaaay overrated” to the star — and while that wasn’t so nice in itself, Rhyan was still shocked to be bombarded with messages from Teigen’s followers saying they wished she were dead.
When she read about what Teigen had said to Stodden, Rhyan said, “What has to happen to someone to get them to a place where they’d tell a 16-year-old to kill themselves? I don’t know if mean is just her baseline, or if she went through some tough stuff that got her to that point.”
Meanwhile, former Us Weekly reporter Jon Warech, who was let go from the publication after an online spat with Teigen, said: “Celebrities like Teigen don’t realize the power of their words on social media.
“She and plenty of others don’t think about the person on the other end. They think about the likes or comments and don’t realize there are real people that their words affect. They get mass approval and have zero regard for the damage being done,” Warech said.
Teigen attacked him after a red carpet interview ended up with the headline “Chrissy Teigen: We’re hiring a night nurse for baby.”
When she accused him of trying to make her “look like a poor, uncaring mother and getpeople talking,” Warech told her that he didn’t write the headlines and forwarded her a screenshot of the quotes he had sent to an Us Weekly editor. He was soon given his marching orders.
“I was on a freelance salary, getting paid per event, trying to make rent,” Warech said: “She carried on the next day and probably didn’t remember any of it.”
After Stodden’s revelation, Teigen tweeted: “Not a lot of people are lucky enough to be held accountable for all their past bulls–t in front of the entire world. I’m mortified and sad at who I used to be. I was an insecure, attention seeking troll … I’m so sorry, Courtney … ”
Stodden accepted the apology and forgave Teigen on Instagram, but added: “I have never heard from her or her camp in private. In fact, she blocked me on Twitter.”
“All of me wants to believe this is a sincere apology,” Stodden posted, “but it feels like a public attempt to save her partnerships with Target and other brands who are realizing her ‘wokeness’ is a broken record.”
Teigen’s parents, American electrician, Ron, and Pepper, met in Pepper’s home country of Thailand. They moved to Utah, where Teigen was born, then later to Snohomish, Wash., where they operated a tavern called Porky’s.
As a teen, Teigen began modeling, eventually posing for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and working as a “briefcase girl” — just like Meghan Markle — on the game show “Deal or No Deal.”
She met Legend on the set of his “Stereo” music video in 2007, and they married six years later, then had daughter Luna, now five, and son Miles, who just turned three this week.
Ron and Pepper are now divorced and Pepper lives in style with her daughter and son-in-law. She’s said to often cook dinner for the family, and Pepper’s frequent appearances on Teigen’s Instagram — not to mention on the model’s show, “Chrissy’s Court,” on the short-lived Quibi platform — led to her getting her own cookbook deal and appearances on network morning shows. She even appeared with Teigen on a cover of People’s “Beautiful Issue.”
Teigen and Legend have also built a brand as a beloved family unit, with her making cameos on “The Voice” and the two of them sharing a Christmas special on NBC in 2018. She has co-starred in his music videos and, last year, appeared clad in a towel atop his piano as Legend played a live stream concert to raise funds for charity.
A senior producer within NBC Universal entertainment told The Post that Teigen’s issues would not affect Legend, adding: “NBC loves and supports John. It is a separate relationship. I feel bad for Chrissy — what a mess.”
But Borkowski noted that a scandal like Teigen’s “can create huge issues, even beyond shared deals, as it sucks in the family.”
However, he added, “Anyone has the ability to have a second chance … if they handle it right.”
Careers, business deals and, of course, Chrissy’s reputation all hang in the balance.
As the source who knows Teigen said: “Look, it’s not Chrissy’s finest moment. All she can do is try and make amends now.”