But when she was first starting out, Bündchen, 35, says she was a bit of a loner.
"I never enjoyed partying much and rarely went out, so I wasn't the most popular girl," Bündchen tells PEOPLE in its new issue, on stands Friday.
"I had very few friends but the ones I had were so supportive and loyal. We were all young and from different parts of the world trying to make it in the big city. Since none of us had much money at the time we would meet at each other's houses for dinner, order cheap food, and split the bill. They became my family away from home and to this day they are dear friends."
Courtesy Gisele Bundchen
Mark Seelen / Taschen
"When I did shows and designers would give me clothes, bags and shoes, I would always share with them," she says. "We shared our entire life and I wasn't stopping now."
Once she landed her high-profile Victoria's Secret contract in 2000, and began racking up jobs (which would eventually make her the world's highest paid supermodel), "For years of my life I didn't know what a weekend was, I was moving so fast," Bündchen says.
"I am grateful that I always had my family to keep me grounded."