Bar Refaeli Always There for Leonardo DiCaprio (Just Not on the Red Carpet)

03/25/2010 at 11:15 AM EDT

Bar Refaeli Always There for Leonardo DiCaprio (Just Not on the Red Carpet)
Bar Refaeli and Leonardo DiCaprio
Maybe a little time off is all they needed.

Bar Refaeli says that though she went through a "tough time" after splitting up with boyfriend Leonardo DiCaprio for six months, their relationship ultimately emerged stronger.

"It was a half year for which I am very grateful," the Israeli supermodel, 24, tells her country's top-selling L'Isha magazine. "I needed it. I came to understand a lot of things about myself. "

"I worked on myself [and] I grew up," Refaeli says. "I didn't know what 'alone' was like. Today I know that a relationship can work only if you know you can be alone and you are not afraid. Today I’m not afraid of being alone."

She may not be alone – but Refaeli and DiCaprio aren't engaged either.

"I'm not thinking about getting married," she says, laughing off rumors that she was wearing an engagement ring in Berlin over Valentine's Day. "I'm still young, not yet 25."

Refaeli prefers to keep a lower profile – though she is out with DiCaprio much of the time.

"I am there for him and I am at all the events," she says. "I just don't walk in hand-in-hand with him. I don't see any reason. I don't need to strike poses with him in front of the cameras."

That's why they kept their heads down at a recent Orlando Magic-Los Angeles Lakers game. Says Refaeli: "No one needs to know how we kiss."

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