Cindy Crawford Addresses Viral Unretouched Photo: “It Was Stolen and Malicious”

Cindy Crawford attends the premiere of "Return To Zero"
Cindy Crawford attends the premiere of "Return To Zero" Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Take that, haters! Cindy Crawford is finally addressing a supposedly unretouched photo of her that went viral this past February and what she has to say isn't pretty.

In the photo, allegedly an un-Photoshopped image from an old Marie Claire spread published a year prior, the model and mom of two posed in a dramatic black hat and lingerie. "I felt that [the journalist (from UK-based ITV News) who exposed the picture] was inauthentic because she acted like this was great but she didn't check if I wanted this out or if it was a real picture," Crawford told Elle Canada in the September issue. 

The perceived flaws of the photo went viral for a mostly positive reason, but that didn't mean that Crawford, 49, felt great about the shot. "Why would seeing a bad picture of me make other people feel good? I felt blindsided. I was very conflicted, to be honest," she said. "I know my body, and I know it's not perfect, but maybe I have a false body image; maybe I think I look better than I do… [Most women] think we look worse than we do. So I assumed I fell into that category, even though that picture didn't reflect what I saw when I looked in the mirror—even in the worst dressing-room lighting."

Behind the scenes, she contacted the shoot's photographer to get the real story. "He was very upset because he didn't put it out there. He said, 'Cindy, I'm going to send you the real one and it's nothing like that. It's clear that someone manipulated that image to make whatever was there worse,'" she said. "It was stolen and it was malicious, but there was so much positive reaction [to the image]… Somehow seeing a picture of me was like seeing a chink in the armor," she said. 

Crawford admits her six-month long silence stemmed from being caught between the truth and the uplifting response to the fake pic. "I don't try to present myself as perfect. It put me in a tough spot: I couldn't come out against it because I'm rejecting all these people who felt good about it, but I also didn't embrace it because it wasn't real—and even if it were real, I wouldn't have wanted it out there," she told the mag. "I felt really manipulated and conflicted, so I kept my mouth shut."

What do you think of Cindy's response to the viral image? Tweet with @UsWeekly using the hashtag #stylebyUs!

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