Get to know Joaquim Valente.
A Miami-based jiu-jitsu instructor, Joaquim has circulated headlines since February 2022 when Gisele Bündchen shared a video of her session at his academy in Florida, paired with a caption that thanked him and his brothers for being "awesome teachers."
Gisele was first seen with the jiu-jitsu pro in November 2022, when the pair visited Provincia de Puntarenas (a province located on Costa Rica's coast), two weeks after her divorce from NFL star Tom Brady was finalized. They were joined by the supermodel's two children — son Benjamin Rein, 12, and daughter Vivian Lake, 9 — and several other people, including one of the kids' school teachers.
Despite the relationship rumors, a source close to Gisele said they are not an item. "He and his two brothers are Gisele and the kids' martial arts teachers," the source previously told PEOPLE. "They are not dating."
The model first began jiu-jitsu training in December 2021 and earned her Brazilian blue belt within a year. "I'm a very intense person, so when I enjoy something, I am committed," the supermodel said in an interview for Dust Magazine's November 2022 issue.
Since becoming friends, Gisele and Joaquim have been seen out and about together on several occasions, including running together in Costa Rica in January 2023.
The pair were spotted again in March 2023 on a casual stroll with two large dogs. After photographers captured the outing, Gisele posted a cryptic message on Instagram.
"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth," she captioned a selfie.
Later that month, Gisele addressed her relationship with Joaquim in her Vanity Fair cover story.
"I think, at this point, unfortunately, because I'm divorced, I'm sure that they're going to try to attach me to anything," she told the outlet. "He's our teacher and, most importantly, he's a person that I admire and that I trust. It's so good to have that kind of energy, to have my kids around that type of energy."
The jiu-jitsu practice has evolved into a passion for Gisele, one she shares with her kids and masters, the Valente brothers. Here's everything to know about Joaquim.
He's a co-founder of a self-defense academy in Miami
A third-generation practicer of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Joaquim currently teaches the martial arts sport at a Miami-based academy alongside his brothers (and fellow co-founders) Pedro and Gui. The oldest of the siblings, Pedro, began teaching jiu-jitsu classes throughout Miami after his move from Rio de Janeiro in 1993.
Joaquim, the youngest of the brothers, was the last of his siblings to move to Miami. Upon his arrival, his involvement with instruction played a pivotal role in the development of the brothers' curriculum due to the knowledge he gained from the Grandmaster when he was in Brazil.
The brothers offer classes to students of all genders and levels of experience. "The techniques of jujutsu are based on natural movements that can easily be performed by anyone. We currently teach several elderly students as well as students with disabilities," according to the Valente Brothers' website.
He learned jiu-jitsu before he could walk
Similar to his brothers, Joaquim was introduced to jiu-jitsu before he could walk and began lessons at the age of two. He learned from Grandmaster Hélio Gracie, who's considered a legend in the practice and taught three generations in a span of 67 years.
He's also trained in boxing and jūdō
In addition to jiu-jitsu, Joaquim is also trained in boxing and jūdō. He and his brothers were introduced to striking and throwing techniques by experts from a young age, skills that were pivotal for holistic jiu-jitsu training methods, as opposed to strategy taught specifically for tournaments.
He holds a Professor title in jiu-jitsu
Following in his family's footsteps, Joaquim received his black belt and Professors' Diploma from Grandmaster Hélio Gracie in 2007. The honor is significant within the practice, as it denotes an expert level of technical and practical skill. The accomplishment was major for the family, as only 27 people received this diploma from the Grandmaster in 75 years.
He met Gisele Bündchen at the academy through her son
After learning about the academy and Valente brothers through a friend, Gisele sought out the martial arts school for herself — but she credits her pre-teen son (whom she wanted to "steer in the right direction") for introducing her to Joaquim.
During an interview with Dust Magazine, Gisele revealed that she wasn't personally interesting in jiu-jitsu at first. "Initially, I wasn't even considering it for myself," she began. "But when I brought [her son] to the first class and started talking to Joaquim, I realized that it was much more than self defense."
She mentioned that it was the philosophy behind jiu-jitsu that piqued her interest the most. "It felt very much in line with what I believe in and look for in my life, and how I have a path to develop and become the best version of myself."
He earned a degree in criminology
Joaquim moved to Miami in 2007 to study criminology at Barry University where he earned his degree in the field. His eldest brother, Pedro, holds a master's degree in business administration from the University of Miami while his other brother, Gui, holds a master of science in sport management from Barry University's School of Human Performance and Leisure Sciences.