Linda Evangelista says she's stayed out of the spotlight after a popular cosmetic procedure left her "permanently deformed" and "unrecognizable" ... but she's hiding no more.
The supermodel is finally sounding off about her ordeal and, in part, explaining why her career has stalled all these years while her peers have been thriving.
Linda, one of the hottest supermodels in the '90s who graced Vogue covers, says around 5 years ago she underwent a fat-reduction procedure called CoolSculpting -- no doubt, you've seen and heard the ads.
But, Linda claims instead of freezing fat cells, the procedure did the exact opposite.
She claims the procedure left her "brutally disfigured" and increased, not decreased her fat cells ... and left her "permanently deformed even after undergoing two painful, unsuccessful, corrective surgeries."
Linda added, "I have been left, as the media has described, ‘unrecognizable.'"
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Linda says she then developed Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia or PAH ... when fat cells grow larger rather than smaller. It's a rare but serious side effect that mostly happens to men.
Linda says she was NOT made aware of this risk before undergoing the procedure. She says PAH "has not only destroyed my livelihood, it has sent me into a cycle of deep depression, profound sadness, and the lowest depths of self-loathing."
She's not only speaking out on social media, Linda filed a federal lawsuit this week against Zeltiq Aesthetics, the company she says created, marketed and distributed the CoolSculpting system. She's seeking no less than $50 million.
Linda says she's tired of hiding and wants to "walk out of my door with my head held high, despite not looking like myself any longer."