Michael John Bergin (born March 19, 1969 in Waterbury, Connecticut of Irish Catholic extraction). He is considered to have been one of the first males to have acheived the supermodel status, previously reserved for women such as Cindy Crawford and Iman.
Bergin attended the University of Connecticut and is perhaps best known as Mark Wahlberg's successor in Calvin Klein's racy series of black and white underwear ads. His 6" 1' frame and washboard abs (widely cited as his professional signature) gained international exposure in print ads and, notably, on a 96' X 70' billboard in New York City's Times Square.
In addition to his high-profile role as the “spokesbody” for Calvin Klein, Bergin has walked the runways of New York City, Paris and Milan for Sonia Rykiel, Valentino, Calvin Klein, Gianfranco Ferre, Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint-Laurent and Donna Karan and was the exclusive model for Claiborne for Men, a division of Liz Claiborne, Inc., for over three years. He has also appeared in commercials and print advertisements for Kellogg's, Bacardi Rum, L'Oreal, Maybelline, Coty, Valentino, Perry Ellis, and Liz Claiborne.
Branching out into acting and television presenting, Michael’s career has been more it and miss. Bergin was a correspondent for the E! Entertainment channel, VH1 Latin America's House of Style, the co-host of MTV exercise show The Daily Burn, and as a recurring character on the prime-time soap opera Central Park West. As a contracted 'star', Michael spent nearly 4 years on the syndicated Baywatch and Baywatch Hawaii and starred as villain "Nick Bozman", on the NBC supernatural soap opera Passions. In unusual variety for a model-turned-actor, Bergin worked for art-house legends Merchant Ivory in the 1998 film The Proprietor, played a closeted gay action film star opposite Dean Cain in 2000’s The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy, and guest-starred as a rapist on CBS's popular crime procedural CSI: Miami.
While contracted to Calvin Klein, Michael met the late Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, a Calvin Klein publicist, whom he dated seriously. After that relationship fell apart due to career pressures, she went on to marry popular "first son," John F. Kennedy, Jr., with whom she later perished in a fatal plane crash. He claims to have had an affair with Bessette-Kennedy during her troubled marriage to the late Kennedy, Jr..
Later, Bergin was linked romantically to fashion designer Valentino in untrue industry scuttlebutt inflamed by a reportedly besotted former manager. (A related rumor, this time true, is that the character of "The Bone" in both the book and television incarnations of Sex and the City was a thinly veiled jab at Michael and his close relationship with the famous designer. Ironically, Bergin was passed-over to play the character on the HBO show because he was, by then, considered too old for the part.)
He married Joy Tilk on September 24, 2004, and is the father of a son, Jesse, and a daughter, Alannah Jade.
Bergin has worked closely with the anti-drug children's program D.A.R.E. as a national spokesperson, and lending his name, time, and image to numerous AIDS charities. (Though it is not yet known whether his arrest for drunk driving on the anniversary of Bessette-Kennedy’s death will impact his long-term work with D.A.R.E.
Bergin, who is straight, is popular in the gay community due to his willingness to take on gay roles, interact with the gay press, and work with AIDS charities. His willingness to not shy away from the gay community has led a loyal fan base in the gay community and to recent, favorable ,comparisons to the similar career fearlessness (if not talent) of actors Christopher Meloni, Jude Law, and Antonio Banderas.
His work with the D.A.R.E. program has brought him equal acclaim from law enforcement, anti-drug, and child advocacy groups, as well.