Refaeli thankful for brief split from DiCaprio
- Photo: KCSPresse/Splash News1 of 10
- Photo: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP2 of 10
- Photo: London Ent/Splash News3 of 10
- Photo: Jordan Strauss/GettyImages.com4 of 10
- Photo: KCSPresse/Splash News5 of 10
- Photo: Owen Beiny/WENN6 of 10
- Photo: Janet Mayer/Splash News7 of 10
- Photo: Owen Beiny/WENN8 of 10
- Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP9 of 10
Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli credits her six month split from on/off boyfriend Leonardo DiCaprio last year with saving their romance. She says their time apart forced her to "grow up" and learn about herself.
Refaeli has been romantically involved with DiCaprio since 2005 but they parted briefly last summer before reuniting again by the end of the year.
The model admits she was devastated by the relationship breakdown and went through a "tough time" dealing with her emotions, but says the time apart proved to be key to their chemistry when they eventually got back together.
"It was half a year for which I am very grateful. I needed it. I came to understand a lot of things about myself," the 24-year-old tells Israel's L'Isha magazine.
"I worked on myself (and) I grew up. 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."
RELATED: See more pics of Bar Refaeli
While their romance is still going strong, the couple recently dismissed engagement rumors.
"I'm not thinking about getting married," Refaeli said. "I'm still young, not yet 25."
RELATED VIDEO: Refaeli opens up about DiCaprio split
But she's still supportive of everything the "Titanic" hunk does -- even though she rarely walks the red carpet at high profile events with him: "I am there for him and I am at all the events. 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."
RELATED: More Leonardo DiCaprio pics
Jessica Alba flaunts her bikini body and shares photos from her work trip to Thailand on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
From George Clooney to Christian Bale, check out the hunky leading men who've played Batman through the years.Watch Video »
"Pretty Little Liars" star Shay Mitchell shares stunning photos from her Indonesian Island getaway on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Get the scoop on Chris Evans and Chris Pratt's rivalry and their philanthropic wager on Replay.Watch Video »
January Jones, Emily Blunt, and Amber Heard all get an F on this week's Fashion Offenders.Watch Video »
Ryan Seacrest shows off his new puppy and his singing skills on Celebs Gone Social hosted by Wonderwall editor Chris Gardner.Watch Video »