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In the cover story, Klum, 38, explains what a whirlwind her life has been since news of the couple's surprising separation went public.
"I feel like I'm in the eye of a tornado," she tells Elle. "Sometimes I think a curveball just comes at you. Instead of something straight that you can catch, it hits you in the head from the side that you didn't expect."
Klum knows that she and Seal, who tied the knot in May 2005, might have seemed blissfully happy, but she cautions against making assumptions about what goes on between any husband and wife.
"People don't need to know who did what," she says. "I don't want to talk positive or negatively about the ups and downs that we had. Every couple goes through things. Unfortunately, we're in the public, so the highs are out there. But I don't think it's necessary -- especially for our children -- to have the lows being printed in magazines and talked about."
"He's going to be 50 next year. He's a grown man," she says. "I can't tell him what to do and what not to do. It's hard."
Klum stresses that her focus now is her four children: Leni, 7, Henry, 6, Johan, 5, and Lou, 2.
"I'm a lioness," says Klum. "I have four cubs. I'm a mom. I want to take care of my kids and protect them. I don't want to talk about them, or him, or me."