She was born Christie Lee Hudson on February 2, 1954 in Michigan. She was educated at Le Lycée Francais de Los Angeles and worked in Paris as an entry level illustrator.
In 1976 she signed a twenty-year contract with Cover Girl, the longest model contract ever. She appeared on the cover of three consecutive Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues (1979-1981). In the book "Model", people who knew her at the start of her carrer say that she slept her way to the top, and that her sweet personality changed dramatically once she achieved a measure of success.
She has been married four times, Jean-François Allaux (1973-1981), Richard Taubman (1994-1995), Billy Joel (1985-1994). Her current husband is Peter Cook, an architect, they married in 1996. She has three children, a son by Taubman, one daughter by Joel and another by Cook.