Chrissy Teigen said criticism from a prominent food blogger “hit me hard” after she was accused of running a “content farm”.
The TV presenter launched her successful Cravings brand in 2016, which has so far spawned two books and a cookware collection at retail giant Target.
There is also a website featuring recipes and advice while the Cravings Instagram account boasts 1.2 million followers.
Alison Roman, a best-selling cookbook author and food columnist, reportedly accused Teigen of having people run a “content farm” for her.
She told The New Consumer: “That horrifies me and it’s not something that I ever want to do. I don’t aspire to that.”
Teigen, who is married to singer John Legend, responded to the allegations, saying Cravings is not a “machine” and is the work of her and two other women.
She tweeted: “I started cravings because I wanted something for myself. I wanted something John didn’t buy, I wanted something to do that calmed me, made me happy and made others happy, too. Cravings isn’t a ‘machine’ or ‘farmed content’ – it’s me and 2 other women.
“I didn’t ‘sell out’ by making my dreams come true. To have a cookware line, to get to be a part of that process start to finish, to see something go from sketch to in my hands, I love that.
“To see that thing in my hand being used by people around the world makes me so happy. Watching a company grow makes me happy. I get joy from it and lots of people do.”
Teigen, a 34-year-old mother of two, said she “genuinely loved everything about” Roman, adding “I don’t think I’ve ever been so bummed out by the words of a fellow food-lover”.
She said she “had no idea I was perceived that way, by her especially” and that it had been “crappy to deal with” but “I couldn’t not say something”.
Teigen also said “there is NO monetary gain yet” from the Cravings website, finishing her tweets by saying: “So to be called a sellout….hooooo it hurts.
“This ‘farm’ you think of doesn’t exist. I am the farm. I am the cows the horses the pigs.”
Legend replied to her and wrote: “I love what you are building. I love that it comes straight from your heart and your brilliant, creative mind. I’m so proud of you.”
Roman has since been on the receiving end of a backlash, with Twitter users accusing her of targeting women of colour after she also criticised Japanese TV organising consultant Marie Kondo.
She tweeted an apology to Teigen, whose mother is Thai, saying “I’m genuinely sorry I caused you pain with what I said”.
The New York Times best-selling author wrote: “I shouldn’t have used you /your business (or Marie’s!) as an example to show what I wanted for my own career- it was flippant, careless and I’m so sorry.”