Cindy Crawford was upset when a photoshopped photograph of her in a bikini went viral.

The 49-year-old supermodel admitted that the picture, taken on a magazine shoot and later manipulated to emphasise her flaws, left her horrified at first but after seeing how positively women reacted, she didn't speak out against it because she felt ''really conflicted''.

Cindy explained: ''The photographer said 'Cindy, I'm going to send you the real one and it's nothing like that. It's clear that someone manipulated that image to make whatever was there worse.' It was stolen and it was malicious. But there was so much positive reaction.

''Sometimes, the images that women see in magazine make them feel inferior - even though the intention is never to make anyone feel less. So somehow seeing a picture of me was like seeing a chink in the armour. Whether it was real or not isn't relevant.''

However, Cindy admitted that even she doubted herself when she first saw the picture.

She told Elle Canada: ''I know my body, and I know it's not perfect, but maybe I have a false body image; maybe I think I look better than I do. I think that most women are hard on themselves. We think we look worse than we do.

''So I assumed I fell into that category, even though that picture didn't reflect what I saw when I looked in the mirror- even in the worst dressing-room lighting.

But she is determined to take something positive from it, explaining that she has used the incident as a lesson for her daughter Kaia, 13.

Cindy said: ''I'm a big girl and I can handle it, but I used it as a teaching lesson for my own daughter.''