Christie Brinkley

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Christie Brinkley was back on the stand Monday for a tearful day three in her divorce and custody case.

Resuming testimony that began Thursday, the 54-year-old Uptown Girl played up her mothering credentials to the Long Island court, portraying herself as a much better caretaker for her kids than estranged husband Peter Cook, who admitted to having an affair with an 18-year-old staffer and a $3,000-a-month online porn habit during their marriage.

"The role of family to me is the most important thing," Brinkley told the court, while choking back sobs.

"I'm sorry I'm crying right now, but the only thing I've ever wanted was a big happy family."

The Vacation star told of how horrified she was when she threw an eighth birthday party for daughter Sailor Lee, baking cakes for 40 kids and trying to put on a happy face just a week after learning of the 49-year-old architect's infidelity.

"It was hard—I was devastated," she said. "I was in this emotional tug-of-war and discovering more every day. It was a nightmare."

The estranged couple are facing off over who will ultimately get custody of 12-year-old Jack and Sailor, now 10.

The former Sports Illustrated swimsuit fixture recalled breaking the news to the kids, telling them "I think Daddy has fallen out of love with Mommy."

Brinkley said she went to great lengths to shield their kids from the tabloid tumult that followed, taking them camping in Colorado without access to TV or the Web.

Brinkley said they were atop a mountain under the stars when Cook's teenage lover, Diana Bianchi, "spilled the beans" on TV "to get her 15 minutes of fame."

She also went over her résumé, including speaking at the United Nations about the role of a mom as a "peacemaker" and being named Mother of the Year by a New York group.

Per New York's Newsday, Brinkley also gave a glimpse inside the home life at their $30 million spread in Bridgehampton.

The compound features a children's library, game rooms, an art studio and music rooms, a tennis court which doubled as a skate park for Jack, and a variety of pets: a Yorkie named Pinkie, a labra-doodle dubbed Sugar, a bunny called Gracie May and an African grey Conure named Kiwi Houdini Valentine.

"He's a bird who think he's a cat," quipped Brinkley.

Brinkley also announced today that because of the roller-coaster ride she's been on with this—her fourth marriage—she wasn't planning on dating anytime soon, particularly out of concern for the children.

"They need a lot of attention right now," she said. "They need to be reassured how loved they are [and] how their place is strong and secure in our lives."

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