Petra Nemcova says surviving the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami ''humbled'' her.

The Czech supermodel lived through the devastating 2004 natural disaster in Thailand, but lost her fiance Simon Atlee in the tragedy.

Petra's life was totally changed by the experience and it made her realise she was lucky to be alive.

Petra told London's Evening Standard ES Magazine: ''It puts things into perspective. No matter how much you suffer, there are people suffering so much more than you.

''It humbles you. What I went through, in the scheme of things ... I was so lucky. There were people who, in an instant, lost everything in their life.''

The Sports Illustrated cover girl has devoted her life to charity ever since and founded the Happy Hearts Fund in 2005 to help children in need.

The 33-year-old blonde refuses to feel sad about the death of her fashion photographer partner and tries to focus on the positives thanks to her newfound belief in Buddhism.

She explained: ''The way I look at difficult times, is you have a choice either to get sad and down about it, or you use the same amount of energy to change it ... Even if it's five per cent positive, if you're able to focus on it, you are able to get stronger and stronger.''

Petra hasn't lost the ability to love because of what happened because Simon taught her to embrace each moment and live life to the full.

The model - who has since dated James Blunt, Jamie Belman and Sean Penn - pondered: ''I don't think it has taken that away from me. One of the things I've learned through experience, but also from Simon, is to live life fully.

''Every moment is so precious and anything can happen in the next moment, so you have to give it your best because you may lose the chance to be happy. Simon lived in that way, he was always about living fully.''