Tiger Woods was at the top of his game personally and professionally in the early 2000s. Not only did he marry Swedish former model Elin Nordegren in 2004, but by the time 2005 rolled around, he’d snagged his fourth Masters Tournament green jacket. Two children later, it appeared that he and Nordegren shared the picture-perfect storybook romance. We never heard a peep from them, and they certainly weren’t making tabloid headlines … until November 2009, that is.
What happened next was like a scene straight out of a made-for-television Hallmark movie gone wrong, between Nordegren reportedly taking a golf club to Woods’ Cadillac Escalade and a slew of women coming forward to claim they’d hooked up with the world-renowned golfer. What a doozy. Basically, Woods went from being one of the most celebrated sports superstars to having his reputation wedged deep inside a sand bunker. But now? We finally know what went wrong between Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren.
Tiger Woods’ wedding was reportedly like ‘any other day’ to him
The year was 2001, when Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik introduced his then-au pair, Elin Nordegren, to Tiger Woods at the British Open. Parnevik’s matchmaking skills apparently scored a hole in one, because the New York Post reported in 2002, "Friends say the couple have gotten extremely cozy in recent months."
Indeed, it didn’t take Woods long to decide that Nordegren was the woman with whom he wanted to go the distance. According to People, he popped the question in November 2003. By the following October, the pair jetted off to Barbados to say their "I do’s" in front of "about 200 family and friends." However, according to a source cited by the magazine, Woods reportedly didn’t even experience the normal wedding-day jitters some grooms go through. "He didn’t act like he was going to get married," the insider claimed. "He was very relaxed, like this was any other day for him."
Uh oh. In hindsight, that sounds like a huge red flag!
Woods loved the idea of ‘growing together’ with Elin Nordegren
Why did Tiger Woods bother getting married if he was just going to allegedly cheat on Elin Nordegren with a bunch of different women? Well, from the start, it seemed as if the pro golfer actually had good intentions. In an interview with People following their nuptials, the record-breaking athlete expressed how happy he was to be a newlywed. "I love the idea of growing together," Woods said. "I want to have a relationship where we change for the better and continue to get closer." Aww, if only it were all so simple!
The sports star also had baby-making on the brain. "We’re definitely going to have kids soon," Woods continued, before explaining that he even had the gender of his kids planned down to a T. "I’d like to have a boy first, then a girl," he added. "I like the idea of a big brother taking care of his little sister. I want them to be close in age, too. I want my kids to grow up close."
Golf Channel reports that the proud parents welcomed daughter Sam in 2007 and son Charlie two years later. Although the order of their children didn’t go according to Woods’ plan, he’s continued to excel at being a great dad despite his marriage quickly imploding.
A car accident-turned-domestic dispute
In the early morning hours of Nov. 27, 2009, Tiger Woods got into a car accident outside of his Windermere, Fla. home, according to ABC News. After his Cadillac Escalade collided with a fire hydrant, he reportedly "slammed into a tree," which caused extensive damage to the luxury vehicle. Police apparently found Woods "lying in the street with his wife hovering over him," and after receiving treatment at a hospital, he was later released.
Now, accidents happen each and every day, but this wasn’t your ordinary car crash. TMZ reports that Woods was left with facial lacerations that were reportedly caused by none other than his then-wife, after she allegedly confronted him over the rumors that he was "seeing another woman." After being questioned, Woods supposedly told law enforcement officials that during a heated argument, Nordegren scratched his face, before he fled their residence in his SUV. According to a follow-up report by the gossip rag, the golf star allegedly claimed his supermodel wife "followed behind with a golf club," and as he attempted to drive away, Nordegren reportedly "struck the vehicle several times with the club."
Tiger Woods allegedly confessed to 121 affairs
The day after the above-mentioned accident, the National Enquirer published a bombshell report, claiming that Tiger Woods had been having an affair with a New York City party girl by the name of Rachel Uchitel. Multiple sources were more than willing to spill the beans, with one insider claiming, "Rachel told me, ‘I’m having an affair with Tiger Woods. We’re in love!’" However, that was just the tip of the infidelity iceberg.
According to a follow-up report by the tabloid in 2010, Woods allegedly admitted to having affairs with as many as 121 women during his six-year marriage to Elin Nordegren. The reported 121st woman in question — the soon-to-be-exes’ next door neighbor, Raychel Coudriet — was the most shocking of all. Their alleged one-night-stand supposedly occurred when Coudriet, who’d known Woods since she was 14, was 21 (via the New York Post). After learning about this reported conquest, Nordegren phoned Woods while he was out to dinner with friends. "She was screaming so loudly that everyone at the table could hear what she was saying," a source claimed to the publication, per Hollywood Life. To make matters far worse, the National Enquirer claimed the romantic tryst took place just a few yards from where Nordegren often took care of newborn baby Charlie. Yikes!
Sex rehab was in order for Woods
The National Enquirer was clearly invested in the events surrounding the Tiger Woods’ cheating scandal. After the tabloid proceeded to print his dirty laundry, it was revealed that the disgraced golfer had jetted off to sex rehab. Guess who had the inside scoop and the first pictures of him on the treatment center’s grounds? You guessed it. The National Enquirer!
According to the gossip rag, Woods checked into Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services in Hattiesburg, Miss. in December 2009. He reportedly signed up for an intensive six-week session, and we can only assume it may have been a last-ditch effort for him to make some much-needed changes in an attempt to save his damaged marriage.
Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods reached a hefty divorce settlement
After all was said and done, Elin Nordegren decided she wanted out of her nuptials to Tiger Woods. In divorce documents, she cited their marriage as "irretrievably broken." You don’t say.
Their divorce was finalized in August 2010. "We are sad that our marriage is over and we wish each other the very best for the future," the former couple released in a joint statement to CNN via their attorneys. "While we are no longer married, we are the parents of two wonderful children and their happiness has been, and will always be, of paramount importance to both of us."
According to sourced cited by TMZ, Nordegren reportedly banked a pretty penny in her divorce settlement to the tune of "close to $100,000,000." So, what did she do with all that cash? The former model famously purchased a $12 million North Palm Beach, Fla. mansion in 2011. However, she had the entire 1920s home bulldozed the following year, because it wasn’t up to present-day "wind-loading" codes (via People). In 2018, Nordegren put the home on the market for $49.5 million, according to the The Wall Street Journal. As of this writing in 2019, it’s still up for sale … so have at it, if you’re house hunting in that astronomical price range.
Tiger Woods now realizes the importance of honesty
Years after the dust had settled, Tiger Woods had a lot on his mind in an interview with Time magazine. Looking back on his failed marriage and the events that led to its demise, he stated how he wished he would’ve had a "more open, honest relationship with [his] ex-wife" in 2015.
Woods alluded to feeling frustrated during their time together, claiming that if only he’d been more forthright with her, then maybe things wouldn’t have ended the way they did. On the bright side, he told the publication that he and Elin Nordegren were finally at the level of honest communication he wished they could’ve had during their marriage. In an effort to move forward, the golfer stated they’ve both remained focused on their two children. "We both know that the most important things in our lives are our kids," Woods said. "I wish I would have known that back then."
Smells like a whole stinky pile of regret to us.
Nordegren once felt ‘safe’ with ex-husband Woods
The world was absolutely flabbergasted to learn that Tiger Woods wasn’t as pure and angelic as he seemed to be. However, no one was more shocked by his alleged indiscretions than his then-wife, Elin Nordegren. In fact, when she broke her silence on the matter in 2014, she told People, "The word betrayal isn’t strong enough."
What really made us feel for the former model was her admission that she once felt "safe" with Woods. And, obviously, the sanctuary they had created within their union was shattered once his alleged affairs came to light. It also didn’t help that immediately following the aftermath of the cheating scandal, Nordegren couldn’t figure out her next step in peace. The magazine reports that she was "hunted by paparazzi." Not cool. Not cool at all.
On her own journey to move forward from the highly-publicized ordeal, the publication reports that Nordegren "underwent therapy" and had continued with those once-a-week sessions years afterward in an effort to "process how her marriage had ended."
Tiger Woods fessed up to their kids
Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren’s children were super young when the golf star’s cheating scandal rocked the world: daughter Sam (pictured, center), was on the cusp of her second birthday, while their son, Charlie, was just nine months old. So, clearly, their youngins had no idea what daddy had been up to behind mommy’s back.
And that brings us to the internet — it’s a gift and a curse. In the case of Woods, the world wide web houses all the secrets from his less-than-stellar past, and he knew his children would eventually find out what caused their parents to breakup, whether they read about it online or if one of their friends told them about it at school. For that reason alone, Woods told Time that he took the "initiative" to come clean to his two children: "Guys, the reason why we’re not in the same house, why we don’t live under the same roof, Mommy and Daddy, is because Daddy made some mistakes."
Woods added that he wanted the truth to come from him and only him. And, in the future, if they probe for more answers, he said, "I’ll just tell them the real story. But meanwhile, it’s just, ‘Hey, Daddy made some mistakes. But it’s O.K. We’re all human. We all make mistakes.’"
Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren: a surprising update
Despite everything that went down amid the cheating, the intense betrayal, and Tiger Woods later experiencing remorse, he and Elin Nordegren have thankfully been able to overcome what eventually put an end to their romantic partnership.
During the former model’s 2014 interview with People magazine, the publication noted that "any bitterness appears to be gone." Indeed, over the years, Nordegren and Woods have reached the point where they are able to co-parent successfully. "I have moved on, and I am in a good place," she explained. "Our relationship is centered around our children, and we are doing really good — we really are. He is a great father."
For his part, Woods expressed a similar sentiment during his interview with Time a year later, saying, "Having the relationship that I have now with her is fantastic. She’s one of my best friends." And get this: the golf champion said they’re even able to "pick up the phone" and talk to each other "all the time." Both parties have also since moved on romantically. While Woods began dating girlfriend Erica Herman in late 2018, Nordegren would expect her third child with her boyfriend, former NFL star Jordan Cameron, in the fall of 2019.
Happy, healthy, and keeping their priorities straight? Now that’s what we call progress!