The Story Behind Tiger Woods’ Marriage To Elin Nordegren

Tiger Woods is known for being one of the greatest golfers in the world, but that reputation was quickly tarnished when his marriage went south. Affair allegations and rumors started around Thanksgiving in 2009 and spread like wildfire. As women spoke up about their relationships with Tiger, fans started to question the character of one of the most skillful athletes of the century. Read on to see what exactly happened that costed Tiger his marriage, and almost ended his career.

The Wife Of A Famous Athlete

Elin Nordegren had a successful modeling career in Sweden earlier in life, but it was her marriage to Tiger Woods that made her an international celebrity. Though the couple intrigued the public from the start, the peak of their attention came during their scandalous divorce.

David Cannon/Getty Images
David Cannon/Getty Images

As women started accusing the famous tennis player of having affairs with them, Elin rose to fame as the wife Tiger Woods betrayed. Rumors about Tiger seemed to overshadow Elin’s side of the story.

A Photographer Discovered Her In Sweden

Elin was born in 1980 mere minutes before her twin sister, Josefin. While growing up with her twin and older brother in Stockholm, Sweden, Elin emerged as an athlete herself. She played soccer and kept up her grades.

Haydn West – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images
Haydn West – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Around the turn of the millennia, a photographer named Bingo Rimer discovered Elin. Due to their collaborations, Elin was soon a sought-after model. She sported swimsuits for prominent Swedish magazines but ultimately felt that her calling was in child psychology.

Struggling To Make Her Way Through College

Elin struggled to put herself through college while working. She left the life of modeling behind and picked up some odd jobs that were a better fit for her schedule. While working at a store in Stockholm, a woman walked in who would change her life forever.

Scott A. Miller/Getty Images
Scott A. Miller/Getty Images

The patron turned out to be the wife of famous tennis player Jesper Parnevik. As they got to talking, it came out that she needed a nanny. Since Elin was an aspiring child psychologist, it seemed like the perfect fit.

Starting A New Life In The United States

The one condition regarding the nanny job was that Elin would need to move to the United States. The young lady decided to take a leap of faith and leave her home country to start a new life in the US.

Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Elin left everything behind, including her college, family, friends, and even her boyfriend. Her relationship came to an end just in time, for it wouldn’t be long before Elin was introduced to Tiger Woods.

She Wasn’t Interested At First

While Elin worked for famous tennis player Jesper Parnevik, she was introduced to Tiger Woods. The athlete was smitten with Elin from the start, but she resisted his advances at first.

Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Elin was hesitant to date a celebrity because of all the public and media attention that would follow. Had she known how things would turn out, perhaps she would have stuck to her instincts. Ultimately, Tiger won her over and the pair became engaged after two years of dating.

He Threw Her A Multi-Million Dollar Wedding

When it comes to lavish weddings, Tiger knows how to go above and beyond. The festivities were a week-long and took place in Barbados. The golf star rented out an entire hotel to accommodate their guests.

Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

To top it off, he flew in 500 roses! It was also imperative to the couple that security was top-notch. To this day, virtually no photos of the event have been released to the public. Even guests had to mind the newlyweds’ privacy concerns.

Living In The Lap Of Luxury

With Tiger Woods becoming one of the top golfers in the world, the couple had plenty of cash to spend. In addition to living a luxurious lifestyle, they also bought several staggering properties.

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David Cannon/Getty Images

They had a handful of homes spread across the United States in Wyoming, Florida, and California. Of course, they also had to purchase a home in Sweden. Living the life of affluence would enable Elin to return home without the stress of funding her trips.

Her First Celebrity Scandal

Just as Elin had feared, living the high life comes with a price. In 2006, a magazine in Ireland put out scandalous photos that they claimed to be of Elin. The former model insisted that the images were not of her.

David Cannon/Getty Images
David Cannon/Getty Images

It took private investigators and attorneys to get down to the bottom of the photo scandal. In the end, the woman photographed turned out to be a former Playboy model. Elin won the case and $200,000 from the magazine.

The Famous Couple Became Parents In 2007

With the photo scandal behind them, Elin and Tiger started their family. They welcomed their first child, a girl they named Sam, in 2007. Two years later, the couple had their second and youngest child.

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This time it was a boy, who they named Charlie. Like their parents, both children were bright and athletic. Sam and Charlie would go on to compete in golf tournaments. The family seemed picture-perfect, but the years to come proved that looks can be deceiving.

Elin Heard About Tiger’s Affair

Around Thanksgiving 2009, Elin and Tiger’s relationship seemed like a fairytale. They just welcomed their second child and had plenty of financial security to enjoy the holidays in style.

A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

All of the joy came to a screeching halt when Elin spotted an article online that claimed Tiger had an affair. The mistress in question was Rachel Uchitel, a TV correspondent from New York. The National Enquirer reported that the rendevous had ensued during the Australian Masters golf tournament.

Both Parties Denied The Allegations

Though Tiger Woods was reportedly spotted with Rachel Uchitel at the tournament, he denied having had an affair with her. Since his refute was to be expected, it came down to Rachel’s side of the story.

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When asked for comment, Rachel also rejected the claims. It was beginning to look like the tabloids had fabricated the affair, after all. It was a relief to Elin, especially considering the timing. In the days to come, though, something else would become a major concern.

The Questionable Car Wreck

Just two days after the affair allegations, Tiger Woods crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and a neighbor’s tree. The event occurred at 2:25 in the morning, which served to make Tiger look guilty of something.

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When Elin arrived on the scene, she took a golf club to the vehicle. Though rumors spread that she smashing the windows out of fury, Elin later explained that she was trying to get her husband out of the car.

The Ordeal Became A Major Embarrassment

Tiger Woods was hospitalized after the crash and even pulled out of the Chevron World Challenge. He decided not to compete for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, both Elin and Tiger avoided the police as they were reluctant to talk about the incident.

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TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

A few days after the crash, the golfer did release a statement online wherein he took complete responsibility for what happened. He also asked that the embarrassing ordeal remain a “private matter.”

Questions About Elin’s Involvement In The Accident

Despite Tiger’s best efforts to keep the public in the dark about his mysterious car accident, information began to swirl about what really happened that night. A neighbor who called 911 in response to the crash says that the golfer didn’t appear intoxicated.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

But why was he out so late at night carelessly driving? Some began to wonder if it was a fight with Elin that prompted him to rush out the door. Rumors even began to spread that Elin had found Rachel’s texts.

Rachel Uchitel Ultimately Opened Up About The Affair

If Elin had found proof of Rachel and Tiger’s affair, then why would the mistress lie about it? It could be that she didn’t want her reputation tainted, but some media outlets began to report that she’d been paid off to keep quiet.

Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic/Getty Images

A year later, Rachel would come out about what really happened. In a 2010 interview with The Mail, she admitted to the affair. Hoping to set the record straight, Rachel opened up about losing her fiance during 9/11 and the mistakes she made in the emotional aftermath.

Husband And Wife Under Investigation

As rumors continued to swirl, both Tiger and Elin found their reputations on the line. People questioned Elin for taking a golf club to Tiger’s car and wondered if she may have been angrily retaliating to her husband’s affair.

Doug Benc/Getty Images
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Tiger didn’t face any criminal charges, but he did have a fine and four demerits on his driving record looming over him. All the while, Tiger’s adoration from fans was starting to waiver, especially when more women started speaking up.

Jamiee Grubbs Also Admitted To An Affair With Tiger

At the start of December 2009, merely a week after Tiger’s first affair hit the magazine stands, news of a second affair emerged. Us Weekly revealed that cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs was speaking out about her affair with Tiger.

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Maury Phillips/WireImage/Getty Images

Jaimee claimed that it all began at a golf tournament in 2007, just two months before Elin gave birth to Sam. What’s worse is that this time, the mistress had proof she was willing to release.

The Telling Voicemail

Jaimee Grubbs claimed that she not only had hundreds of texts proving her relationship with Tiger, but also a voicemail. Us Weekly reported that in the voicemail, Tiger asked Jaimee to remove her name from her voicemail.

Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage/Getty Images
Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage/Getty Images

The odd request would make sense if he feared that Elin might find Jaimee’s number in his phone and call, discovering yet another mistress’ name. With two allegations under his belt and proof on the table, Tiger could no longer run from these claims.

Tiger’s Vague Statement

Only three hours after the article came out about Jaimee’s voicemail, Tiger released a statement on his website. While it wasn’t exactly an apology, the athlete did admit to being at fault for his “transgressions.”

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While he admitted that he regrets his decisions, he wouldn’t specify what those actions were. Instead, he asked for privacy by saying, “I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.”

Another Jamie Comes Forward With Affair Allegations

Yet another alleged mistress rose to fame for claiming to have had an affair with Tiger. Model and Las Vegas cocktail waitress Jamie Jungers went on Today to confirm rumors about her relationship with the golf star.

David Becker/Getty Images
David Becker/Getty Images

According to Jamie, the two met at a Vegas party and engaged in an 18-month affair. She also claimed that Tiger Woods wouldn’t give her money when she was down on her luck, leading Jamie to believe he didn’t truly care about her and to ultimately break things off.

Half A Dozen More Allegations

In a short amount of time, several women came forward, admitting that they’d had an affair with Tiger. The women were predominantly adult entertainers or waitresses in their 20s and 30s.

Adam Davis/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Adam Davis/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Several women were completely straightforward about their relationship with Tiger, sharing all the details they could with the public. One alleged mistress, Theresa Rogers, went so far as to say Tiger was the father of her child! She also claimed she was with Tiger for a whopping five years.

Overlapping Affairs

Mindy Lawton was one of the alleged mistresses who was straightforward about her side of the story. She claimed the pair met in 2006 and had an affair until May 2007. Cory Rist also claimed to have met Tiger in 2006, remaining his mistress for 2.5 years.

David Cannon/Getty Images
David Cannon/Getty Images

An Orlando waitress named Julie Postle allegedly met Tiger in 2004, at which point he had just become engaged to Elin. They reportedly maintained their affair for two years.

Tiger’s Career Was Greatly Impacted

In a matter of weeks, Tiger’s reputation had turned upside down. Though his athletic abilities were unquestionable, his character was no longer something that certain companies wanted to be affiliated with.


Gatorade discontinued their Tiger Woods drink; Gillette dropped him from their ads; consulting firm Accenture Ltd. said the golfer is “no longer the right representative” for their business, and AT&T ended their sponsorship with Tiger. All of this happened in December 2009, right in the middle of the holidays.

Leaving Golf To Save His Marriage

After a couple of nightmarish weeks, Tiger stated on his website that he would be leaving golf indefinitely to work on his marriage. He added, “I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.”

Lester Cohen/WireImage/Getty Images
Lester Cohen/WireImage/Getty Images

All the while, Elin maintained a low profile. All of this negative attention seemed to be the very thing she feared when she met Tiger Woods. Reports about whether or not she would stay with the golfer began to float around, but the answer remained a mystery.

Tiger Makes A Public Apology

Though Tiger had desperately tried to keep his extramarital affairs out of the public eye, it became clear that wasn’t going to happen. Rapidly, these claims had impacted every aspect of his life, including his career.

Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images
Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

In February of 2010, nearly three months after the first allegation, Tiger made a public apology. At a Florida golf club, he stated, “I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did was not acceptable. For all that I have done, I am so sorry.”

Putting Rumors About Elin To Rest

During his apology, Tiger was also sure to address the rumors about Elin. Remember, her reputation was also tarnished when people started questioning her use of the golf club the night of Tiger’s accident.

JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images
JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images

He said, “Some people have speculated that Elin somehow hurt or attacked me on Thanksgiving night. It hurts me that people would fabricate a story like that.” This statement confirmed that Elin wouldn’t resort to violence, no matter how justified her anger was.

Elin Turned To Her Twin Sister For Help

While Elin watched her marriage fall apart, there was one person she knew she could rely on: her twin sister, Josephin. The sisters were born on New Year’s Day in 1980, which meant that their 30th birthday fell right in the middle of the Tiger Woods scandal.

Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

To get away from it all, the sisters spent their birthday in the French Alps. Though Elin supported Tiger in his desire to get better, she had her own healing to do.

The Marriage Was Coming To An End

One of the telling signs that Elin was not going to remain in her marriage to Tiger came in February of 2010. Though Tiger mentioned Elin in his apology speech, she wasn’t present to hear it. As it turned out, Elin was getting ready to divorce the golfer.

Lester Cohen Archive/WireImage/Getty Images
Lester Cohen Archive/WireImage/Getty Images

Fortunately for her, Josephin had been working in a law office in England for years. Elin hired the legal office where her sister worked and moved forward with divorce proceedings.

She Ended Up Getting $110 Million!

Considering the millions that Tiger Woods spent on his and Elin’s wedding, people were naturally curious about how much she would get in the divorce. Not only was their marriage ending, but their home was being torn apart in direct response to Tiger’s actions.

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

In the end, Elin reportedly received $110 million dollars from Tiger Woods or about 1/6 of his income. While no dollar amount would be able to make up for the pain she went through, at least Elin could rest assured that she’d be taken care of for the rest of her life.

They Still Co-Parent

The second thing that many were eager to know is whether or not Tiger would retain custody rights. While he may have been an unfaithful husband, Elin knew that he still deserved a chance at being a great father.

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The pair have continued to co-parent ever since their divorce. Their kids, Charlie and Sam, can often be spotted at their dad’s side on the green field. Though their marriage didn’t last, Elin and Tiger maintain an amicable relationship for the kids.