*Tiger Woods’ ex-wife Elin Nordegren said she has “been through hell” since her husband’s cheating scandal surfaced but she never hit him, according to an exclusive People magazine interview released Wednesday.
Nordegren said she and Woods spent months trying to reconcile the relationship, but in the end, a marriage “without trust and love” wasn’t good for anyone. The couple’s divorce became final on Monday.
The former model and nanny spoke about Tiger’s Thanksgiving night car crash outside their Florida home, when Woods drove his SUV over a fire hydrant and into a tree just days after the National Enquirer had revealed the first of many women who claimed to have dated Tiger during his marriage.
The account of Elin smashing out the back window of the SUV with a golf club to try and free Tiger was met with widespread doubt, with late night comedians and “Saturday Night Live” joking that Nordegren’s golf swing was really aimed at Tiger for the affairs.
Nordegren told People that she never hit Woods on the night of the car crash, nor any other time.
“There was never any violence inside or outside our home,” she said. “The speculation that I would have used a golf club to hit him is just truly ridiculous.”
Nordegren said Woods left the house that night and when he didn’t return after a while, she got worried and went to look for him. She said that’s when she found him in the car.
“I did everything I could to get him out of the locked car,” she said. “To think anything else is absolutely wrong.”
People said the interview was conducted over four visits lasting a total of 19 hours at the rented Windermere, Fla., home where she now lives with their two children.
“I’ve been through hell,” she said. “It’s hard to think you have this life, and then all of a sudden — was it a lie? You’re struggling because it wasn’t real. But I survived. It was hard, but it didn’t kill me.”
In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday morning, People magazine reporter Sandra Sobieraj Westfall said Nordegren and her team approached the magazine. Westfall said Nordegren wanted people to know three things: she’s not violent and never hit Woods; she had no idea this was going on; and it was a real marriage for her. [Watch Westfall's "Today" interview below.]
Nordegren and Woods were married Oct. 5, 2004, in Barbados and have a 3-year-old daughter, Sam, and an 18-month-old son, Charlie.
In the interview, Nordegren would not disclose the amount of the divorce settlement but did say “money can’t buy happiness or put my family back together.”
“I’m so embarrassed that I never suspected — not a one. For the past 3 1/2 years, when all this was going on, I was home a lot more with pregnancies, then the children and my school.”
Woods, who is playing in golf tournament in New Jersey this week, has not yet commented on the couple’s divorce.
Nordegren said she would eventually come to forgive Woods but that she is still working on it.
“Forgiveness takes time,” she said. “It is the last step of the grieving process.”
In the meantime, the Swedish-born Nordegren said she is excited to start the next chapter of her life and intends to stay in the U.S. with her children.
She also said she’s “not watched one minute of golf.”