In an exclusive interview Friday, admitted Tiger Woods mistress Jamie Jungers, 26, denied rumors that she had received any money from the famous golfer, whose once squeaky-clean image has been tarnished by a succession of women stepping forward to say they have had affairs with him.
“I didn’t even get a birthday card,” the woman who met Woods as a Las Vegas cocktail waitress told Meredith Vieira live on TODAY. “I got nothing out of this relationship but a broken heart.”
Jungers, who has worked as a lingerie model as well as a waitress, revealed details about her relationship with Woods both on TODAY and as part of a special report, “The Secret Life of Tiger Woods,” airing at 9 p.m. ET Friday on NBC’s “Dateline.”
She told Vieira that she and the 33-year-old golfing legend had what she called “a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship” during their year-and-a-half love affair, despite the fact that Tiger had just married wife Elin Nordegren when Jungers and Woods first spent a night together in early 2005.
Woods’ once-pristine image, cornerstone of his billion-dollar empire of commercial endorsements and tie-in merchandise, began unraveling early in November when the National Enquirer tabloid fingered Las Vegas VIP nightclub hostess Rachel Uchitel as an illicit lover. Scrutiny intensified after he crashed his car into a fire hydrant, then a neighbor’s tree, outside his Florida home Nov. 27, spurring rumors of a fight between him and Nordegren. Subsequently, Woods issued a statement indicating indiscretions in his marriage, while an increasing number of women have issued accounts of liaisons with him.
For her part, Jungers says she’s held her tongue for more than three years, telling Vieira, “It was just something between him and I, and I didn’t think everybody needed to know.” But, she said, she came on TODAY to “clear the air.” Alluding to reports and rumors that she had been paid for sex, she said: “I just wanted to come on national TV to say that they are not true.”
Video: Woods’ alleged mistress: ‘Together forever’ Jungers chronicled her affair with Woods, which started when the golfer eyed her from across the room at a Las Vegas nightclub. Jungers was then 21. A VIP hostess, then a Woods pal, informed her Tiger wanted to meet her.
“I kind of laughed and didn’t take it seriously because I didn’t think it would be Tiger Woods,” Jungers told Vieira. Once she realized it really was the sports legend, she said, the pair made small talk and “we ended up hanging out and drinking — pretty much what you do in a nightclub.”
Woods invited Jungers to tag along with a group of friends heading back to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and there began their affair. “The more we drank, the more, I guess, flirtatious we got,” she said, and it soon led to their spending the night together.
But Jungers said she figured she would be nothing more than a one-night stand for the married superstar. She admitted being surprised when Woods called the next day. “He said he loved spending time with me, would love to get to know me more, and he gave me his phone number and told me to save it in a different name in case I lost the phone.”
Woods would rendezvous with Jungers when he was in Las Vegas, and even flew her to Los Angeles to be with him while his wife was out of town, Jungers said.
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Vieira expressed amazement that Woods seemingly did little to keep the relationship under wraps while possessing one of the most famous faces in the world.
“To be honest with you, I’m not really sure [why],” she told Vieira. “We went places together; people were taking our photographs in the nightclubs. When I went to see him at the MGM, I would have to check in under my name and say that I was there to see him, and Tiger would come down and get me.”
Jungers said over time, she began to truly fall for Tiger. “Every time we saw each other, it’s like we became more and more comfortable with each other, it just became more of an actual relationship, a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship.”
Vieira asked Jungers if she ever felt pangs of guilt about seeing a married man.
“It was a thought in my mind, of course,” Jungers responded. “I mean, I’m not raised to do something like I did, and I’m not saying it’s OK … [but] I had a crush on Tiger for many years. I was very excited and honored that he was interested in me.”
‘Can you help me out?’
Jungers said she was financially struggling during the relationship, and continued living with an ex-fiance after they had broken up because she was “not financially stable enough to move out and be on my own.” She told Vieira she had a heart-to-heart talk with her mother, who told her, “If he is really interested in you, then he will show it.”
Slideshow: Tiger and family “The one time out of the whole year and a half I was with Tiger, I asked him, ‘Can you please help me out?’ ” Jungers told Vieira. “I didn’t give him a dollar amount, I didn’t say, ‘Can you buy me a house?’ I wasn’t specific about what I needed, but I did say, ‘Can you help me out?’
“He said, ‘I can’t,’ ” Jungers continued. “I said, ‘I don’t understand.’ I thought maybe he was joking. I was already embarrassed to ask about it. He said, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t.’ And that’s when I told him, ‘That shows to me how much I mean to you, and I can’t do this anymore. I’m already in a rough position in my life, and I have more drama and that’s what I don’t need.’ ”
Jungers said she had no idea about the other women who claim to have had affairs with Woods. She told Vieira she has mixed emotions about not being Tiger’s only mistress, but “he obviously has issues.”
‘Never been an escort’
Jungers noted she has received “not one dollar” from NBC or any other news source for telling her story, and she doesn’t intend to market it in the future. She said she was on the show to “clear the air” — particularly about a report that the owner of a Las Vegas escort service said that Jungers was an employee. According to the New York Post, Michelle Braun has clamed Woods spent up to $40,000 a weekend for the services of her call girls, and that Jungers herself was on her payroll.
“That’s all funny — I never even heard of the woman’s name,” Jungers told Vieira. “Never in my life. I’ve never been an escort and I never will be an escort. This is all news to me.”
In response to a question from Vieira, Jungers said she is uncertain whether she feels like she owes Nordegren an apology for the year and a half she had an affair with Woods. “Yes, and no; I mean, I wouldn’t want somebody to do it to me, but I’m not going to take full blame for this,” she said. “I never wanted this to come out, and I never would have said anything or I could have done it years ago.”
Video: Kathie Lee, Hoda on Woods’ mistresses But Jungers said on “Dateline” that she still has fond memories of her relationship with Woods.
“I love the time that we had together and the fun; the relationship that we did have was amazing,” she said. “But I would never want it to be the way it is today. For him, or for the way people look at me now.”
One of the people looking at Jungers less than sympathetically is Kathie Lee Gifford. At the top of TODAY’s fourth hour, which she co-hosts, Gifford related observing Jungers Friday morning as the guest prepared for her interview with Vieira.
“I often don’t tell tales out of school, but whatever,” Gifford said on-air. “It took three people to get Jamie dressed, and she was very rude to the makeup artists, and ended up doing her own makeup ... I’m sorry, this is a woman who needs to learn some manners.”
For more about Jamie Jungers and the Tiger Woods scandal, watch “Dateline” on NBC at 9 p.m. ET Friday.
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