Elin Nordegren has finally come forward to clear the air about her dissolved marriage to golf superstar Tiger Woods, telling People magazine that the shock and stress of the scandal about his multiple infidelities impacted her health, causing her to lose sleep, weight, and even her hair.
After staying silent for months under an intense spotlight, the 30-year-old Swede sat down with People’s Sandra Sobieraj Westfall for a probing 19 hours’ worth of talks over the course of four days, detailed in the new issue of the magazine.
Speaking with Ann Curry Wednesday on TODAY, Westfall said it was Nordegren who approached the magazine about talking in a “once and one time only” interview. “She really wanted people to know three things right off the bat: She’s not violent; she’s never hit him; she had no idea any of this was going on — as embarrassing as it is for her to admit that, she never suspected,” Westfall told Curry.
“And lastly, that this was a real marriage for her; that she believed that they were in love and that they were going to be a family forever.”
‘Money can’t buy happiness’
Woods and Nordegren officially ended their five-year marriage Monday in a Bay County, Fla., court. The pair agreed to share custody of their daughter, Sam, 3, and son, Charlie, 18 months. Westfall said Nordegren is estimated to receive $100 million in the divorce settlement — a huge number, but still a far cry from the $750 million figure that had been bandied about.
Still, Nordegren told People, “Money can’t buy happiness, or put my family back together.”
Westfall said that Nordegren — who is working toward a bachelor’s degree in psychology — told her she underwent counseling in the aftermath of learning of her husband’s infidelities.
“She took a sort of academic approach to her feelings,” Westfall explained. “Intensive counseling, she said, and she’s not embarrassed to admit that. She said doesn’t think there should be a stigma. She went through hell, and she needed help with that.”
Nordegren told People that after the sex scandal broke, she and Woods made an attempt to reconcile, but that “without trust and love,” the efforts proved futile.
But despite the shocking way her marriage unraveled, Westfall said she couldn’t find a trace of bitterness in Nordegren. In fact, Westfall and Nordegren together thumbed through Nordegren’s album of wedding pictures and family outings, with Nordegren saying, “We used to have so much fun.”
‘I felt stupid’
Nordegren nonetheless expressed disbelief when one woman after another came forward late last year to reveal affairs they had with her husband. And she still contends she didn’t have as much as an inkling about it.
“I felt stupid as more was revealed — how could I have not known anything?” Nordegren told People. “The word ‘betrayal’ isn’t strong enough. I felt like my whole life had fallen apart.”
And she seemed most anxious to clear up rumors that she had struck her husband with a golf club on the infamous Thanksgiving night episode last year when Woods crashed his vehicle shortly after leaving their Florida home.
“The speculation that I would have used a golf club to hit him is just truly ridiculous,” Nordegren told People, though she admitted the TV skits and jokes about her supposedly striking Woods were “pretty hysterical, even if they were totally untrue.”
In a later segment about the interview, People magazine Kate Coyne confirmed to TODAY’s Hoda Kotb and guest fourth-hour co-host John Rich that Nordegren was emphatic about quashing the rumors of physical violence. “She says point blank that there was never any violence in her marriage in either direction.”
Nordegren told the magazine that this may be the only time she speaks about her failed marriage to Woods; she fully intends to retreat back into private life now. Westfall told Curry she walked away from her many hours of interviews with Nordegren with abiding respect for the woman.
“One can only imagine the crucible that she has been in with all the headlines,” Westfall said. “Yet she carried on with the business of being a mother. She said she stayed strong for her kids, and it was only at night that she would, in the privacy of her own bedroom, break down and be alone with her feelings.”
Woods, Nordegren finalize divorce
Aftern nine months of turmoil, the split is final between the gol superstar and his wife is final. Terms were not disclose...
- Nordegren gets big payout in Woods divorce
- Woods finishes fourth at the Masters
- Admitted mistress: I’m sorry I hurt Tiger’s wife
- Admitted Tiger mistress: No $, only heartbreak
- Woods, Nordegren finalize divorce
And while Nordegren walks away from her marriage a very wealthy woman, she told Westfall she doesn’t plan to be idle because of her riches.
“She has every intention of having a job someday,” Westfall said. “She wants to get her master’s degree in psychology and put that to work in someday helping children of broken families.”
In her People interview, Nordegren made it clear her ex-husband didn’t make her a lifelong fan of the sport that made him rich and famous. Nordegren said since their split, “I’ve not watched one minute of golf.”
© 2013 NBCNews.com Reprints