A VIP nightclub hostess publicly linked to Tiger Woods two days before his now-infamous SUV crash isn’t quite ready to talk about her relationship with the golf great who fell from grace, but she acknowledges that she has long suffered from a “hole” in her heart that she tried to fill with men who were wrong for her.
Dodging questions about her relationship with Woods, Rachel Uchitel told TODAY’s Natalie Morales on Monday that she learned from celebrity addiction expert Dr. Drew Pinsky that events in her life made her “addicted to love” as well as prescription drugs.
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“I had no idea that love addiction existed. I sort of brushed it off,” said Uchitel, one of the celebrities featured on the fourth season of VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew” (Wednesday, Dec. 1, 10 p.m. ET).
According to Pinsky, people who become love-addicted typically crave the excitement and drama of being involved in a relationship that is not good for them. The addiction often has its roots in early trauma, he said.
In Uchitel’s case, her father, whom she found dead, abused cocaine. In 2001, her then-fiance, an investment banker, died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.
Uchitel would not discuss any aspect of her relationship with Tiger Woods, but acknowledged going into a self-imposed isolation after the National Enquirer published a story last November that said they were having an affair and had spent time together at the Australian Masters golf tournament.
Two days later, Woods crashed his SUV into a tree on his property in Florida. He and his wife, Elin Nordegren, have since divorced.
“She has been through horrific traumas throughout her life that imprint on the way she’s viewed relationships,” Pinsky said of Uchitel. “The primary issue was love addiction.”
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Emerging from six months of essentially being “a recluse,” Uchitel said she decided to turn to Pinsky for help with the hope that other women could learn from her experience.
“I went on the show because I knew at the time I needed help. I didn’t know what was going on with me. I knew I needed help,” Uchitel said. “The issue I have with relationships is related to a hole I am trying to fill in my heart … I have since changed the path of my life.”
As for Woods, his life’s path was forever altered by his widely publicized relationships with Uchitel, an adult film actress and other women. Following the SUV crash, he entered an in-patient rehabilitation center that specializes in sexual addictions.
Appearing on ESPN Radio last week, Woods said he is feeling better “internally” every day and looks at life differently now.
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