TODAY

TODAY   |  November 29, 2010

Tiger Woods’ mistress: Addicted to love

Rachel Uchitel, the woman who blew open the Tiger Woods sex scandal a year ago, discusses her struggle with “love addiction,” saying she used relationships to fill a “hole” in her heart.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> fame and addiction seem to go hand in hand on the reality show . dr. drew pinsky is here with rachel uchitel who was linked to the tiger woods scandal. and before we goat to " celebrity rehab " the fourth season, we have got to ask you, the elephant in the room , you recently admitted to having the affair with tiger woods and how hard was that for you to come out with that?

>> actually that is not correct. i never had a conversation about that with the interview with the daily mail . we did an interview for " celebrity rehab " and that was completely taken out of context. so that was something that was never discussed in that interview.

>> so you saying you only wanted to be loved, that's not an admission?

>> the interview was about " celebrity rehab ."

>> was that incident, was that somewhat of a wakeup call , was that what drew you to celebrity rehab , you say you went on the show because of a love addiction ?

>> i went on the show because i know -- i knew at the time that i needed help. and i didn't know exactly what was going on with me. but i knew that i needed help and i wanted to get it from dr. drew.

>> what kind of help, dr. drew?

>> the fact is she was in distress, and i didn't know there were issues yet either but there were issues around pills and alcohol. and we determined the primary addiction was love addiction . people are going to have an entirely different idea of what she's all about. it actually airs wednesday night, and she has been through these horrific traumas in life that placed an imprint on the way she approaches relationships. really it's an exaggeration of the basis of romantic love where you idealize somebody and you go for intensity in relationships, but in love addiction , intensity is the problem and it's so intense that you miss the usual kind of red flags that would sort of divert you from your course.

>> but it's not a real relationship then?

>> it's not an intimacy, it's an intensity rather than intimacy.

>> and rachel do you feel that the show helped you?

>> i'm a completely different person now than i was before the show. you know, i thought addiction was having to do with something related to cocaine or meth or you know alcohol. and i had no idea that love addiction existed. i sort of brushed that off as something that didn't -- that i didn't have or that didn't exist at all and i came to realize that it is a true condition that people have.

>> were you trying to fill a void in your life, in being in these relationships, you've been tied to derek jeter --

>> filling the void is the issue, it's really trying to --

>> what's the attraction here, though? the attraction to some of these big celebrity players?

>> i mean i have also dated people that are not celebrities. the issues that i have related to relationships are absolutely related to a hole that i'm trying to fill in my heart, just as some people are using other addictions with alcohol or some other substance, i use relationships. and i have come to realize what i do and i'm trying to figure it out and get better. and i have done that with the help of dr. drew and celebrity rehab helped me do that.

>> and i know that you also have janet dickenson on this season. what are some of the other issues that are encountered. i think it's an interesting -- the love addiction thing is something we're hearing more and more about. is this more common than we know of?

>> it's a construct that people are coming to use because it helps people more and more. the fact is that the common thread that you'll see is trauma, trauma is a very common antecedent do these things.

>> she lost her father at a young age.

>> and these things set up, and they're more common these days than ever before and they set up these sort of addictive processes.

>> we have jeremy london and there's a lot of drug addiction here, a lot. and people have -- this is a group, this is probably the most intense season we have had so far, both the intensity of the withdrawal period and the intensity of the emotions and how tightly this group bonds together. it's a very moving experience.

>> and the group that we had on this season it's a lot more relatable than other seasons that i have watched. a lot of us are addicted to pills that everybody has in their cabinet and you don't realize because the doctor prescribes them --

>> you were addicted to ambien?

>> i was.

>> and you'll see the horrible withdrawal from --

>> do you think telling your story is going to help other women?

>> i hope so. i think there's so many women that feel misunderstood, that don't understand the depression they're suffering from and the fact that they get themselves into bad situations, bad relationships and then, you know, because they're having such an issue with themselves and relationships, they turn to prescription pills.

>> exactly.

>> and i think it's a very common thing and i really hope that people will identify with what i've been going through and help themselves.

>> and how has this last year been like for you? since we just heard your name a year ago, almost exactly today.

>> yeah, it's been very tough, you know, i became a recluse for about six months and that was very difficult for me and then i chose to go on " celebrity rehab " and since then i have really changed the path in my life.

>> and i think people are going to have an entirely different perception of what she's been through when they watch the show.

>> dr. drew pinsky , rachel uchitel,