Elin Nordegren has broken her nine-month silence. In a candid interview with People, Tiger Woods‘ ex-wife says, “I’ve been through hell,” describing her humiliation at learning of Woods’ serial cheating, her decision to move forward as a single mother, and the infamous Thanksgiving 2009 car crash – the night her marriage began to dissolve.
To begin, Nordegren says she had no idea that he was cheating and she was “blindsided” by the affairs.
I never suspected, not a one,” she says. “For the last 3½ years, when all this was going on, I was home a lot more with pregnancies, then the children and my school….I felt stupid as more things were revealed — how could I not have known anything? The word ‘betrayal’ isn’t strong enough. I felt embarrassed for having been so deceived. I felt betrayed by many people around me. … Initially, I thought we had a chance, and we tried really hard.”
She then spoke of the “emotional roller coaster” she’s been on since last Thanksgiving night. She says she did not attack Woods or cause him to drive into a tree as he left their Orlando home.
“There was never any violence inside or outside our home,” she says. “The speculation that I would have used a golf club to hit him is just truly ridiculous. Tiger left the house that night, and after a while when he didn’t return, I got worried and decided to look for him. That’s when I found him in the car. I did everything I could to get him out of the locked car. To think anything else is absolutely wrong.”
Ultimately, she decided to divorce Woods despite his public apology and attempts to win back her trust. She purchased a home in her native Sweden and, according to some reports, got as much as $100 million in the divorce settlement. She and Woods will share custody of their two children, daughter Sam, 3, and son Charlie, 1.
I have been through the stages of disbelief and shock, to anger and ultimately grief over the loss of the family I so badly wanted for my children. I am now going to do my very best to show [the children] that alone and happy is better than being in a relationship where there is no trust,” she says.
The 30-year-old mother of two, who is studying towards a college degree in psychology, says that despite her ordeal, “I also feel stronger than I ever have. I have confidence in my beliefs, my decisions and myself.”
She credits her children, family, friends and therapy with helping her through the turmoil. She tells of her sadness on one particular day after leaving her husband. “I wasn’t crying, but I was thinking and was sad.” Sam asked her: “Mommy, where is your boo-boo?”
“I smiled at her and said, ‘Mommy’s boo-boo is in her heart right now, but it will be better.’ She looked at me and said: ‘Can Sam kiss it and make it better? Or maybe popcorn will.'”
Nordegren says forgiveness is the next step.
“I know I will have to come to forgiveness and acceptance of what has happened for me to go on and be happy in the future,” she says. “And I know I will get there eventually.”