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Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren: The Rise and Fall of Golf’s Most Famous Marriage

Lea Lomas

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Tiger Woods is widely considered to be the most accomplished professional golfer for a long time. Raised from childhood as a golf prodigy, Woods has lived his entire life in the public eye. For a long time, Woods stood tall as a bastion of the squeaky-clean athlete that so many people love. Unfortunately, in 2009, his entire world would fall in on itself as a monster bombshell dropped, thus threatening his marriage to Elin Nordegren. Today, we are going to look at the rise and fall of Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren’s relationship and how one dark moment changed it all!

Meet Young Tiger Woods

Before we can discuss the high-profile marriage and divorce of Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, we must first have a solid understanding of who they are as people. Tiger Woods has been raised almost since birth to be the greatest golfer on the planet. Widely considered to be a child prodigy, Woods grew up under the public spotlight.

Raised To Be A Child Prodigy

Taught by his father to be a golfer, Woods would end up becoming famous after appearing on The Mike Douglas Show as a kid. Tiger would putt against Bob Hope in a video that has since gone quite viral. At just three-years-old, Tiger would also shoot a 48 over nine holes while golfing at a Navy-affiliated course due to his father’s profession. Needless to say, Tiger has always been pretty good at golf.

Changing the World of Golf Forever

After going pro at the age of 20, Woods would waste no time in taking over the golfing world. Woods found instant success despite his own severely myopic vision. He would become the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in his first season with the PGA. Since then, Woods has earned the title as the greatest golfer in the world thanks to his 18 World Golf Championships. Woods’s impact on the sport would extend off of the links, as well. Woods has been sponsored by just about every company on the planet, or so it seems!

Coming to America From Stockholm

By this point in time, you probably have a solid understanding of who Tiger Woods is. Now, let’s get to know Elin Nordegren. Elin Nordegren was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden. Her mother was a famous politician and her father worked in politics in Washington D.C. Elin was raised alongside a twin sister and an older brother. Her twin sister has a major role to play in this story!

Elin and Tiger Get Together

Elin would spend much of her early life trying to break into the modeling industry. With that being said, Nordegren would graduate from Rollins College in Florida with a psychology degree. She would end up running into Mia Parnevik, wife of golf great Jesper Parnevik, during a shopping excursion. Parnevik would offer Elin a job in America, and they would play a pivotal role in connecting Tiger and Elin.

Tying the Knot Two Years Later

Two years after meeting Tiger Woods and beginning a relationship, the two would end up getting married. For all of the bad news that would follow their marriage, their ceremony at the time was beautiful. Woods was so famous during this point in his life that he had to fight to keep the ceremony under wraps, something that obviously didn’t work.

Building a Beautiful Family

Throughout the span of their six-year marriage, Elin and Tiger would have two children together. Their first child is a girl named Sam Alexis Woods, born in 2007. Their second child is named Charlie Axel Woods, and he was born in 2009, not too long before Tiger and Elin’s famous marital problems would begin.

Getting to Know Elin

At this point in time, everything is going great for Tiger and Elin. Despite rumors floating around that Tiger had been unfaithful, golf’s mega-couple didn’t seem to have a worry in the world. Now sounds like a great time to get to know Elin, that way you’ll understand why she was so hurt by Tiger’s betrayal.

Discovered in Stockholm

Elin Nordegren had been discovered by a famous photographer while attempting a modeling career in Sweden. She would go on to model in several high-profile publications throughout the early aughts, including spreads in Cafe Sport Magazine. Nordegren would give up on the career, however, as she felt that it just wasn’t the right fit for her. We’ll get more into this scandal a little later.

How Elin Entered the Golf World

We’ve already touched upon the fact that Elin and Tiger met through a mutual friend. At the time, Nordegren was working in Champagne, a prominent clothing store in Stockholm. Mia Parnevik came to the business and the two got to talking. After getting to know one another, Mia offered Elin a job back home in America. This was a huge decision for Elin to make. Would she leave her home behind for a job that she hadn’t trained for?

Leaving Behind a Boyfriend

To make matters worse for Elin, she knew that she would have to break things off with her current boyfriend. While his name was never published, you have to feel for the guy she left behind. According to Elin, the idea of a long-distance relationship of that magnitude just would not have worked out. If you are going to get dumped, it might as well be for Tiger Woods!

Elin Becomes the Talk of the Town

After making the move to America, Elin would become the instant talk of the town within the golfing world. According to the Parnevik family, professional golfers from all over the world had wanted to meet Elin. As it turns out, gorgeous models from Sweden are pretty popular among famous athletes! Despite her popularity, Elin bided her time and refused to really engage in a relationship with anyone.

Tiger Eventually Makes His Move

Among the famous golfers that Elin had rebuffed was Tiger Woods himself! According to Mia, Tiger had been trying for an entire year to meet Elin even though he had been dating another woman at the time. Mia claims that Tiger was fine being rebuffed by Elin, but that didn’t mean that he was going to stop trying to win her favor.

Nervous About the High Profile Relationship

Now, we get to the real drama in the story. The reason that Elin Nordegren had been ready to leave modeling behind had everything to do with a scary instance back home. A team of digital artists had created and summarily leaked faked nudes of the model. The pictures were published in a tabloid and Elin was correctly horrified. She would end up suing the publication for damages, winning 125,000 euros while forcing the paper to print an apology. Ever since then, Nordegren had been afraid of being in the public spotlight. Still, Tiger would win her over with his charm and the two would begin dating in 2001.

Proposal at the Presidents Cup

After two years of a relatively quiet relationship, Tiger had apparently won Elin over completely. At this point in time, Tiger and Elin were the darlings of the sports world. Two enormously attractive people at the top of their game? Sign us up! Woods would end up popping the question at the Presidents Cup in 2003. Elin said yes.

Tiger Offers to Keep a Low Profile

Due to Elin’s history with the press, Tiger agreed that they would keep their relationship, marriage, and family off of the radar as much as possible. This would lead Tiger to hide and obfuscate as many details about their wedding ceremony as possible in order to make Elin more comfortable. Unfortunately, photos would still leak from the beautiful ceremony.

Incredible Marriage in Barbados

Tiger and Elin would celebrate their ceremony on the island of Barbados in the Caribbean.  Woods would end up renting out the entire golf resort, including all 110 rooms and three golf courses, for his party. On the day of the wedding, Woods would also send more than 500 roses to Elin’s room as a special surprise. The entire affair is said to have cost Woods more than $2 million.

A Picture Perfect Couple

The wedding was attended by several famous faces as well as those close to Tiger and Elin. The celebration was beautiful and the ceremony was as touching as you’d expect from a pair of superstars. Tiger and Elin made sure that the island was stocked with security so as to limit potential photo leaks. Sorry, these are the best shots that we have!

Enjoying Life in Luxury

After making their marriage official, Elin got to move into Tiger’s high-profile world. Due to her previous scandals with the tabloids, Elin was rightfully nervous about existing in Tiger’s orbit. After all, athletes don’t get much more famous than Tiger Woods. We don’t even need to use his last name, he’s so famous!

Elin’s Previous Run-in With the Media

Even though Elin’s run-in with the tabloids had done some real damage to her mentality, it didn’t mean that she wouldn’t enjoy the luxury. At the time, Tiger had massive estates in Florida, Wyoming, and California. Woods would also purchase an estate in Sweden so that Elin would have somewhere closer to her family to stay.

Things Begin to Fall Apart

Even though Tiger and Elin were the picture-perfect couple, the good times weren’t destined to last. On Thanksgiving Day in 2009, Elin would come across her first tabloid story about Tiger cheating on her with another woman. As a famous athlete, Tiger was always being dragged through the mud in various tabloids. This time, however, something felt different.

Tiger and Elin Have a Row

Tiger and Elin would end up having a huge row in the wake of the story, lending credence to the allegations at the time. According to the rumors, Elin would actually charge at Tiger with a golf club in her hand. For his part, Tiger would drive away in his car. Unfortunately, Woods had been taking prescription sleeping pills, and he would fall asleep at the wheel, causing a minor car crash. Nobody was harmed.

Stepping Away From Golf

With his infidelity now front-page news on ESPN, Woods knew that he had to do something. In order to try and fix his private life, Woods made a public statement that he was stepping away from golf. According to Woods, he needed time away from the game in order to focus on his marraige.

Introducing Rachel Uchitel

Even though Tiger had stepped away from the game, he was still rocked by more breaking news. Soon, stories about his affair with Rachel Uchitel would begin to flood the tabloids. Uchitel would end up as one of the most high-profile names in the list of mistresses that would end up linked to Tiger. Daming reports would come out that Tiger offered Rachel $10,000 to keep the affair to herself. Uh oh.

More Mistresses Start To Show Up

What good is one mistress when you can have a dozen? It didn’t take long for Tiger’s sleazy past to start oozing into the headlines. It quickly became apparent that Tiger had been cheating throughout his relationship with Elin. As it turns out, more than ten women had reported having an affair with Tiger. Among the many women who came forward were Kalika Moquin, Cori Rist, Holly Sampson, Mindy Lawton, and, of course, Rachel Uchitel.

Introducing Jaimee Grubbs

It seemed like there wasn’t a day that would go by without another mistress stepping forward. The next mistress to enter the story would be Jaimee Grubbs, a former cocktail waitress and reality star. According to Grubbs, she and Woods had enjoyed a two-year affair. Jaimee claims that she did not know about Tiger’s marriage. We’re calling bull on that one!

The 11th Mistress Comes Forward

The 11th and final mistress to speak up was Theresa Rogers. Theresa Rogers gave herself the nickname, Cougar, thanks to the age difference she shared with the famous athlete. According to Rogers, Woods had been seeing her for the better part of five years. It’s pretty easy to see that Tiger had a serious problem with infidelity.

Elin Steps Away From the Public

By this point in time, a divorce seemed inevitable. While Tiger had vowed to work on his marriage, Elin didn’t seem too keen on repairing their relationship. Instead of bringing everything to a head, however, Elin opted to sit in the shadows and wait for things to die down a little bit before filing for divorce.

Josefina Comes to the Rescue

Remember Elin’s twin-sister, Josefina? Well, this was her time to shine. Josefina traveled to America from the French Alps in order to spend time with her sister. Also a legal professional, Josefina pushed Elin to separate from Tiger for her own wellbeing. Josefina argued that Tiger hadn’t respected her and that she deserved to be with someone who would!

Divorce Proceedings Get Underway

As the divorce proceedings began, Josefina stayed by Elin’s side. She attended all appearances and court dates as a member of Elin’s legal team. Josefina currently works in a legal office in London, so you know she did a pretty good job during the case. In any event, the divorce proceedings would make headline news around the world.

Walking Away From Tiger

Anytime that you have a rich athlete getting divorced, people begin to wonder about a pre-nuptials arrangement. For Tiger and Elin, there was plenty of money at stake due to the divorce. Some people believed that Elin could win as much as half of a billion dollars during the divorce proceedings!

Tiger Shuts Down the Media

Unfortunately for the detail-minded, Tiger put a lid on the proceedings. The exact settlement that Tiger and Elin would come to has never been revealed to the public. Some people suggest that Elin may have walked away with $100 million while others believe that Elin may have been granted closer to $750 million. In either situation, it was clear that Tiger paid a heavy financial price for his sleazy ways.

Elin and Tiger Agree to Partial Custody

Even though Elin could have shut Tiger out forever, she agreed to give the athlete partial custody to his children. Elin has always believed that Tiger was a good father, so she didn’t want to punish the children for something that they wouldn’t understand. Elin and Tiger have remained on speaking terms for the sake of their children.

Exorbitant Costs For Tiger

More than losing his wife and an unnamed sum of cash in the divorce proceedings, Tiger’s career would nosedive as well. Tiger would lose a significant number of prominent sponsors due to his conduct. Tiger would also struggle in his return to the game. Conservative estimates claim that Tiger lost at least $80 million between sponsorship deals and lost opportunities.

Happily Ever After For Elin

While Tiger has slowly rebounded in the golfing world, Elin wasn’t going to let her ex-husband keep her down. Elin moved on and has since been linked to the NFL player, Jordan Cameron. In fact, Cameron and Elin already have a child together. The two have been together for several years now, and they still look happier than ever!

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