What’s next for Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods?
This morning, Tiger Woods has said he is sorry, not just for crashing his car early in the morning the Friday after Thanksgiving, but for all of the “intimate details of [their] personal lives.” Since he’s asking for “the right to some simple, human measure of privacy”, the 33-year-old golfer with the wholesome image did not reveal details of several rumored affairs.
“I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.”
While he’s sidestepping the real story, women who allege that they’ve been involved with Woods are divulging all kinds of details.
Jaimee Grubbs, a cocktail waitress who says she’s had an on-and-off again affair with Woods for three years, shared sexual text messages he sent to her. The woman who formerly appeared on the VH1 show “Tool Academy” is now also revealing a message she says is from Woods asking her to take her name off of her voicemail because his wife was going through his phone.
Rachel Uchitel, another woman said to be involved with Woods, has denied the affair. Other sources connect Uchitel not only to Woods but to Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. Uchitel says that feeling overwhelmed by the press led her to secure legal representation by attorney Gloria Allred.
While the audience is waiting for more information to surface from Woods and the women he may have been involved with, I’d like to turn my attention Elin Nordegren, Tiger’s wife and mother of their 2-year-old daughter Sam and 9-month-old son Charlie.
Immediately following the accident, Woods praised his wife’s actions, saying, “The only person responsible for the accident is me. My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false.”
But questions about whether Elin inflicted the wounds on Woods’ face and if she is responsible for hammering out the car window with a golf club have countered her husband’s statement. Known to be a very private person, she has purposely not paraded herself or her children in front of the camera.
Certainly, Tiger Woods as we’ve known him, has vanished. But who will Elin be as this private matter-gone-public continues to unfold?
Elin has now been thrust into the spotlight. It would be easy to judge Elin for the choices she makes. After all, we’ve done it before, scrutinizing whether women made more famous by their husbands’ affairs have chosen to walk away or stand by their man.
Let’s remember Jenny Sanford, wife of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford. Even after Sanford publicly apologized to his mistress before his wife after being caught in an affair, she spoke up about how she was working through the personal matter. Although she referenced forgiveness and reconciliation, she took a mama-bear stand for the well-being of herself and her children.
“We reached a point where I felt it was important to look my sons in the eyes and maintain my dignity, self-respect, and my basic sense of right and wrong. I therefore asked my husband to leave two weeks ago,” she said.
On the other hand, Elizabeth Edwards–who has spoken out strongly during the many chapters of husband John Edwards’ affair and possible parenthood of an out-of-wedlock child with his mistress–has been criticized for sticking with her marriage.
Years later, Hillary Rodham Clinton is still saddled with criticism for staying with Bill Clinton through his infidelities. More recently, Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa Bryant and David Letterman’s wife Regina Lasko have taken heat for remaining in their marriages after their spouses’ affairs have been aired in the media. Somehow, Fergie seems to have escaped much of the same scrutiny after standing by husband Josh Duhamel, reported to have a one-nighter with a stripper after only 9 months of marriage.
I am not going to opine about whether Elin should or should not stick with her husband (although early reports are saying she’s planning to stand by him, after a revision of the prenup). Instead, I say that she should do whatever it is she has to do. If that is taking the tool of her husband’s trade to smash the window of his Cadillac Escalade, so be it. If that is combing through his phone and dialing up any suspicious numbers, go to it. If that is trying to work through it (hopefully, with help of a professional), then help yourself. If that is to handle it behind closed doors, then do that.
Although none of us is in the relationship with Tiger and Elin, many of us certainly have been in that situation. If this statistic is right, that 1 in 4.6 married or cohabitating men have been unfaithful, then big crowds of us can understand any of the choices Elin might make.
While there will certainly be an audience waiting with bated breath to criticize whether Elin stays with Tiger or walks away, I think we should stand by Elin instead. And if she needs a friend to go at the rest of the windows, pass the golf clubs, Elin. I’ve got your back.