Born in Stockholm, Elin Nordegren was, at various times, a model, a university student, and nanny to Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik. Through the Parneviks she met her future husband, Tiger Woods. The couple had two children before his infidelity came to light and they divorced. Her financial settlement is rumored to be one of the biggest ever.
Model. Born Elin Maria Pernilla Nordegren on January 1, 1980, in Stockholm, Sweden. Nordegren is only moments older than her twin sister, Josfin. The two grew up in Vaxholm, Sweden, a small town outside of Stockholm, with their parents and older brother, Axel. Their father, Thomas Nordegren, is one of Sweden's best-known journalists. Their mother, Barbro Holmberg, has had a distinguished career in public service. The couple divorced when Elin was 6 years old.
Smart and active, Nordegren played soccer for many years. She spent some time living in Berlin with her father after he landed a job there in 1997. Returning to Sweden, Nordegren was soon discovered by a famous photographer named Bingo Rimer. She appeared on the cover of a Swedish magazine in 2000, wearing a bikini. Nordegren, however, had no great ambitions about becoming a model. She enrolled at Lund University to pursue her dream of becoming a child psychologist.
During her first year of university, Nordegren worked at a popular clothing store in Stockholm. She was no stranger to hard work, having taken numerous summer jobs in the past to support herself. One day Nordegren met Mia Parnevik, wife of Swedish pro golfer Jesper Parnevik, at the store. Parnevik liked Nordegren, and eventually hired her to be as one of the nannies for the couple's four children. In 2001, Nordegren moved to Florida to work for the Parneviks.
Marriage to Tiger Woods
Initially Nordegren had no interest in golf, or golfers. She had a boyfriend back home when she first met Tiger Woods at the 2001 British Open. Even after that relationship dissolved, Nordegren was slow to warm to Woods. She turned him down the first time he asked her out, but he eventually won her over.
In 2002, Nordegren made her first public appearance as Woods' girlfriend during the Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando, Florida. The couple also spent Christmas together in Sweden that year. During their courtship, Nordegren kept out of the limelight, refusing to answer any questions from reporters. Even to those on the professional golf tour she remained an enigma. "When she started dating Tiger, it was like there was an unwritten agreement she wouldn't say anything to anyone. She's still nice, but when you talk to her, you don't get anything out of her," one golfer told Sports Illustrated.
During a trip to a South African game reserve in November of 2003, Nordegren accepted Woods' marriage proposal. They married the following year at the Sandy Lane resort in Barbados. Approximately 200 friends and family members attended the sunset ceremony, including basketball greats Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley.
In 2006, Nordegren became the subject of a false story in an Irish publication. The magazine claimed that she had posed naked, and that images of her appeared on pornographic websites. She and her husband fought these allegations in court, and won. They were awarded $183,250 in the case. That same year, Woods suffered a great personal loss when his father died of cancer.
Nordegren and Woods welcomed their first child, daughter Sam Alexis, in June 2007. They continued to grow their family with the arrival of son Charlie Axel in February 2009. Later that year, however, Nordegren's seemingly happy family life was upended by the discovery of her husband's infidelity. The news surfaced after a strange incident that November.
Husband's Infidelity and Scandal
In the early hours of November 27, 2009, Woods crashed his car into a pole just outside the driveway of his family's Florida home. The back window of the car had been smashed out. A neighbor called the police to report the incident. Woods claimed that his wife broke the back window with a golf club to help rescue him from the vehicle. Rumors swirled, however, that she had damaged the car out of anger. News of Woods' relationship with Rachel Uchitel, a New York City club hostess, soon surfaced.
Nordegren remained silent in the following days and weeks, as a number of other women stepped forward to admit that they had been involved with her husband as well. The only public statement she made during this time was a letter to the other parents at her daughter's preschool, written with her husband. Together they apologized to the parents for "any inconvenience you are experiencing due to the increased media scrutiny surrounding our children," according to People magazine.
While Woods has undergone treatment, and publicly apologized for his affairs, Nordegren continued with divorce proceedings. She bought a home near Stockholm shortly after her husband's dalliances became public, and she chose to spend her 30th birthday with her twin sister, skiing in the French Alps in January 2010. When Woods went to play at the Masters golf tournament in April, Nordegren chose not to attend. She traveled with the children to Sweden, and to visit her brother in Shanghai.
In August 2010, the couple's divorce was finalized. Nordegren recieved custody of both children, and a settlement of $750 million from Woods—one of the largest divorce settlements in American history.
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