WINDERMERE, Fla. – Tiger Woods' ex-wife Elin Nordegren said she has "been through hell" since her husband's infidelity surfaced but she never hit him, according to an interview released today.
Nordegren told People magazine she and Woods tried for months to reconcile the relationship. In the end, a marriage "without trust and love" wasn't good for anyone, she said.
On Thanksgiving night outside their Florida home, Woods drove his SUV over a fire hydrant and into a tree, setting off shocking revelations that sports' biggest star had been cheating on his wife through multiple affairs. The couple officially divorced Monday.
Nordegren told People that she never hit Woods on the night of the car crash.
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"There was never any violence inside or outside our home," she said. "The speculation that I would have used a golf club to hit him is just truly ridiculous."
Nordegren said Woods left the house that night and when he didn't return after a while, she got worried and went to look for him. She said that's when she found him in the car.
"I did everything I could to get him out of the locked car," she said. "To think anything else is absolutely wrong."
The magazine said the interview was conducted over four visits lasting a total of 19 hours at the rented Windermere, Fla., home where she now lives with their two children.
"I've been through hell," she said. "It's hard to think you have this life, and then all of a sudden — was it a lie? You're struggling because it wasn't real. But I survived. It was hard, but it didn't kill me."
In an interview on NBC's "Today" show this morning, People magazine reporter Sandra Sobieraj Westfall said Nordegren and her team approached the magazine.
Westfall said Nordegren wanted people to know three things: she's not violent and never hit Woods; she had no idea this was going on; and it was a real marriage for her.
Nordegren and Woods were married Oct. 5, 2004, in Barbados and have a 3-year-old daughter, Sam, and an 18-month-old son, Charlie.
In the interview, Nordegren would not disclose the amount of the divorce settlement but did say "money can't buy happiness or put my family back together."
"I'm so embarrassed that I never suspected — not a one. For the past 3 1/2 years, when all this was going on, I was home a lot more with pregnancies, then the children and my school."
Woods, who is playing in golf tournament in New Jersey this week, has not yet commented on the couple's divorce.
Nordegren said she would eventually come to forgive Woods but that she is still working on it.
"Forgiveness takes time," she said. "It is the last step of the grieving process."
In the meantime, the Swedish-born Nordegren said she is excited to start the next chapter of her life and intends to stay in the U.S. with her children.
She also said she's "not watched one minute of golf."