For someone who has to read the tabloids every week, yesterday’s People interview with Elin Nordegren was like Tabloid Christmas. We had been holding our breath with suspense for nine months to find out what was going through Elin’s head after she (and the world) found out her now ex-husband Tiger Woods had a secret double life as a man whore. And through the 12-page spread, I laughed and cried and learned a lot about Elin. So after the jump, eight things that surprised us about Elin.
- She’s Not A Biotch. One of the first things that happened when the scandal broke out was that everyone started hypothesizing that Elin went after Tiger with a golf club and some insinuated that she must have been a withholding biotch. When asked if there was anything she wanted to set straight, Elin said, “What comes to mind first is all the speculation that I had somehow used any kind of violence on Tiger. This was one of the things I had the hardest time with people thinking. There was never any violence inside or outside our home. The speculation that I would have used a gold club to hit him is just truly ridiculous.”
- She Isn’t Just A Model/Nanny. To be clear, she has modeled (she did a few shoots in high school, but had no intentions of pursuing it as she “was never very successful at it”) and been a nanny in the past (for Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik’s children for a year), but it was only because she married Tiger when she was 21 years old that she didn’t get to pursue her actual career goals. She had planned to study psychology—which she’s doing now. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being a nanny or a model, but it seems like classifying her as these things is slightly belittling.
- The Kids Rule. Not that there’s any reason to believe they had sucky kids, but Elin told People about how her daughter tried to help and it made my ovaries eat themselves. “Sam came up to me, put her hand on my cheek and said in Swedish, ‘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 and make it better? Or maybe popcorn will.’” Yeah, it doesn’t get much cuter than that.
- She’s Really Smart. Not only is she pursuing a degree in psychology, but Elin speaks Swedish (her native language), English, German, French and Spanish. As a kid, Elin says, “I dreamed of becoming a soccer professional and journalist because I love to write. I knew after high school that I wanted to study psychology. I always loved children and I wanted to study something that could combine the two … I was always going to have a career—with or without Tiger.” Now that she’s not following a frickin’ golf tour, she can do whatever she wants!
- She Doesn’t Hate Tiger. Their relationship is far from repaired, but Elin has worked through the 12 stages with a psychiatrist and is coming up to the last hurdle. “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 said. “And I know I will get there eventually. I wish him all the best in the future, as a person and as an athlete … I feel privileged to have witnessed a part of his golfing career.” And Elin is looking for a home in Florida so that the children can see their father, “I will always have a working parenting relationship with Tiger.” Maybe she’s really media-trained, but I would have at least metaphorically flipped the guy off.
- She’s Not A Gold Digger. I am sure that certain women marry professional athletes for the prestige and money, but apparently Elin didn’t. She said, “I wasn’t interested at first, ironically. I had my opinions about celebrities. I got convinced that we were a lot alike and agreed to date. The biggest reason I fell for him was because we had a lot of fun together.” And now that she’s received a reported $100 million from the divorce settlement, Elin says, “Money can’t buy happiness. Or put a family back together … but I have to be honest: it’s making some things easier. I have the opportunity to be with my children as much as I want.” Um, yeah. And you could do so in a castle with a moat full of naked women so that Tiger would never get in!
- She’s Funny. Usually, people who are attractive and intelligent have crappy senses of humor—this is God’s way of evening things out. But even after all she’s been through, Elin admits she found the “South Park” and “Saturday Night Live” parodies of herself “pretty hysterical, even if they were totally untrue.” I can only assume that she has a good sense of humor if she watches “South Park,” which is far superior to “Family Guy.” Apparently, Elin also enjoys playing practical jokes on her lawyers, Richard Cullen and Dennis Belcher, at McGuireWoods, the firm where her twin sister works in the London office. I imagine these pranks to include “Parent Trap”-esque hijinks.
- She Still Believes In Love. After the truth came out, Elin said, “It seemed that my world as I thought it was had never existed.” And though she’s not interested in pursuing a new relationship just yet, Elin says, “I believe in love because I’ve seen it. I’ve been there.” She still retains her faith in humanity, but now she’s gotten a cynical edge about it, “I always believe the best of people, and when you do that, you’re going to be really screwed sometimes. My fear when this first happened was that I wouldn’t be that way anymore … But I haven’t lost that.”
Come on, if Elin can be positive, I think we all can try a little harder!