A near-fatal car crash that injured Tiger Woods on Tuesday marks yet another chapter in the legend's turbulent life following his meteoric rise to international fame, spectacular fall from grace and a stunning comeback in 2019. The 15-time major winner's life has always been at the center of intense media attention given his multiple affairs, off-the-course controversies and much-hyped divorce.
Woods, 45, had to be cut free by fire crews after his vehicle rolled over and suffered severe damage and is undergoing surgery, with the world and the many women in his life praying for his recovery. And one of the first among them was his former mistress Rachel Uchitel, who expressed her shock and disbelief at his horrific car crash. But Uchitel is just of the many women who claim to have been the golf superstar's mistress when his marriage to Elin Nordegren fell apart in 2009.
Shocking images of Wood's damaged car following the accident in Los Angeles brought alive the dreadful memories of a similar crash he suffered in 2009 when he hit a fire hydrant outside his Orlando, Florida home. That was when Woods was chased out of his Florida home by Nordegren over his numerous affairs that eventually led him to admit about his infidelity and drug use.
Although Woods reportedly has since settled down in his personal life, he continues to make headlines because of his dark past involving many women, who continue to admire him, both on and off the course. On Tuesday, moments after the crash, Uchitel, speaking to the New York Post, said: "Obviously hearing the news has shaken me up as it's probably shaken everybody up to see that. Hearing [agent Mark Steinberg] say that he's in surgery for his legs is something that really worries me and when you hear a comment like that you know it's true."
Uchitel, who is now praying for his speedy recovery, opened for the first time in a TV interview for the HBO documentary on Woods that released last year. Their affair became public after Woods invited her to join him on the Australian Masters in 2009, the same year in which his marriage to Nordegren fell apart.
His Many Mistresses and Affairs
Uchitel is just one of the many women who came into the golfer's life at the peak of his career. Woods presently is dating 35-year-old Erica Herman.
Woods is said to have met Herman while she was serving him at a restaurant. The affair became official in 2017 during the President's Cup in New Jersey where Herman was spotted alongside Woods sporting a badge typically reserved for the girlfriends and wives of players.
Herman has since been living with Woods and has quit her job as a restaurant manager.
That said, Herman isn't again the first woman to have come into the legendary golfer's life post his divorce. Woods dated professional skier Lindsey Vonn from 2012 to 2015. The two first met at a charity event in 2012 and made public appearances but the relationship ended in a sad breakup.
"After nearly three years together, Tiger and I have mutually decided to end our relationship. Unfortunately, we both lead incredibly hectic lives that force us to spend the majority of our time apart," Vonn said in a statement at the time.
However, Vonn has always maintained that she cherishes the memories spent with Woods and will continue to have immense respect for the golfer. Moments after the Tuesday's crash Vonn tweeted: "Praying for TW right now."
Marriage and Infidelity
Woods married former Swidish model Nordegren in 2004 after meeting her in 2001 when she was working as a nanny for golfer Jesper Parnevik at a gold tournament. The two started dating and got engaged in 2003. Following their marriage, they had two children together, Charlie, 12, and 13-year-old daughter Sam.
Woods at that time was also at the peak of his career and was leading a happy family life. However, his personal life was left shattered forever in 2009 when when over a dozen women came forward, claiming to have had sexual relations with Woods.
Uchitel was the one with whom Woods was having an affair at that time and Woods was chased out of his home by Nordegren when the golfer met with a car crash outside his Florida home. The following year the two divorced, with Nordegren reportedly walking away with $125 million.
The split also coincided with Woods' fall from the peak in professional life before making an epic comeback in 2019. Although the couple split, the two have spoken positively about each other in recent years and kept things on friendly terms. In April 2020, Woods even shared a photo with his two children on Instagram, writing, "Masters Champions Dinner quarantine style. Nothing better than being with family."