In July 2010 press reports claimed that Tiger Woods is offering wronged wife Elin Nordegren a divorce settlement of hundreds of millions of dollars. Although figures were disputed, a huge sum was apparently being offered by Woods in exchange for wife Elin’s silence.
That’s a very peculiar claim when you think about it.
If there’s one thing Woods hasn’t experienced in relation to his many extra-marital affairs – mainly with porn stars, hookers and various other low-life gold-diggers – it’s silence. Everyone – every TV chain, every newspaper and journal, every mistress – just everyone has had something to report or say about Tiger Wood’s secret and sleazy sex life.
We know he had upwards of 15 lovers while married to Elin, playing the good family man in public and fathering her two children Sam, 3 and Charlie, 1. We saw the parade of big-chested pouting females-on-the-make who sold their bodies and their stories without a thought. We heard endless comment and analysis of Tiger’s sexual choices, the women’s motives, Elin’s next moves, the family’s future, the chance (none) of reconciliation.
Even his mother commented. And Tiger – putting the lid decisively on his new image as the tin man without a heart – went so far as to engineer input from his dead father, using his recorded voice in his tasteless Nike advert, “from beyond the grave”.
So what exactly is the silence he can buy from Elin? What could she possibly say to damage his image any further than he’s wilfully damaged it himself? She can elaborate the many ways in which he lied and cheated, the assurances perhaps that he gave her of his love and fidelity while hopping on and off assorted trollopes and sex workers around the world. She could detail the extent to which he’s broken her heart, ruined her young life, robbed her of trust and obliterated her chance of raising her children in a happy, healthy family.
But Woods is kidding himself if he thinks the world doesn’t understand all that without Elin talking to the press or a publishing house. There is no silence he can buy that will restore his image. And in fact it’s revealing if he’s truly foolish enough to think that Elin’s discipline in maintaining a silence could ever make up for his mammoth sexual incontinence – and betrayal.
And that’s the substance of this saga – not the brassy big-chested females but the cheating and betrayal.
No-one minds when men like George Clooney say they’re not the marrying kind. They’re not hoodwinking women or bedding them under false pretences.
Many commentators, mostly men I’ve noticed, have said that Elin doesn’t deserve a huge divorce settlement – that she wasn’t with Tiger that long (six years), that she didn’t contribute to his wealth, that no-one should get millions in a divorce.
Leaving aside the actual sums, because in any divorce they’re partly determined by an individual couple’s wealth, those commentators miss the point. Elin clearly wanted a genuine marriage and a secure family and Tiger Woods offered both. He was deceiving her and that deceit has taken away her chance to choose a decent husband and father for her children. That’s not something that will ruin her summer – it’s something that will ruin her life. OK, hopefully she’ll rebuild. But she’ll never have the uncomplicated marriage and family Tiger Woods led her to believe she was getting. She’ll always be linked to the creep by the two children. She’ll no doubt have real trouble trusting another man. And she’ll quite possibly end up in a “blended” family with half-siblings and step-siblings. Its a pretty safe bet that he never proposed any of that to her at the outset.
Elin will get a huge sum when she divorces Woods. She’ll also get houses the couple own in her native Sweden. Tiger will keep the Jupiter Island, Florida house, said to be worth $80 million, and a Los Angeles apartment.
But however vast the sum which changes hands both Elin and Tiger will lose in this divorce. Money won’t restore her chance to have a happy uncomplicated family. And her silence won’t restore Tiger’s previous image as a man with integrity. Both Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods have lost very significant things in this marriage, things that money can’t buy.