Elin Nordegren: My Marriage to Tiger "Wasn't Real"

The golfer's ex-wife opens up about her months of pain and why she now feels stronger than ever

It's the interview that so many have been waiting for. After months of laying low, Elin Nordegren is finally talking about her divorce from Tiger Woods and how she's moving on from their public scandal.

Since the news broke last November that Woods had carried on multiple affairs, his wife has done her best to stay out of the spotlight. But now Nordgren is opening up to People for her first -- and last -- public interview. Over the course of three days, Nordegren, 30 -- whose divorce from Woods, 34, was finalized on Aug. 23 -- talked openly to the magazine about her famous ex-husband, their children, her pain and starting over.

"I've been through hell," Nordegren says. "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." 

So how has Nordegren survived this very public and very painful matter? "First and foremost, my children (3-year-old Sam and 19-month-old Charlie) are the reason I'm getting through this," she says. "Just having them around, hugging me, kissing me, gives me the strength to get through everyday." 

But the former model is finding help, not just from her young children (whom she and Woods will share custody of), but through friends, family and even therapy. Nordegren herself is currently working toward a college degree in psychology and has sought professional help to deal with the life-altering changes that have affected her and her family.

"I have had counseling," she admits. "It is important to have your friends and family's support, but I also think it is very important to have objective help from a professional therapist if possible." 

Nordegren also kept a journal to cope with all of her feelings and says her most important focus is to give herself time to heal. "It's hard to describe the emotional rollercoaster I have been on, and it's not over yet," she says. "I pretty much followed -- and am following -- the stages of grief that I have learned in my psychology studies: shock, bargaining, anger, depression -- and I am still working on the last stage, forgiveness and/or acceptance."

Nordegren, who wed Woods in 2004, says she's not completely ready to forgive him for what he put her and their family through. But she has certainly opted to take the high road. "I wish him all the best in the future, as a person and an athlete," she says. "I will always have a working parenting relationship with Tiger." 

The pro golfer also gave a statement to People. "Elin has shown unwavering concern and support for our children," he said. "She is a wonderful mother. I know that the two of us will do everything we can to help our children adjust to this new family situation."

While it's hard not to feel sadness for the Swedish native, Nordegren is doing her best to stay strong and not play the victim.

"I...feel stronger than I ever have," she says. "I have confidence in my beliefs, my decisions and myself. I know that I have more healing to do, but I am excited to start the next chapter of my life." 

Are you impressed with how Elin Nordegren has handled the scandal? Chime in below!

Like This? Read These:
- What Parents Can Learn from Tiger & Elin's Divorce
- Inside Tiger Woods & Elin Nordegren's Divorce Papers
- Tiger Woods: Golfing Is "Awful" Due to "Distractions"
- Tiger & Elin: Divorce Is Imminent

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