Even in the era of Mel Gibson rants and Lindsay Lohan escapades, it’s difficult to remember anyone who has suffered as much public humiliation as Elin Nordegren. It’s not uncommon for celebrities to cheat, but the depth and breadth of Tiger Woods’ infidelities were astounding. Nordegren was the subject of speculation for months over whether she’d stay or go.
Yesterday, quietly, she confirmed what we’d all figured for months: She’s going. But the way in which she handled this entire scandal, with grace and with an admirable eye toward how her conduct would affect her young children, astounded me.
She did not publicly denounce Woods, though he deserved it. She also didn’t simply walk away with her hand out behind her, waiting for the settlement. She struck a balance between dignity (not easy to retain when your husband’s dirty texts have become the web’s favorite reading material) and reality (she went to counseling to try to save the marriage—not many would do that).
Many people, me included, would have wanted to publicly shame the person who had humiliated them. But Nordegren kept in mind that person was also the father of her children.
She let him speak for himself, but not for her. She protected her children and continued to care for them at the height of all the tabloid madness. And she enrolled in classes at a local college when it became clear that she and Woods would not be staying together.
She didn’t sell her story to the tabs. She has never made excuses for all those pre-Tiger bikini pictures. She also didn’t make excuses for Woods. She leaned heavily on her mother for support during this nightmare.
Does Nordegren deserve $750 million? Well, I’m not sure anyone deserves *that* much money. But she’s certainly earned my respect. Too bad her husband had to show himself to be a louse to show just how classy she is.