Elin: “I’ve Been Through Hell”

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elinap Elin: “I’ve Been Through Hell”

Elin Nordegren (AP)

Just two days after Tiger Woods’ divorce was finalized, his now ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, is breaking her silence with an interview in People magazine.

CBS News correspondent Jeff Glor reported on “The Early Show” Wednesday Nordegren is now speaking out for the first time to, as she put it, “set some things straight.”

Nordegren has remained silent since Woods’ extramarital affairs became public. Now, she has decided to share her experience, telling People, “I’ve been through hell. It’s hard to think you have this life, and then all of the sudden — was it a lie? You’re struggling because it wasn’t real.”

Tina Schuchman, a family law attorney, told CBS News, “The sense is that she’s not really in touch with the emotions and what she is feeling about what this whole process has been and I’m sure it’s been extremely traumatic.”

Nordegren says the real story is that she and Woods weren’t arguing the night of the November car crash that sparked the scandal that enveloped Woods. She says she simply didn’t know where Woods was, and discovered him locked in his SUV.

She told the magazine, “There was never any violence inside or outside our home. The speculation that I would have used a golf club to hit him is just truly ridiculous.”

Regarding Woods’ serial infidelity, Nordegren says she actually learned of them as the world did — through tabloid headlines in the weeks that followed.

Nordegren said, “I felt stupid as more things were revealed. How could I not have known anything? The word betrayal isn’t strong enough. I felt like my whole world had fallen apart.”

Nordegren would not disclose any financial settlement, but did say, “Money doesn’t make you happy. … But I have to be honest: It is making some things easier. I have the opportunity to be with my children as much as I want.”

And she credits her children, 3-year-old Sam and 19-month-old Charlie, with getting her through the past nine months.

“Just having them around, hugging me, kissing me, gives me the strength to get through every day,” she said.

Nordegren did speak highly of her husband’s career on the golf course. While he has played some of his worst golf since returning to the game from the break he took in the midst of the scandal, she’s confident he’ll return to form.

“I wish him all the best in the future, as a person and as an athlete,” she told People. “I know he is going to go down as the best golfer that ever lived, and rightfully so. I feel privileged to have witnessed a part of his golfing career.”

Betsy Gleick, executive editor of People magazine, said on “The Early Show” Wednesday that Nordegren, according to the reporter who wrote the piece, is not in denial.

“She is a private person. She’s been reluctant to speak until now,” Gleick said. “But she’s not in a state of denial. She says, this was — she’s just been through the hardest thing she’s ever been through in her life, but that she has survived.”

Gleick said the reporter for People spent 19 hours with Nordegren in “a long get-to-know-us process.”

Gleick said Nordegren is “all about (her) children.”

“She has been and she still is,” Gleick said. “And what she wanted most of all was to keep her marriage together, but once she realized that she couldn’t do that, she still wants there to be two happy parents involved in their children’s lives.”

Gleick said Nordegren is working on a degree in psychology.

“Our reporter found her to be very self-aware,” Gleick said.

“Early Show” co-anchor Harry Smith pointed out that Nordegren decided she would be photographed — but not her kids.

“She’s been private,” Gleick said. “She feels like these children have already been exposed enough. And she is willing to till us her story, but that doesn’t mean she’s interested in showing her children.”

Gleick added that Nordegren wanted to do the interview to clarify that she didn’t know what was going on with Woods.

“She says she was embarrassed that she didn’t know what was going on,” Gleick said. “But she was at home, having babies and taking care of the babies. She says she had no idea.”

Gleick said Nordegren doesn’t plan to do further interviews.  “She wants to say her piece once and for all and then she’s done.”

(© MMX, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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