The US socialite at the centre of the Tiger Woods affair allegations spoke out today to deny she was a “home-wrecker” or “tramp”.
Rachel Uchitel, who reportedly sparked a row between the champion golfer and his wife before his mystery car crash two weeks ago, used a magazine interview to claim she had been cast as “the villain of the story”.
The 34-year-old nightclub hostess told OK! magazine: “In every story you need a villain and a hero. I’ve been characterised as a villain.
“People have called me home-wrecker, gold digger, tramp, whore. I made mistakes, but I’m not those things. I have good qualities.”
She added: “When you’re judged by the nation, it’s really difficult. It’s horrible.”
Ms Uchitel is one of a string of women linked to the world’s highest-paid sportsman since he crashed his car outside his Florida mansion in the early hours of November 27.
Another, cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs, went as far as releasing a phone message reported to be from Woods asking her to cover up over the alleged affair.
She has apologised to the golfer’s wife Elin in an interview with showbiz news programme 'Extra'.
Ms Grubbs said: “I couldn’t describe how remorseful that I am to have hurt her family and her emotionally.”
But she defended herself by saying: “If it wasn’t me, it was going to be the other girls”.
Father-of-two Woods, 33, has not commented directly on the allegations but last week referred to “personal sins” and “transgressions” and apologised for letting his family down.
The damage to his previously wholesome image appears to have begun affecting some of his lucrative endorsements.
Adverts featuring the golfer have apparently disappeared from prime-time television broadcasts in the United States.
Sports drink maker Gatorade this week became the first company to drop its endorsement of Woods, although the firm said its decision was made months ago.
Nielsen, a New York-based consumer research company, has produced a study that shows Woods has not appeared in a prime time television commercial in the United Stated since a November 29 Gillette advert.
A US politician has also retracted his bid to get the sportsman recognised with the US’s highest civilian honour.
California representative Joe Baca had put forward legislation in March calling for Woods to be recognised with a Congressional Gold Medal for promoting good sportsmanship and breaking down barriers.
But in a statement released yesterday he said that he would no longer be pursuing the honour on Woods’ behalf “in light of recent developments”.
Woods was left bloodied and dazed following the crash outside his luxury home.
Medical records listed the reason for his admission to hospital as suspected “OD”, shorthand for overdose, according to showbiz website TMZ.com.
It also reported he was having trouble breathing and that Ms Nordegren gave paramedics two pill bottles, muscle relaxant Ambien and painkiller Vicodin, at the accident scene.