Stephen M. Silverman
December 11, 2009 08:40 AM

Lover, yes. Paid escort, no.

That’s what Las Vegas cocktail hostess and alleged Tiger Woods mistress Jamie Jungers is saying in a round of media appearances.

Set to be seen Friday night on NBC’s Dateline special “The Secret Life of Tiger Woods” (it airs 9 p.m. ET), Jungers made her live TV interview debut Friday morning on the Today show – “to clear the air,” she told host Meredith Vieira, “to make all these false rumors in the past.”

Jungers, 26, said she met Woods in 2005 at a nightclub party to celebrate the charity for which she was working at the time. He saw her across the room and asked to meet her. She couldn t believe she was meeting Tiger Woods – although, she said, “I’m not a huge sports fan.”

They drank and hung out, she said, and ended up in bed that first night. “The more we drank, the more flirtatious it got,” she said.

He then pursued her, she said, telling her he wanted to get to know her better. He also asked that she use a fake name to identify him on her cell phone.

Escort Service

The 600-lb. elephant in the room, however, is whether Jungers was part of an escort service that allegedly often collected money from the golf champ. Jungers vehemently denies the label that she s an escort. In terms of financial gain, “I got nothing from this relationship – except a broken heart,” she told Vieira.

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“I’m obviously gonna bring my lawyer into this and make sure that whoever is making these accusations will pay for it, because that s 100 percent false,” she tells Dateline. “I have nothing to do with prostitution and never have, never will.”

In an interview with Access Hollywood, former Hollywood madam Michelle Braun claimed two of her employees – Holly Sampson, a porn actress, and Jungers – had been paid escorts for Woods.

As for evidence that the women were in her employ, Braun – who said there were “about a half dozen more” women who were paid to keep Woods company – told Access, “I’ve got e-mails referencing them from clients and 1099 [forms]. They were filed with IRS.”

Jungers, who said she broke off the relationship with Woods when he said he could not help her out financially, told Vieira about Braun, “I never even heard the woman s name.”

Timing of Affairs

In a widely circulated video clip from an adult Web site, Sampson has claimed that her sexual relationship with Woods occurred before his marriage to Elin Nordegren. (The two wed in October 2004.)

In the Dateline interview, Jungers said her relationship with Woods took place during his marriage – in fact, it was reported on Today, shortly after his wedding.

In response to a question asking if she might owe Nordegren an apology for carrying on with her husband, Jungers tells Dateline, “No, I don’t. I feel like that’s his business. Everybody makes mistakes. This wasn’t something that I did yesterday or a month ago or a year ago. This was years ago. I was younger. And I’m not saying that what I did then was right. But I’m certainly not gonna say that it was wrong.”

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Besides, she says, there was affection involved. “It was way more than sex,” said Jungers. “It was very … it was very emotional. I mean, we had … I had a lot of feelings towards him. And he showed me that he had a lot of feelings towards me. It wasn’t just a sexual situation. It was … I believe, it … it was love. I loved him. I still love him.”

As for her current feelings toward Woods in light of reports of his alleged widespread womanizing, Jungers said: “I definitely look at him a lot differently after hearing about all the other girls. And I really don’t know what to think about Tiger … I hope for his sake and for his family s sake that things work out for him.”

Rachel Uchitel Offended

In related news, Rachel Uchitel, who also has been linked in the scandal involving the world’s No. 1 golfer, is lashing out after a comment was made about her on a daytime chat show Thursday.

A statement released to news outlets by her attorney, Gloria Allred, said, in part: “Today on The View on ABC television a co-host called our client a ‘hooker’ … This statement about Ms. Uchitel is false and defamatory and highly offensive to her.”

“Even if the host said it in a joking way,” the statement continued, Uchitel – who handles VIP clients at a New York nightclub – “is not amused, because she values her reputation and her reputation has been damaged by this statement as it is completely false.”

A retraction has been demanded.

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