Tiger Woods' Former Mistress Rachel Uchitel on Why She's Appearing in Doc After Years of 'Shame'
"I needed to take the shackles off and be able to tell my story for me," Rachel Uchitel explained
In a recent interview with Extra, Uchitel — the woman who was at the forefront of Woods' 2009 sex scandal — revealed why it was important for her to finally speak out after spending years "under the shame of what's been going on."
"I have been silent for over a decade now, and I felt that it was really important to me to speak only once in my life because I have spent all these years letting people think what they want to think and say what they want to say," she told the outlet. "I needed to take the shackles off and be able to tell my story for me."
Uchitel, 45, said it was time to "set the record straight on what happened" as she believes that "one moment doesn't define your life."
"I don't like to be branded as a mistress. I don't like to be branded as a homewrecker — that's not who I am," she told the outlet. "I'm a 45-year-old woman. I made one wrong turn 10 years ago … I didn't throw somebody down the stairs. I didn't kill someone. I made a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes."
In 2009, dozens of women came forward alleging that they had sexual relationships with the then-married golfer. A divorce from his then-wife, Elin Nordegren, soon followed, and Woods' career suffered for the decade that followed.
Uchitel admitted that she has not been able to escape the aftermath of the scandal ever since.
"The whole thing has made my life a living hell for the last 10 years," she told Extra, adding, "I made a bad decision. And I regret it, and I'm embarrassed about it ..."
She said she hopes her appearance in the documentary will help people further understand her side of the story and "maybe look inside themselves and realize that maybe they've made a mistake like that."
"I would just hope that maybe at this point, now that everybody knows my name, they might just maybe want to believe me a little bit," Uchitel said in the interview. "That I'm not that awful of a person and they could maybe give me a chance this time around."
On Sunday, HBO will air the first half of the new two-part documentary, Tiger, which will focus on "the rise, fall, and epic comeback" of the 45-year-old star athlete. Uchitel mostly appears in the film's second part.
Directed by Matthew Heineman and Matthew Hamachek, and based on the New York Times bestselling book Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian, the special "is driven by never-before-seen footage and revealing interviews with those who know the golfer best," according to a press release.
"The series paints an intimate picture of the prodigy whose dedication and obsession with the game of golf not only took his fame and success to new heights, but also down a dark, spiraling road that eventually led to a legendary sports comeback, culminated by his victory at the 2019 Masters," reads the synopsis for the show.
Back in 2019, a source close to Woods told PEOPLE that the athlete and father of two is "a completely different person than he was in 2009."
“He was an overgrown boy back then. Now he’s a man.”
Tiger premieres on Jan. 10 and concludes on Jan. 17. Both 90-minute episodes, airing at 9 p.m. ET, will be available to watch on HBO and HBO Max.