12.02.09

New Details on Tiger's Prenup

The Daily Beast has learned exclusively that the beleaguered golfer is negotiating an immediate $5 million payout to his wife—and revising her prenup to give her as much as $55 million more to stay with him two more years.

TMZ.com reports that Rachel Uchitel, the first of Tiger Woods’ alleged mistresses, has reportedly been in talks with the golfer, and had a half-hour chat with him before canceling the presser. According to TMZ, Uchitel and Woods had also been speaking just before Friday’s mysterious car accident. While TMZ says no monetary exchange has been made, the site does assert that Woods, as well as his representation, knew of her plan to deny the alleged sexual relationship. Meanwhile, The Daily Beast's Gerald Posner has learned exclusively that the beleaguered golfer is negotiating an immediate $5 million payout to his wife—and revising her prenup to give her as much as $55 million more to stay with him two more years.

Traditionally it’s a divorce that makes a financial dent for a wealthy athlete like Tiger Woods. But it appears that in Tiger’s case, it’s going to cost him to stay with his wife, Elin Nordegren, the mother of their two children.

In a statement Wednesday, Tiger said, “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart.” Words are evidently not enough to mollify Elin: The Daily Beast has learned the details of what it’s costing Tiger to keep his marriage intact. A lawyer familiar with the hastily conducted negotiations of the past 72 hours said that as of Wednesday evening Elin has been offered a $5 million payment immediately if she agrees to stay—and her prenuptial agreement is being revised to give her up to an additional $55 million.

There’s a price to having a life turned upside down in the public eye. That’s what the couple is hammering out now.

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When the couple married on Oct. 5, 2004, at the Sandy Lane resort in Barbados, Elin signed a prenuptial agreement reportedly worth $20 million after 10 years of marriage, not considered a large payout for someone who was already as successful as Tiger by then. (The tightlipped Woods camp, almost obsessive about releasing any personal information after Tiger’s blundering interviews with GQ in 1997, has never acknowledged the existence of the first prenup, although it’s been widely reported).

But in light of a string of women coming forward to say they had affairs with Tiger since his marriage, Elin has demanded that the prenup be rewritten, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Bill Zwecker reported Wednesday. “The links legend’s spouse is reportedly being paid a hefty seven-figure amount—immediately transferred [sic] into an account she alone controls—to stick with her husband,” Zwecker wrote. “At this point, the couple needed to remain married for 10 years in order for Woods’ wife to collect a splitsville settlement of $20 million. I’m being told that time frame has been shortened—and the dollar amount increased ‘substantially.’”

The lawyer familiar with the couple’s negotiations told The Daily Beast that Tiger also has agreed to shorten the original prenup to seven years from the date of marriage, meaning it will vest in another two. And the revised agreement provides for a staggered schedule of payments spread out over five years that could be worth upward of $75 million. So for Elin to collect $80 million, she’ll need to stay with Tiger another seven years, be a dutiful wife in showing up with him at social events and in public as if they were still the perfect couple, and sign a nondisclosure form that will prevent her from ever telling her story. Even if she lasts only two more years, she’ll still walk away with nearly twice what she was entitled to under the original prenup.

Tiger’s advisers, who have successfully gotten the couple into counseling sessions, believe that keeping the marriage intact will help Tiger keep his corporate sponsors and bolster his dented image. Elin is herself considered a good asset. She’s never been a publicity hound or used her marriage to make money through self-help books, lecture series, or QVC makeup and jewelry lines. Rather, she’s just maintained a low profile and dedicated herself to being a spouse and mother. As opposed to some other celebrities, like Tom Cruise or Angelina Jolie, Elin has never pushed her kids into the public eye. So, now, if she is persuaded to stay, she knows little will be the same. Her quiet life is finished. A Los Angeles-based paparazzo told me that a photo of Elin and the children would fetch $250,000. Some agencies are offering $100,000 just for tips that pay off with photos.

There’s a price to having a life turned upside down in the public eye. That’s what the couple is hammering out now. Since Tiger Inc. is in crisis, it’s likely she will accept a deal rather than allow her anger and sense of humiliation to prevail. The Woods camp is about to pull off the most expensive “stand by your man” stand ever. (Attempts for any comment from the Woods camp were not successful).

Gerald Posner is The Daily Beast's Chief Investigative Reporter. He's the award-winning author of 10 investigative nonfiction bestsellers, ranging from political assassinations, to Nazi war criminals, to 9/11, to terrorism. His latest book, Miami Babylon: Crime, Wealth and Power—A Dispatch from the Beach, was published in October. He lives in Miami Beach with his wife, the author Trisha Posner.