Dec. 4, 2009— -- Elin Nordegren was known as the stunning blonde who fiercely guarded her family's privacy and seemed to prefer her famous husband Tiger Woods' shadow to the public eye.
"Tiger Woods is the visible part of this relationship. She's behind the scenes on greens," Jason Sobel, who covers golf for ESPN.com, said, adding that she has done no interviews since marrying Woods in 2004.
Nordegren, who turns 30 on New Year's Day, is 10 minutes older than her twin sister, Josephine. Her well-known family lived in a small coastal town outside Stockholm.
"Elin comes from an educated family," Sobel said. "Her father is a journalist in D.C., her mother is a former politician in Sweden. They divorced many years ago."
The former swimsuit model never wanted a flashy celebrity life, according to a photographer who worked with Nordegren during her brief modeling career. Instead, she left the fashion world to study child psychology.
But then a chance encounter led to a job as an au pair to a Swedish golfer, Jesper Parnevik. In 2001, Parnevik introduced her to Woods.
Nordegren reportedly said "no" when Woods first asked her out.
"When she first moved to states, she made fun of golfers [and their] funny clothes," Sobel said.