You can label Rachel Uchitel a lot of things: mother to 8-year-old daughter Wyatt Lily, spokeswoman for the dating site “Seeking” and the ultimate headline grabber—please, just don’t call her a “homewrecker.”
That epithet, which she has had to endure from gossip magazines and internet trolls for the last decade is old news and needs to buried once and for all.
“Stop shaming me for a mistake that happened 10 years ago,” Uchitel tells CELEB. “The reality is those whom we call homewreckers, and other damaging names, are real people. I’m not even an actress or well known and people make me into this monster just because [Tiger] was so famous. It ruined my life. And I’m still trying to get out of the cloud.”
The former New York-Las Vegas nightlife executive was thrust into the spotlight in 2009 when it was revealed that she, and one of the most famous athletes of all time, golfer Tiger Woods, were having an affair while he was married to then wife Elin Nordegren. In what would become the biggest scandal in the world, Uchitel was attacked from all sides, overnight. When the hysteria finally died down, Uchitel got married and divorced, had a daughter, opened a children’s clothing boutique and even wrote a book, all while wearing a modern-day version of the scarlet letter. This time it was a “T” for Tiger.
In 2021, Uchitel is waging an all-out war against shaming. She had always kept quiet about her side of this high-profile story but starting with an appearance in January’s HBO documentary Tiger, she is finally speaking out about not just the scandal but the psychological aftermath and her rebirth. She also hopes to empower other women who are struggling.
“The hurt and the anger of having people speak about me was so mentally decapitating,” she says. “It takes down your spirit. That’s why I spoke in the HBO documentary, because I just felt like I had to tell my story. And then after that, the mania got insane again, and people quickly forget #MeToo and go straight to a double standard, where the woman really is forgotten in this whole thing. The man gets to have a comeback, and the woman has to be shamed. People forget that there were two people equally involved and the man gets to be a hero and the woman has to be a monster.”
The high-profile scandal made all aspects of life difficult, including dating and the ability to have a healthy relationship.
Like 40 percent of Americans, Uchitel uses dating apps to meet potential partners and discovered that, while there were many pros and cons to the way people hook up in the modern tech world, there isn’t a lot of transparency in what people are looking for.
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When she joined elite dating site Seeking Arrangement, which has often been criticized for promoting transactional sugar daddy and sugar baby relationships, the Daily Mail called her out on it. Then Brandon Wade, the CEO of Seeking, found out and signed her up as a spokesperson instantly.
“They contacted me after a Daily Mail article tried to shame me for being on the site,” she says.
Wade felt that Seeking Arrangement, which brands itself as being for those who are seeking “mutually beneficially” relationships, was due for a rebrand and as Uchitel was undergoing her own rebrand—it became a match made in heaven.
“He obviously saw that in the last 10 years, people have given me a stigma. And they’ve given his website a stigma. And he’s no dummy. He thought, ‘maybe we can do this together,’” she says.
Uchitel knew she could be his voice for change.
Seeking allows you to choose unabashedly what you want in a date, including everything from “non-monogamous” and “fine dining” to “passport ready” and “trans-friendly.” You can also put in a desired income bracket. It gives the option to pick potential dates by parameters such as “Looks and Charm” or “Success and Wealth”—but Uchitel says it empowers all to be upfront about what they want in advance.
“Everyone likes to have an opinion, and talk about this. But no one wants to be transparent about their own lives,” she explains.
Uchitel says the taboo comes from vision that people have of an older man and a younger woman and that is associated in some way with money being exchanged.
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“There’s no stigma of men taking care of women. And when you’re in a relationship, men paying for things for their girlfriends, nobody has a problem with that. But any potential age gap is what people are all up in arms about,” Uchitel says. “The only way to have a successful relationship is to put it out there upfront. Because if you go on the fourth date, and you finally realize that that guy lives with his mother, or that he has a porn addiction, or he’s really gay, it’s not going to work out.”
With Seeking you can check all the—honest—boxes.
“I’m going to put it out there and be upfront, because this is what I could give, or this is what I can get. Those are the relationships that are going to successful. And if you’re really transparent upfront, those are the only ways that you’re going to date for success,” she says.
Uchitel is very clear about that fact that this site is not about exchanging money for sex. That it is about being honest about what you want in a relationship to have a successful relationship, whether that is older woman, younger man, dating someone who is financially secure or wanting to travel and go out to nice dinners.
“Everybody has an arrangement in their relationship, otherwise, they’re not figuring out what works for them.”
Choosing Words Wisely
“We are pulling away from the word ‘Arrangement’,” she says, noting that the site has been rebranded to just “Seeking,” in an attempt to steer clear of the gold-digger stigma.
“People should not feel shame that they want to date someone that’s educated and motivated, whether they’re a guy or girl, right? And that they want to take care of someone or be taken care of. There’s nothing wrong with that. There are people that will take advantage of that, and use that in a negative way. And those are the people that ruin it for the rest of us.”
What Rachel Uchitel Looks For in an Arrangement
Uchitel, who is single, says she is in a clear headspace now to know what she wants from a potential date and what she doesn’t want.
“I like a little banter back and forth. They have to be able to give good phone. They must have a personality that catches me right away. I am not necessarily attracted to a picture, because that can be doctored. I’m definitely attracted to someone who is transparent. If you go missing for a certain amount of time, that’s a red flag. I like answering questions and asking questions. It is also a red flag when someone offers up too much information about what they have—homes all over the place, and cars and yachts. I don’t like anybody too flashy. If they shake the piggy bank, it doesn’t have anything in it. I’d like to date somebody with kids because I have one. I like honest and I like confident.”
Dating Advice for Her Daughter
Uchitel hopes to one day empower her daughter with all she has learned about men. And no one will get over on this mama.
“I know men very, very well. I know every scam there is going with men and I know good men. And I know bad men,” she says. “I would want her to be able to pick the right one and not get bogged down with love too early. My biggest piece of advice for her is to have confidence and always be in a place of power, and empowering herself.”
The Next Chapter
Just happy to get out of the last decade, Uchitel feels like she will finally be able to leave the past behind her as new business opportunities pop up as a relationship expert.
“I’m happy to finally have a second act of my life and see a forward road,” she says. “So many people are stuck in a narrative of what happened to them and I think it’s empowering for women to take the reins and say ‘that’s not even who I am so why am I living like that.’ The good things become a whisper in your ear and the bad is like a megaphone. And I have to switch that around and have those whispers become the megaphone.”