A child of divorce, Nordegren grows up with her twin sister Josefin and older brother Axel in a well-educated family just outside Stockholm, Sweden. Her father, Thomas Nordegren, is a well-known Swedish journalist and her mother, Barbro Holmberg, is a distinguished politician and public servant.
As a teen Nordegren is discovered by a famous photographer, which leads to a brief modeling stint along with her twin sister. But soon Nordegren pursues her true ambition – child psychology – by enrolling at Sweden's prestigious Lund University.
Nordegren drops out of school after her freshman year and moves to Florida to work for Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik, who introduces his au pair to Tiger Woods. The two embark on a nearly three-year courtship before becoming engaged in November 2003.
The former Nordic model and Tiger Woods tie the knot by the 19th hole of the Sandy Lane resort in Barbados in a lavish wedding attended by Woods's high-powered pals Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley.
Joyful news arrives for the Woods family as they welcome their first child, daughter Sam Alexis. Two years later, on Feb. 8, 2009, son Charlie Axel joins the brood. "Being a father is the most significant thing I've ever done," the intensely private Woods tells PEOPLE. "People say I was born to play golf, but I think I was born to be a dad."
It would become the crash that was heard around the world: Days after Nordegren finds Woods passed out in his black Escalade after a car accident outside their Windermere, Fla., home, allegations that the golfer cheated on Elin with countless mistresses (including nightclub hostess Rachel Uchitel) emerges. "I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart," he writes on his website.
Woods calls a press conference, where his mother, Kultida, sits front row and Nordegren is noticeably absent. Reading from a prepared statement, Woods admits his serial infidelities: "I want to say to each of you, simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior. I have let you down. I have let down my fans."
After months of speculation, Woods and Nordegren finalize their divorce. "We are sad that our marriage is over and we wish each other the very best for the future," the exes say in a joint statement. Though the divorce settlement remains undisclosed, reports suggest Nordegren could receive anywhere from $100 million in assets to as much as five times that figure.
With her marriage to Woods over, Nordegren finally speaks about her nine-month ordeal. "I have been through the stages of disbelief and shock, to anger and ultimately grief over the loss of the family I so badly wanted for my children," the 30-year-old mother of two tells PEOPLE in an exclusive cover story. "I also feel stronger than I ever have." Nordegren, who is studying towards a college degree in psychology, also says her "immediate plan" is to help her children adjust to their "new situation."
Almost a year after her divorce is finalized, Nordegren begins dating investor Jamie Dingman. "It's fun and she's happy," a source tells PEOPLE. But 10 months later, the pair splits, with friends of the model saying, "It was just too early [after the divorce] for her to get serious with anyone." In 2013, Nordegren moves on with another billionaire, coal magnate Chris Cline.
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): STLA/Fame; Getty; Steve Dennett/Splash News Online; Gretchen Dow Mashkuri/WireImage; Lori Moffett/AP; INF