MIAMI: Tiger Woods’s ex-girlfriend has filed a lawsuit seeking to be released from a nondisclosure agreement she says the golf superstar made her sign at the start of their relationship in 2017, court filings showed Wednesday.
Erica Herman, who lived with the 15-time major winner at his Florida mansion until late 2022, filed the request in the Circuit Court of the 19th Judicial Circuit in Martin County, Florida.
According to court records seen by AFP, Herman’s attorneys are arguing that the NDA she was required to sign is “invalid and unenforceable” under US federal legislation known as the Speak Out Act.
The law, which became effective last year in the wake of the MeToo movement, makes nondisclosure agreements unenforceable in cases involving sexual assault and harassment.
Herman’s case filings do not go into further details and there are no specific allegations against Woods.
But in response to a question on the court filing which reads “Does this case involve allegations of sexual abuse?” Herman’s attorneys have checked the box marked “Yes”.
Herman’s bid to waive her NDA agreement marks an escalation of a legal dispute with Woods which began last October, but which has gone largely unreported in the US media.
In court filings also seen by AFP, Herman’s lawyers have sued the Jupiter Island Irrevocable Homestead Trust, which is the legal entity that owns Woods’s home in Florida.
Herman’s suit alleges that “agents” for Woods duped her into leaving the mansion last year by telling her to prepare for a vacation.
“By trickery, agents of the defendant (Woods) convinced the plaintiff (Herman) to pack a suitcase for a short vacation and, when she arrived at the airport, they told her she had been locked out of her residence,” the court filing said.
Herman’s lawyers claim Woods is in violation of an “oral tenancy agreement” allowing her to live in the mansion — reportedly worth $54 million — and are suing for damages.
The legal dispute threatens to drag Woods’ private life into the media spotlight once again, 14 years after the sex scandal which almost destroyed his career and shocked the sporting world.
Woods squeaky clean image imploded in 2009 after revelations of multiple infidelities, leading to his divorce from his first wife Elin Nordegren in 2010.
Since that scandal, Woods has slowly rebuilt his career, winning the Masters in 2019 to complete a fairytale comeback after years of injuries and multiple surgeries.
He faced a fresh setback in 2021 when he was involved in a serious rollover crash in California which again imperilled his playing career before making another comeback to major championship golf last year at the Masters.
The golfing icon is not playing at this week’s Players Championship in Florida but is on record as stating that he hopes to play in April’s Masters in Augusta.