November 29, 2010 | 4:23 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Don’t blame Rachel Uchitel for her adulterous affair with Tiger Woods; she couldn’t help herself—she was under the influence.
Of love, apparently.
“I have an addiction to love,” Uchitel told The Today Show’s Natalie Morales this morning.
Love addiction is the real reason Uchitel tended to Tiger’s lusty needs despite the reality of his marriage, and it’s also why she has chosen to appear on the fourth season of the reality series, “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.”
Uchitel, 35, is the granddaughter of Maurice Uchitel, a Jewish immigrant from Ukraine who parlayed a successful business in women’s shoulder pads into ownership of the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami and the El Morocco nightclub, Manhattan’s society hotspot in the 1930 and 1950s. According to the New York Times obituary, Granddaddy Uchitel was married to Patricia Pollack, a singer, for 34 years but they divorced in 1979.
Rachel Uchitel was engaged to an investment banker but he was killed in one of the World Trade Towers on 9/11.
According to Dr. Drew Pinsky, the innovative medical mind behind “Celebrity Rehab”, Uchitel’s “compulsiveness” in relationships stems from past trauma.
Not that she has any trouble admitting her problem:
“The issues I have related to relationships are absolutely related to a hole I’m trying to fill in my heart,” she said. “Just like some people use other addictions with alcohol or some other substance—I use relationships.”
Uchitel is also pretty deft at using the spotlight. When word broke a year ago that Tiger Woods, the world’s most accomplished pro-golfer, had been inviting a harem’s worth of mistresses into his bed, Uchitel seized upon her time to shine.
“I’m not a home wrecker, gold digger, tramp, whore ... I’m not those things,” she reportedly told OK Magazine in November 2009. “I have very good qualities. When you’re judged by the nation, it’s really difficult. It’s horrible.”
So horrible, her indiscretion landed her a reported $10 million from Woods in exchange for her silence. But loads of cash couldn’t solve all her problems.
On the Today Show, Uchitel’s celebrity shrink savior, Dr. Drew said that the former nightclub hostess had suffered horrific traumas – including the death of her fiancé in the and the loss of her father to cocaine addiction – which complicated her personal relationships.
When looking for love, she was going for intensity, not intimacy, said Dr. Drew.
“It’s been very tough,” Uchitel told Morales. Though she refused to name it, she insinuated that after the Woods scandal, she retreated from public life.
“I became a recluse for about six months,” she said.
Now, her attempt to turn her infamous past into a more famous future will depend on how she fares on the show. Will audiences find her as compelling as Woods did? Or will they empathize with pill poppers over the lovelorn?
“I think that there are so many women that feel misunderstood,” Uchitel said.
“I really hope people will be able to identify what I’ve been going through and help themselves.”
Watch Rachel Uchitel talk love addiction on The Today Show:
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