Michelle Singletary
Washington Post columnist

Michelle Singletary

Her Post column, "The Color of Money," is syndicated in more than 100 newspapers; her new book, "The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom" will be available in January.

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Not fame, fortune

Q: How much privacy do super-successful public figures deserve? Do the infidelities of Tiger Woods or former presidential candidate John Edwards change your perceptions of them?

Tiger's transgressions and his right to privacy are issues that I addressed at length in my recent e-letter, on What's the price of happiness for Tiger Woods?

Some excerpts:

The athlete himself is suggesting we should separate the Tiger at home from the Tiger on the golf course. He is outraged at the attention to his private life. In a statement, he said: "Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means."

He's right that we don't have a right to pry into his or anyone's personal life. But celebrities willingly put themselves out there for our entertainment and their financial enrichment. The truth is, Tiger could have just played golf and would have still been a multi-millionaire off his tournament winnings alone. Instead, he chose to leverage his celebrity status for even more money.

So, we talk about his situation because he put himself out there. I don't think we should pretend our interest is more highfaluting than that. It's not like we seriously assess Nike products based on Tiger's character.

But more importantly, and the reason why I'm interested in this story, I think it goes to show that fame and fortune alone can't make you happy. Tiger's a reported billionaire, at the top of his game and he's got a host of problems to deal with now.

We may not know exactly what Tiger did or with whom or how many times, but his own admitted "transgressions" show he wasn't happy with what he had.

Let that be a lesson to those of you how think more money is the answer to your happiness.

By Michelle Singletary  |  December 8, 2009; 2:41 PM ET  | Category:  privacy Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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This is what happens when you spend your whole life on the golf course and very little time living in the real world.

Posted by: beenthere3 | December 8, 2009 5:18 PM
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People, it stops being "just a family matter" when you start to cannodle with someone you aren't married to. You don't even have to sleep with them, just do, as Warren Buffet said, "something that you don't want to see on the front page of the Sunday paper". You can do that and stop talking to the people who talk about you because of it, who put you down. that's entirely your right. But you have NO right to expect people to not talk about you. YOU the heel, not them, and YOU are the one who will suffer the fallout from your actions.

Tiger simply doesn't get this.

What I don't get is why this long-running affair is just coming out now. If he really lives under a microscope, how could it not have been news before now? Why did his wife have to find out about it first, then his girlfriend find out that some other woman was holding a press-conference to announce it before *she* came out about it?

Who else knew about this and didn't say a word, out of "respect for Tigers' privacy"? That's the next story here. How much "hush-money" has been spent and where has it been spent, all to allow Tiger Woods to screw around on his wife and family in near-total privacy?

Posted by: dubya1938 | December 8, 2009 4:25 PM
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He just can't claim that what he has done was smart much less ethical. It was wrong, and stupid, on so many levels.

But he is more worried about accusing the public of spying on him than taking care of his own personal business like he should have, and if he HAD done that, then the public wouldn't be so curious about his personal life.

And Tiger Woods is living in a freaking dreamworld if he thinks that he has this all under control. No, quite to the contrary, it is controlling *him*. And I'll bet you $50 in a few years we'll hear more stores about Tiger and other women. A man doesn't cheat on his wife for 3 years with at least one other woman in a long-running affair, get caught, halfway own up to it, and then just "stop", cold-turkey forever. It's just a matter of time. An THAT is the hound that is hunting him that he is trying to run away from, shield himself from, dodge and all that, with all this carping about privacy. He knows what he is and what is likely to happen, and he's just hiding behind a strawman issue. If he had made that declaration about his privacy and his expecations of privacy just like everyone else and how he and his family deserved the same privacy as everyone else, if he had made that declaration a year ago, even 6 months ago, it would have teeth.

At this point it is just bark. A dog barking to cover up its trail. And he needs to come clean for both his sake and his family's sake. All the way clean. Because at this point he is nothing better than a cheating skank trying to cover his trail. He's worse than a bank CEO who just embezzled $1B who is complaining that someone is trying to pick his pocket on the street. It's not that his fame and fortune were obtained at the price of his privacy, no I don't agree with that. I DO think that he is just hiding behind his recently-stated desire for privacy, and if the full set of facts did come out (which needs to happen for his own sake), he's look like a true heel.

It is one thing for a woman to expect privacy from the prying eyes of the world if she's not a threat to the public. Quite another if she's carrying a bomb under her dress and a machine-pistol in her handbag. The catch-22 is how to ensure this while maintaining her personal privacy. People do not hide things from the public ONLY because of the danger the pubic poses to them and no one in the world has an absolute right to personal privacy for that reason. He's given the public legitimate reason to doubt him, to be suspicious of him, not to mention his wife, and he owes the world a public accounting of his actions, with women not his wife if nothing else, for the sake of all.

Certainly it would be better that way than to have all these women sell their stories for $150k to some tabloid.

Posted by: dubya1938 | December 8, 2009 4:17 PM
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I think that there are 6 stories here, if not more, easily there could be more.

One is the life under a microscope that Tiger leads, and I'll get back to that in a moment.

Two is the fact that he is a world-famous golfer and an industry icon, and how that has afforded him many many luxuries that let's just say 500 people in the world can afford, much less a black-Asian hybrid male living in Florida.

3rd is the past infidelity to his wife and the mother of his 2 children while she was pregnant, who knows how long it was going on.

4th is the likelihood that it will happen again. And again. And yet again.

and 5th is Tigers inability to admit to all this, in a public statement. His desire to sweep it all under the rug with an admission of "transgressions" and other general statements and to claim that it is *JUST* a family matter that he and his wife are dealing with in private. That's pure BS.

6 is the women that he cheated on Elin with.

7 is the money that is at stake, that surely now is a central theme in their lives.

8 is the sum of all the above.

Posted by: dubya1938 | December 8, 2009 4:14 PM
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