Tiger Woods’ ex-girlfriend said in an August 2017 email that her only concern in signing a non-disclosure agreement was losing her job at Woods’ restaurant if the relationship ended and being in control of her future in the to have business.
“I have no issues with what is in the document because I would not go public or use anything I know to hurt him or the children,” Erica Herman wrote in the email to the CFO of Tiger Woods Ventures.
“But now that my whole life is in his hands, I would like to have some control over my future in business. If anything happens in 5-10 years I don’t want to be heartbroken and unemployed in my 40s.”
The email exchange was part of documents filed Sunday night ahead of a Tuesday hearing. Woods’ attorneys are expected to ask District Judge Elizabeth Metzger to drop Herman’s lawsuit against her billionaire client. They say the former couple’s NDA requires all disputes to be resolved privately by an arbitrator rather than in court.
Herman has filed a lawsuit against Woods, accusing the biggest golf star of starting their sexual relationship when she was his employee and threatening to fire her if she doesn’t sign the NDA she now wants to void.
Your email to Chris Hubman, the CFO of Woods’ company, was sent on August 7, 2017.
“In my opinion, your employment at The Woods Jupiter and your personal relationship with TW are two separate things,” Hubman wrote back the next day. “I don’t think the ending of one automatically affects the other…although I admit it could be complicated. It will most likely depend on the conditions or the reason for the end of the relationship.
“The Non-Disclosure Agreement does not address the terms of your employment with TWJ … only the dissemination and control of information to which you are privy because of your personal and professional relationship with TW.”
According to documents, she signed the NDA on August 9, 2017.
Herman also accused Woods in court documents filed late Friday that his attorney broke up with her at an airport last October after falsely telling her they were going on a weekend trip to the Bahamas. She says the attorney then evicted her from Wood’s $54 million mansion north of Palm Beach and tried to get her to sign another NDA, which she refused.
Herman, who ran Woods’ Palm Beach County restaurant before and during the early years of their romantic relationship, argues that the non-disclosure agreement is unenforceable under a new federal law that says such contracts can be void if sexual abuse or harassment occurs have taken place. Her attorney, Benjamin Hodas, claims Wood’s alleged threat to fire her if she doesn’t sign the contract was harassment.
“A boss who imposes different working conditions on his employee because of his sexual relationship is sexual harassment,” Hodas said.
Herman, 39, is separately suing the trust that owns Wood’s villa for $30 million. He said he verbally promised her in 2017 he would live there for at least 11 years, but kicked her out after five years.
Woods’ attorney JB Murray denies that 47-year-old Woods Herman ever sexually assaulted or molested her, calling her allegations in court documents “completely unfounded”.
Neither Hodas nor Murray responded to emails and phone calls asking for comment.
It is not known if Woods will attend Tuesday’s hearing. He had ankle surgery last month stemming from his car accident in Los Angeles in February 2021 and is likely to miss the rest of the major championships this year.
In Herman’s lawsuit against Woods, she wants Judge Metzger to either nullify the non-disclosure agreement or at least give her guidance on what to say publicly. For example, can she discuss events that happened before their union or after they broke up? What about information she learned about Woods from others? She also argues that the contract only covers her working relationship with Woods, not her personal affairs.
In her wrongful eviction lawsuit against the trust, she is basing her $30 million claim on how much it would cost to rent a property like Woods’ mansion for the six-year residency she was allegedly denied.
When Hodas filed Herman’s lawsuit against the trust in October, he checked a box on a standardized form saying the case did not involve sexual abuse. In Herman’s lawsuit against Woods in March, Hodas ticked the box and said the case involved abuse. Hodas did not explain the apparent discrepancy.
Herman says in her court filings that their romantic relationship began in 2015, and that in late 2016 she moved into Woods’ nearly 30,000-square-foot (2,800-square-meter) mansion in the ritzy community of Hobe Sound.
Woods says in his court documents that their romantic relationship began in 2017, just before she moved in with him in August — around the time the NDA was signed. In March 2017, Woods had placed the mansion in the Jupiter Island Irrevocable Homestead Trust, an entity he founded with only him and his two children as beneficiaries.
Forbes Magazine estimates Woods’ net worth at $1.1 billion.
They were first seen publicly as a couple at the Presidents Cup in late September 2017, and Herman has been a constant presence at the bigger tournaments and events like the 2019 Masters. She was also at the White House with Woods in 2019 when then-President Donald Trump presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Herman says Woods pressured her to quit her job managing his restaurant in 2020 and said he wanted her to spend more time caring for him and his children.
In another email on Feb. 17, 2020, Herman wrote that she spoke with Woods and “we have determined that it is best if I step away from the day-to-day operations of the restaurant.”
“Our lives have moved on and after 4 years I’ve realized I’m too (o) skinny and don’t have the time or desire to devote myself to the restaurant,” Herman wrote to Hubman.
When Woods’ attorneys returned her personal belongings, they kept $40,000 in cash and made “weird and defamatory allegations” about how she received it, she alleges.
Woods and his former wife, Elin Nordegren, divorced in 2010, some nine months after he became embroiled in a series of extramarital affairs that had cost him high-profile sponsorship and tarnished a largely spotless image.
AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed to this report.
This version corrects that Woods received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019 and not 2018.