Alleged Tiger Woods mistress Rachel Uchitel in spotlight after crash
Rachel Uchitel's most recent appearance in the gossip rumor mill might have disappeared mostly unnoticed if it weren't for Tiger Woods' early-Friday morning accident outside his Windermere home.

Two days before Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant and tree at 2:25 a.m., The National Enquirer tabloid printed a story alleging Woods was having an affair with Uchitel, a New York City night club hostess. Both Uchitel and Woods have reportedly denied the affair.

Rumors that the accident followed a fight between Woods and his wife Elin Nordegren surfaced and The National Enquirer quickly took credit.

"Multiple sources believe that Elin was furious over The ENQUIRER's bombshell worldwide print exclusive," read the Enquirer's web site story about the crash. The Enquirer also posted a separate story attempting to refute Uchitel's denial of an affair.

It wasn't Uchitel's first appearance in the public eye. According to Newsday, her photos were taken after the attacks on the World Trade Center in Sept. 11, 2001 as she searched for her fiancé, James Andrew O'Grady, a managing director of the financial firm Sandler O'Neill & Partners, who died on the 104th floor of the South Tower according to the news report.

Uchitel, 34, later married an old friend, a stock trader who reportedly survived the Sept. 11 attacks, and the pair divorced four months later. According to the United Kingdom's Daily Telegraph, Uchitel then moved to Las Vegas to become a hostess at the night club Tao. She moved back to New York City last year.

No stranger to tabloid rumors, the Daily Telegraph wrote: "'Although I've been romantically linked to a famous baseball player, a Broadway star, a musician, and various film and television actors, I will never kiss and tell,' she was quoted as saying.

According to news reports, Uchitel has hired attorney Gloria Allred, a self-described "feminist lawyer" to represent her and Allred is planning Uchitel's next step. Allred also represented Paula Jones in her sexual harassment case she lost against former President Bill Clinton.

Woods did not specifically mention Uchitel or rumors of an affair in the statement he released on his website TigerWoods.com but did say "the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible."

Tania Ganguli can be reached at tganguli@orlandosentinel.com.