Tiger Woods to Wife, Kids: "I Am Deeply Sorry"

Celebrity News Feb. 19, 2010 AT 10:28AM

Breaking his silence for the first time since his November sex scandal erupted, Tiger Woods stood alone as he apologized to his wife Elin and supporters for having multiple affairs.

"Every one of you has good reason to be critical of me," he began. "I want to say to each of you simply and directly that I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in. "I know people want to find out how I can be so selfish and so foolish. People want to know how I could have done the things to my wife Elin and my children.

See Tiger and his wife in happier times

"As Elin pointed out to me, my real apology to her will not come in the form of words. It will come from my behavior over time.

"What we say to each other will remain between the two of us."

Look back on Tiger's sex scandal

He continued, "I have let you down. I have let down my fans. For many of you, especially my friends, my behavior has been a personal disappointment ... I am embarrassed to have put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry." He stressed that reports that his wife Elin beat him are false.

"Elin never hurt me that night or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage ever ... Elin deserves praise, not blame. The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. I am the only person to blame. I stopped living by the core values I was taught to believe in.

Hear the infamous voicemail Tiger left for one of his mistresses

"I convinced myself normal rules didn't apply," he added.

"Instead, I thought only about myself. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. "I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them. I was wrong, I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules. the same rules that apply to everyone apply to me. "I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation and kids all around the world who admire me.... it's time for me to make amends.

"It's up to me to start living a life of integrity.

"Character and decency are what really counts," he continued. "Parents used to point to me as a role model for their kids. I owe all those families a special apology. I want to say to them I am truly sorry. It's hard to admit I need help, but I do."

He confirmed he has been in therapy since the end of December and will return for more.

"I have a long way to go, but I have taken my first steps," he said.

See Tiger and his wife through the years

He said all questions about whether he and his wife will remain together are "between Elin and me."

"I am the one who needs to change," he said. "I owe it to my family to become a better person. I have a lot of work to do and I intend to dedicate myself to doing it."

He said he plans to return to golf one day, but "I just don't know when that day will be."

He hugged his tearful mom before exiting.

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