20 Things You Didn’t Know about Rachel Uchitel

Rachel Uchitel

Rachel Uchitel first came to our attention as the “face” of the 9/11 terrorist attacks after pictures of her tearfully clutching a photo of her missing fiancée tore at the nation’s heartstrings. Less than 10 years later, Rachel came to our notice once again, this time for very different reasons. Her rumored affair with pro-golfer Tiger Woods managed to both break up his marriage to wife Elin Nordegreand and shatter the public perception of Rachel as an innocent girl caught up in a national tragedy. Subsequent revelations of affairs with David Boreanaz and Derek Jeter did little to restore her damaged reputation. In recent years, Rachel has mostly shied away the spotlight, quietly raising her daughter and running a business away from the media glare. To learn more, keep reading.

1. She’s the granddaughter of a famous nightclub owner

Rachel isn’t only famous in her own right; before becoming infamous as Tiger Woods’ mistress, Rachel’s primary claim to fame was as the granddaughter of Maurice Uchitel, a celebrated Ukrainian born Jewish- American nightclub/ hotel owner and restaurateur. Uchitel made a fortune during the 1950’s and 60’s with his investments in New York’s Voisin restaurant and the El Morocco and Eden Roc in Miami Beach. Even before his successful move into hotels, Uchitel had accrued a significant amount of cash as the “Shoulder Pad King”; the man who popularized suit shoulder pads during World War II.

2. She was left $150,000 by her grandfather

Rachel’s time in the media spotlight has helped top up her bank account nicely, but it was already in a pretty healthy state even before she became a household name. Despite being estranged from her wealthy grandfather for most of her formative years, the pair reconnected in later life. By that time, Maurice had decamped to Las Vegas and was spending most of his time frittering away his cash in the city’s casinos. After his girlfriend of 20 years, Colleen Clabby, persuaded him to re-establish family ties, Maurice got back in touch with Rachel; by the time of his death in 2000 at the age of 88, the pair were sufficiently close for Maurice to leave his granddaughter $150,000 in his will.

3. She experienced tragedy at an early age

Rachel suffered a tragedy early on in life when her father, Bob Uchitel, died when she was just 15 years old. Uchitel, an Alaskan entrepreneur, died in 1990 of a cocaine overdose. Despite not being close to her dad (after her parent’s divorced in 1979, the pair stayed in touch mainly by phone, but Bob’s spiraling addictions would leave Rachel hanging on the telephone on more than just the odd occasion), Rachel was profoundly affected by his parting, and would later blame it on her own descent into substance abuse (more on which coming up).

4. She’s a psychology graduate

After graduating from Millbrook School in 1992, Rachel pursued her studies by enrolling at the University of New Hampshire. After graduating in 1996 with a degree in psychology, Rachel spent the next 5 years working with Bloomberg Television as a producer. It was while working in the Bloomberg television division that Rachel met and became engaged to investment banker Andy O’Grady, the man whose death in 2001 would bring Rachel to the public attention for the first time.

5. She was the “face” of the 9/11 terrorist attacks

The first time we heard the name Rachel Uchitel was during the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001. Rachel drew the sympathy of the world after images of her tearfully clutching a photograph of missing fiancée Andy O’Grady went viral. Since O’Grady’s death, Rachel hasn’t kept up her contact with his family, who are reportedly shocked at how much has changed in Rachel’s life (and in Rachel herself) since the tragedy. “The last time I saw [Rachel] was at the burial of my son,” O’Grady’s dad, James, told the NY Post. “She’s not the person she appears to be now,” he said. “She wasn’t trying to be in the papers [back then]. Maybe 9/11 had an impact on her and this is how she’s dealing with that.”

6. Her first marriage lasted 4 months

Following the death of her fiancée in the 9/11 tragedy, Rachel understandably went through a period of intense grief. “She lost her fiancée on 9/11 and understandably had a very hard time … I think she went through what any other person who lost someone does: intense depression, grief and anger. She had something of a breakdown and felt very lost,” her mother, Susan, told ABC News in 2009. The breakdown perhaps accounts for her impetuous decision in 2004 to marry Wall Street trader and childhood friend, Steven Ehrenkranz. The marriage would last only 4 months; at its conclusion, Rachel decided to take her life in a very different direction by packing up and moving to Las Vegas.

7. She worked as a VIP host at Tao nightclub

After quitting Manhattan for Vegas, Rachel landed her first job as a VIP host at Tao nightclub. Her position owed in part to her on-off relationship with the club’s owner, Jason Strauss. Rachel’s progression up the ladder at Tao was rapid: “In a random career move and a life-changing experience, I found myself living in Las Vegas to launch Tao nightclub and restaurant…. Two years later, I was back in New York to oversee VIP operations for all of their companies and venues, such as Stanton Social, Marquee, Tao Bistro, and Dune,” Rachel told BlackBook.

8. She initially denied the Tiger Wood affair rumors

In 2009, the news broke that the former “face” of the 9/11 tragedy had been getting hot and heavy with a certain famously married pro golfer. Both Rachel and Woods initially denied the rumors, with Rachel insisting the reports were false and that she had only met Woods on a couple of fleeting occasions. Evidence seemed to suggest otherwise… as did her reputation, with one colleague from her TV days at Bloomberg telling reporters that Rachel was known for being “a flirt and pretty aggressive when it came to men. … She was one of the most man-crazy women I’ve ever met”.

9. She was the first of many in the Tiger Woods scandal

As they are so wont to do, allegation followed allegation, and soon, Rachel was far from the only woman said to be sharing Woods’ extra-marital bed. By December 2009, Woods stood accused of being a very naughty tiger with at least 3 other woman — something that would lead to him apologizing for “personal transgressions” and to his wife filling for divorce.

10. She got paid to keep silent

In the wake of the Tiger Woods scandal, Rachel hired firebrand lawyer Gloria Allred (known for her successes in similarly high profile, controversial cases) to protect her reputation (and interests) to the max. Allred subsequently negotiated a $10 million settlement for Rachel, which included a strict confidentiality clause. Luckily for Woods, the bargain was agreed just hours before Rachel was set to issue a tell-all statement to the press.

11. She’s been linked to other famous names

In 2010, Rachel once again hit the news- this time, it was her relationship with married actor David Boreanaz that was behind the headlines. After meeting Rachel at a nightclub on his 40th birthday, the two embarked on a hot (but ultimately doomed) affair that would end just weeks before the birth of Boreanaz’s second child with wife Jaime Bergman. Boreanaz has since credited the relationship with strengthening his relationship with his wife: “Do I believe in giving up? No, I don’t,” the Bones star told TV Week. “I’m a fighter. I’m a lover.”

12. She has a daughter

In 2011, Rachel announced her engagement to insurance underwriter and Penn State Fullback Matt Hahn. The two married on October 2nd that year, and welcomed their first child, a daughter named Wyatt Lily, in May 2012. Unhappily for Rachel, her 2nd marriage to Hahn proved no more successful than her first marriage to Steven Ehrenkranz; in 2013, Hahn petitioned for divorce, which was subsequently finalized in January 2014.

13. She owns a children’s boutique

In December 2013, Rachel showed the entrepreneurial spirit of her grandfather, Maurice Uchitel, lives on in his grandchild when she launched her own business. The result was “Wyatt Lily’, a children’s boutique store located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan named after Rachel’s then 2-year-old daughter. The store has proved a hit, even earning a mention in the annual Best Of issue of New York magazine in 2015.

14. She’s been treated for substance abuse

In 2010, Rachel went public with her battle with substance abuse when she appeared on the 4th season of VH1 reality TV show Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew. The show, which follows famous faces during their treatment for addictions, highlighted Rachel’s problematic relationship with alcohol, opiates, and benzodiazepines. Rachel’s appearance on the show came with a $500,000 fee and a personal invitation from Dr Drew himself — in itself something of a unique event, as the host rarely gets involved in the casting process.

15. Her dream is to own a modern day El Morocco

In the 1950’s, Rachel’s grandfather Maurice Uchitel made his fortune with the El Morocco. 70 years later, Uchitel’s granddaughter harbors dreams of replicating his success: “My grandparents owned and operated El Morocco supperclub in the 1960’s; famous people from President John F. Kennedy to Cary Grant frequented the place on a regular place. I’ve held on to my family’s memorabilia, and my dream is to re-create, own, and operate a modern-day El Morocco,” she told BlackBook. “Where am I a year from now? Standing over design renderings of my new club with a fabulous investor still yet to be found.”

16. She has a Net Worth of $10 million

In the aftermath of the Tiger Woods scandal, Rachel enjoyed the privileged position of being able to sell interviews, stories, pictures and more to any media outlet she wanted for just about any price she asked for. When news of her affair with Bones star David Boreanaz broke, her draw increased still further. The result of all the media attraction? A net worth that sits at a staggering $10 million.

17. She’s had brain surgery

In 2015, Rachel underwent brain surgery to cure herself of Chiari, a progressive disease that causes brain tissue to extend into the spinal canal, pressing on the brain and causing debilitating symptoms such as headaches, back aches, memory loss and confusion. Rachel had struggled with the disease for years, but doctors failed to diagnose the problem until a few months before the surgery. “I was in boarding school and was hospitalized for my back. I grew up knowing I had back problems”, she told Fox News. “Two or three months ago I was diagnosed. So, people living with this are living with this crazy pain, taking pain medicine, getting back surgery and don’t know they have this”.

18. She was harassed by her former husband

Just days before Rachel was due to undergo major brain surgery in 2015, her former husband and co-parent to her daughter Wyatt Lily, Matt Hahn, was detained on suspicion of harassment. According to TMZ, Hahn subjected Rachel to a volley of aggressive phone calls and told her “I hope you die”. Further to Rachel reporting the incident, Hahn was arrested, and Rachel was granted a protection order.

19. She took classes to become a private eye

In 2011, the New York Post reported that Rachel was taking classes to become a private eye at the New York offices of DGA Detectives. The change in direction from VIP host to P.I. may have seemed unexpected, but Rachel clearly had a talent for her new career, graduating in the top third of her class. “Obviously, people want to go down the ‘cheating’ road, and assume it’s all about me finding cheating spouses,” Rachel told the Post of her new career. “But I’m less interested in that. I’m more interested in cases that haven’t made it on [CNN’s] Nancy Grace or Jane Velez-Mitchell but are just as important. Missing people, cold cases . . . and sure, a few liars out there who need to be exposed.”

20. She’s worked as a special correspondent on Extra

In 2010, Rachel’s celebrity status was cemented when she was offered the position of special correspondent on Extra Weekend. The gig came after Extra’s producers were impressed by Rachel’s interview with the show’s Mario Lopez, where she discussed her experiences growing up, her meltdown after the death of her fiancée in 9/11, and her plans for the future. The position gave Rachel the opportunity to report on one of her key specialties (by which we of course mean up- and- coming nightspots, not bedding married men).

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