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Rachel Uchitel may have lost millions of dollars in recent weeks, but could the infamous Tiger Woods mistress now potentially earn much more?
According to TMZ.com, Uchitel has had to return most of the $10 million in settlement money she earned by agreeing to keep quiet on her affair with Tiger Woods, as Woods’ attorney claimed she violated the confidentiality agreement by starring in VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab”.
Although the 36-year-old never specifically mentioned Woods on the reality program, she was described on the official cast page as a “a tabloid celebrity and socialite” who has been the “focus of negative media attention,” which in turn contributed to her “love addiction” and addiction to prescription pills.
TMZ reports that Woods’ lawyer, Jay Lavely, notified Uchitel’s prominent Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred months ago that they were going after her regarding the alleged violation. Although Uchitel reportedly didn’t believe that she was in the wrong, she later returned the funds under Allred’s legal guidance.
Uchitel has since hired a malpractice lawyer and is threatening to sue Allred with allegations that the high-profile lawyer sold her out. According to TMZ, Uchitel believes Allred struck a deal with Woods’ counsel to ensure she would still earn her fee – one she would not have been entitled to had Uchitel gone to arbitration and lost.
But Allred is standing her ground.
“I was not involved in any way in the allegations set forth in the TMZ story which appears today and which references me,” Allred told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column in a statement. “I have not had a conversation with or communicated with Jay Lavely about any client in more than a year. I am reserving all of my legal rights against anyone who defames me.”
Furthermore, given that Uchitel has returned most of Woods’ millions, does that also mean she is no longer gagged and thus free to discuss dirty details pertaining to her relationship with the famed golfer?
“The fact that Rachel may have returned some of the settlement money does not necessarily mean she's free to let loose about her alleged relationship with Tiger. The settlement agreement must be rescinded first, and we don't know if that has happened,” explained California defense attorney, David Wohl.
Still, once that’s complete Uchitel could potentially make back that settlement money – and much more.
“The figure could be astronomical, given the amount of money Tiger Woods apparently paid her to stay quiet,” Wohl continued. “Her earnings could be astronomical. When you consider TV, movie and book deals I would think at least 10 million...if not more.”
And crisis communications expert Glenn Selig warned that the Woods camp might have reason to be worried.
“If she’s returned the money, and there’s no confidentiality agreement in effect, then Tiger Woods should prepare for a tell-all. It is doubtful that given the current celebrity of Tiger Woods, her story or life rights will earn her anywhere near $10-million,” he said. “Tiger’s status as a celebrity has diminished a great deal since the scandal broke. But sex sells and sex involving Tiger Woods is still a good story.
“If Tiger Woods was willing to pay her $10-million to keep her quiet, then clearly she can say a whole he does not want told and the public does not yet know,” Selig added. “ And those are ingredients for a best-seller.”
Still one publicity expert, Jason Maloni of Levick Communications, says Uchitel has little leverage at this juncture, and the scandal has probably passed the point of earning her a significant sum.
"Tiger has not been the same golfer since,” he said. “Could Rachel Uchitel convince some media entity that she has additional, more prurient, details of the tragedy? Probably, but she won’t get anywhere close to $10 million for them.”
Reps for Woods and Uchitel did not respond to our request for comment, and Allred declined to comment any further on the situation, citing “attorney-client privilege issues which requires an attorney to maintain the privilege of confidentiality of their clients and former clients.”