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Ivana Trump hasn’t been married to Donald Trump for decades, but still remains a key figure in the family orbit, offering insights into the President’s past and present in occasional interviews.
Now 71, Ivana says she splits her time between New York, Miami, and Saint-Tropez (although Page Six recently reported that, due to the ongoing pandemic, she’s kept her travels this summer closer to home, choosing to vacation in the Hamptons). But the mother of Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr. has had a fascinating, unlikely journey from a childhood in Czechoslovakia to life of glitzed-up leisure. Here’s what you should know about her.
She and Donald Trump were married for 14 years.
The pair met in 1976 at an Upper East Side watering hole, and Donald offered to help her party get a table. He clearly charmed her because the pair married less than a year later. Over the course of their relationship, Ivana became entrenched in the Trump Organization, working as the Vice President of interior design, and later as the president of Trump’s casino in Atlantic City and the Plaza hotel.
Despite a nasty divorce, Ivana and Donald are now friends.
When Donald and Ivana got divorced in 1992, the press had a field day, splashing news of his affair with Marla Maples across tabloid covers. However, some 20 years later the couple gets along, and he even considers her something of an adviser. “We speak before and after the appearances and he asks me what I thought,” she told the New York Post. She also thinks he should “be more calm.”
She’s a former model.
Ivana started her career in front of the camera in home country, the former Czechoslovakia. After she moved to Canada with her first husband, Alfred Winklmayr, things really began to take off. Some of her notable clients have included the “Got Milk” franchise, designer Auckie Sanft, and Eaton’s department store. She first met Donald Trump while working for the 1976 Olympic Games. In a recently unearthed on-air radio interview with Howard Stern from 2002, Donald Trump said that Ivana’s accent had charmed him in the beginning but eventually began to irritate him. “Yes, it was amazing,” Trump says of his ex-wife’s accent, “and then one time I woke up that [sic] it was terrible, I couldn’t stand it.”
She says Donald Trump offered her the job as ambassador to the Czech Republic.
“My ex said, ‘Ivana, if you want it, I give it to you,'” Trump told the New York Post at a fashion show in September 2017. The Czechoslovakia native turned it down though, explaining, “It’s four years in Prague, so bye-bye to Miami, bye-bye to New York in spring and fall, bye-bye to Saint-Tropez in summer.” That didn’t sit well with current Czech President Milos Zeman, who “was furious” when Ivana told him she decided not to accept the diplomatic post, according to the Prague Daily Monitor. Zeman said he could not imagine a better candidate for the job than Ivana and called her a “coward” for turning it down.
She published a memoir in 2017.
Ivana’s Raising Trump covers her journey from communist Czechoslovakia to New York, where she became a businesswoman and wife to Donald, and “unfiltered personal stories” about her children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. The three of them contributed “memories” to the book and are reportedly “excited” about their mom’s latest endeavor.
Previously, Ivana published a semi-autobiographical romance novel, For Love Alone, and the self-help tome The Best Is Yet to Come: Coping With Divorce and Enjoying Life Again.
She said she still talks to Donald Trump about once a week.
In the fall of 2017, the 71-year-old told CBS Sunday Morning‘s Jim Axelrod in that the president even asked for her advice about using Twitter: “I said, ‘I think you should tweet. It’s a new way, a new technology. And if you want to get your words across rightly, without telling the New York Times, which is going to twist every single word of yours, this is how you get your message out.”
Ivana once appeared on the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars.
She fully supported her ex-husband’s run for the White House.
“He’s no politician. He’s a businessman,” she told the New York Post. “He knows how to talk. He can give an hour speech without notes… He’s blunt,” she said, adding that he would have “fantastic advisers, like Carl Icahn. Really brilliant minds. And he’d make a decision! Obama cannot make a decision if his life depends on it. It’s ridiculous.”
When asked on Ireland’s Ray D’Arcy Show in 2017 about her ex’s reelection campaign, she acknowledged that the President was “missing a little bit of his old life.” She added, “I don’t envy him, I think he must be freaking exhausted.”
She’s a talented skier.
Ivana worked as a ski instructor for a time while living in Canada in the 70s, and was even an alternate on the 1972 Olympic ski team for Czechoslovakia.
In a 2018 Instagram post, Ivanka celebrated her mom’s skills on the slopes, calling her “the best skier I know.”
She was photographed for Town & Country in 1986.
More than thirty years ago, we sent a photographer to Mar-a-Lago and Ivana Trump answered the door in head to toe sequins. She and Donald had recently paid $5 million for the house, which they eventually turned into a private club. During the renovation, Trump reportedly spent $7 million on gold leaf alone.
Donald aside, Ivana prefers young Italian men.
Ivana has been married four times, but her later two engagements were both to strapping young Italians. “I have this thing for Italians. I don’t know why, but the bad boys—not all of them, but the sort of semi-bad,” she told Oprah in 2013.
She’s pictured here with Rubicondi. The couple finally called it quits in 2019 after a long off-and-on romance. “Rossano spends a lot of time in Italy and I spend a lot of time in New York, Miami and Saint-Tropez, and he has to work,” Ivana told Page Six at the time. “The long-distance relationship really doesn’t work. We had a good time and are friends. The split was amicable.”
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