Ivana Trump, first wife of Donald Trump, dies at 73

Ivana Trump, a Czech immigrant who was Donald Trump’s first wife during his rise as a celebrity and real estate investor in the 1980s and was the mother of his three eldest children, died July 14 at her Manhattan home. She was 73 years old.

The former president announced his death in a post on Truth Social, the social media he launched.

Ms Trump was found unconscious on a staircase in her East 64th Street home near Central Park after police received an emergency call at 12.40am and she was pronounced dead at the scene, according to two law enforcement officials aware of the event. NYPD detectives opened an investigation and found no signs of forced entry or any obvious signs of trauma suggesting criminality.

The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office will try to determine if a fall down a flight of stairs may have contributed to his death, officials said.

Ms Trump, who nicknamed her husband “the Donald” during their 13-year marriage, had been a competitive skier in her native Czechoslovakia and later became a model in Canada and New York. Accounts vary on how they met, but at the time, she noted in a 1995 memoir, “The best is yet to come,” he “wasn’t famous” and “wasn’t fabulously rich.

At some point during their courtship, they visited a ski lodge in Aspen, Colorado, Mrs. Trump recalled in a 2017 memoir, “Raising Trump.”

“It was a very sexy chalet,” she wrote. “I knew Donald had chosen it to my advantage. I am realistic, but I have a strong romantic side and I can see the moon and the stars. Donald wouldn’t see the moon if it was resting on his chest.

Nevertheless, their engagement was sealed with a three-carat Tiffany diamond ring and a prenuptial agreement. Ivana balked at a clause that would require her to return all of her husband’s gifts if the marriage broke down. In the end, she was allowed to keep clothes or gifts. Donald Trump’s lawyer and longtime mentor, Roy Cohn, completed at least four contracts before the final deal was made.

After Donald and Ivana Trump married on April 7, 1977, they became one of New York’s most famous power couples, consistently featured in the tabloids with a growing social profile as much as the Trump business empire. In 1984, they had three children: Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump.

Throughout the marriage, Mrs. Trump took an active role in her husband’s businesses, even when their children were toddlers. In 1979, she became vice president of the Trump Organization, responsible for decorating the interiors of some of her husband’s properties. In 1984, Donald Trump bought a mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, followed a year later by the $10 million purchase of the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

During the construction of Trump Tower, Donald Trump asked his architect to design a second apartment for his family in case their marriage fell apart. In 1984, the family moved into the new tower, occupying a three-story, 53-bedroom penthouse that included his and hers bathrooms: Donald Trump’s was dark brown marble and Ivana’s was onyx. translucent pink.

Mrs. Trump has also decorated several other properties, including the Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City. She was named president of the Plaza Hotel in New York shortly after Donald Trump bought it in 1988 for over $400 million. She received an annual salary of $1, plus all the designer clothes she wanted, which reportedly totaled up to $500,000 a year.

By all accounts, Mrs. Trump played a key role in restoring the decaying hotel to its former glory. His flashy decorating style has come to symbolize the over-the-top lavishness found in many Trump buildings.

“If anything could be laminated with gold or covered in damask, it was,” Mrs. Trump wrote in “Raising Trump.” “It was the 80s, and my aesthetic at the time was extravagant, glamorous and dramatic. »

During the Christmas holidays in 1989, while the family was vacationing in Aspen, Mrs. Trump confronted her husband about rumors that she had heard of his affair with a young model, Marla Maples. At lunch, she told a friend to spread the word that “I love my husband very much.”

Maples stood nearby, heard the exchange, and said, “I’m Marla and I love your husband. »

“Get lost,” Mrs. Trump replied, by her own account.

The marriage quickly deteriorated and New York tabloids clashed to dig up grim stories about the breakup, culminating in a headline in the New York Post: ‘Best Sex I’ve Ever Had’, which purported to be a quote of Maples. When editors questioned whether Maples really said those words, the newspaper’s editor, Lou Colasuonno, replied that the headline was “libel proof.” Donald will never complain about this one.

The divorce battle lasted for months and escalated. In a deposition, Mrs Trump alleged that her husband raped her after an argument over a medical procedure to remove her baldness. In 1993, his attorneys successfully compelled the publisher of a Harry Hurt III book, “Lost Tycoon,” to add an explanation of the encounter to the book’s flyleaf.

“As a woman, I felt violated,” Ms Trump reportedly said. “I called it ‘rape’, but I don’t want my words to be taken literally or criminally. »

The divorce was granted in 1990 for “cruel and inhuman treatment”, and the final terms were agreed the following year. Mrs Trump’s settlement includes payments of $14million and she kept the house in Greenwich. She also had primary custody of the children and received child support and alimony totaling more than $600,000 a year.

During depositions and other court proceedings, Mrs. Trump later wrote: “I put on my headphones and started ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor.

“Lawyers were going back and forth, and I was singing in my head, ‘Did you think I’d fall apart? Did you think I’d lay down and die? Well, that wasn’t going to happen. I would survive.

Ivana Marie Zelnickova was born on February 20, 1949 in what is now Zlín, Czech Republic. Her father was an engineer and her mother was a telephone operator.

She showed talent in skating and skiing in her youth and claimed to have been a substitute on her country’s national ski team. She graduated from Charles University in Prague and married Austrian skier Alfred Winklmayr in the early 1970s.

She said the marriage was never consummated and soon ended in divorce, but she was granted an Austrian passport, which helped her escape communist Czechoslovakia.

After her divorce from Donald Trump, Mrs. Trump went on to a varied and successful career, first as the writer of thinly disguised novels, such as ‘For Love Alone’ and ‘Free to Love’, about a young European skier. who marries a wealthy American and goes through a painful divorce. The books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies.

In the 1990s, she began promoting her own clothing and jewelry brand on the Home Shopping Network, selling up to $4 million in merchandise a month. She then signed an agreement to sell her fragrances through JC Penney.

Mrs. Trump has often spoken of her resilience and self-reliance. In the 1990s, after her divorce from Donald Trump, she told People magazine, “Do you think I’m going to lay down and die? Bad luck, girl… I’ve got a million offers here and everywhere. I’m fine, honey.

She married and divorced twice more, with Riccardo Mazzucchelli and Rossano Rubicondi.

Survivors include his children and 10 grandchildren.

After Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, Mrs. Trump called herself a “first lady” in an ABC TV interview, sparking a row with the actual first lady, Melania Trump.

The White House released a statement, saying there was “clearly no substance to this statement from an ex, unfortunately it is just noise seeking attention and self-serving.”

A provision in the divorce settlement prohibited Mrs. Trump from writing or saying anything about her marriage to Donald Trump. But in “Raising Trump,” she revealed aspects of her character that few other people would know. During their marriage, for example, Mrs. Trump had a poodle named Chappy.

“Donald was not a fan of dogs,” she wrote. “When I told him I was taking Chappy with me to New York, he said, ‘No.’

“It’s me and Chappy or nobody!” I insisted and that’s it.

Chappy, she wrote, “had an equal dislike of Donald.”

Despite their contentious divorce, she maintained contact with Donald Trump and, according to the two, actively advised him during his 2016 presidential run and occasionally when he was in the Oval Office.

“I suggest a few things,” she said in 2016. “We talk before and after the appearances and he asks me what I thought about it. She said she told him to “be more calm”, but “Donald can’t be calm”.

Shayna Jacobs in New York contributed to this report.

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