Strange Things About Melania Trump's Life In The White House

Melania Trump was an enigmatic first lady. She didn't conform to expected behavior and maintained a strong independence throughout Donald Trump's term in office. She often appeared less than thrilled to live in the Executive Mansion and never seemed to have entirely made herself at home.

However, Melania Trump's comments about living in the White House might not be what you expected. "I like Washington, D.C. I know it operates completely different than any other city, but I really like it there, and I enjoyed living in the White House," she told "Fox & Friends First" in May 2022. "I enjoyed taking care of the White House. It was my home for a while." Still, Melania seems like a reluctant political wife. She was by Donald's side in November 2022 when he announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, but she's been noticeably absent ever since. When Melania was asked if she would hit the campaign trail with Donald, her reply was suitably vague. "Stay tuned," she told reporters on March 19, 2024 (via X platform, formerly Twitter).

Melania or not, Donald's presidential hopes are looking strong, meaning a possible return to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is on the cards. How his wife truly feels about the prospect is anybody's guess. Since she left, several strange things about Melania's life in the White House have come to light, calling into question her work ethic and dedication to the role of FLOTUS.

Melania Trump roamed around the White House in her bathrobe

According to The New York Times White House correspondent Katie Rogers, every day was casual Friday for Melania Trump in the White House. In her book "American Woman: The Transformation of the Modern First Lady, from Hillary Clinton to Jill Biden," Rogers claimed that Melania would walk the corridors of the Executive Mansion clad only in a selection of her bathrobes. Still, Melania being Melania, they weren't any old bathrobes. She apparently wore "elegant robes at all hours."

Rogers quipped that Melania's day wear was "the fashion equivalent of an out-of-office reply." In Melania's defense, it was 2020 — pretty much everyone was roaming around the house in old sweats and slippers during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it has to be said that pretty much nobody aside from Melania ran the risk of running into foreign dignitaries and world leaders while doing so.

Rogers expanded on Melania's choice of loungewear in an interview with Tara Palmeri for her "Somebody's Gotta Win" podcast (via The Mercury News) in March 2024. She said Melania's fashion choices were so influential that they ultimately rubbed off on her staff. Rogers claimed that the first lady's former aide, Stephanie Grisham, told her she got her "love of robes from Melania because she was constantly wearing them, more and more." Given her love of pampering, it's little surprise that Donald Trump's wife favored sumptuous spa-style lounging robes.

She didn't live with Donald Trump

It took six months for Melania Trump to move into the White House. After Donald Trump took office on January 20, 2017, she remained behind in Manhattan with Barron Trump so he could finish the school year. When Melania finally arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, she lived separately from Donald — albeit under the same roof of their 55,000-square-foot mansion. "They spend very little to no time together," a longtime family friend told The Washington Post. Melania backed up the claim. "[We are] very independent," she said. "We give ourselves and each other space."

White House staffers claimed that Melania built a figurative wall between the East and West Wing, giving the latter a wide berth unless required otherwise. "She seldom sets foot in the West Wing," an insider shared. In her book "Free Melania," CNN correspondent Kate Bennett wrote that the former first lady lived in her own two-bedroom apartment with a private gym that housed her pilates equipment and a "glam room" where she would do her hair and makeup while floating around in a silk robe.

Melania and Donald's decision to live separately was unusual. First lady scholar Annette Dunlap told People they were the first couple to sleep in separate bedrooms since Richard and Patricia Nixon in the 1970s. She noted that John F. Kennedy maintained his own sleeping quarters, but "there were great stories about Jackie Kennedy running into her husband's bedroom or him back to her bedroom."

Melania set up a 'swag room'

Donald Trump is an über wealthy and successful businessman, according to Donald Trump. Still, that doesn't mean the former president and his family aren't adverse to freebies. According to The Washington Post, Donald's ex-wife, Marla Maples, and their daughter, Tiffany Trump, attempted to score free hair and makeup for Inauguration Day, offering a stylist "exposure" in return for their services.

However, it isn't all a one-way gifting street. In her book "American Woman: The Transformation of the Modern First Lady, from Hillary Clinton to Jill Biden," Katie Rogers claimed that Melania Trump converted abandoned White House office space into a "swag room" to store giveaways that were housed on "Ikea-like shelving." By all accounts, it was run like a police department evidence room. "The swag was kept under lock and key, and entry required a signature on the signout sheet," Rogers wrote.

Among the heavily-guarded gifting items lucky recipients could hope to receive White House-themed trinkets, coins and keychains, and novelty salt-and-pepper shakers. Rogers told the "Somebody's Gotta Win" podcast that the "swag room" was reminiscent of the lavish "gift wrap" room that Candy Spelling had built inside her $165 million, 4.7 acre LA mansion.

Melania spent a lot of time meeting with attorneys

Another strange thing about Melania's days in the White House is the inordinate amount of time she reportedly spent meeting with lawyers. Rumors have abounded for years that Melania has a contractable agreement to stay with Donald Trump as naysayers doubt the former model is with the self-professed billionaire for his looks and charm alone.

In her book "American Woman: The Transformation of the Modern First Lady, from Hillary Clinton to Jill Biden," Katie Rogers claimed Melania would hunker down with her attorneys for hours to hash out financial strategies. "Negotiations were ongoing not only before Melania moved from New York but throughout the Trump presidency," Rogers wrote. A source told Page Six that Melania negotiated a new postnuptial ahead of a possible second stint in the White House. "This is at least the third time Melania has renegotiated the terms of her marital agreement," they said, explaining she was working on a substantial trust for their son, Barron."

Attorney and former federal prosecutor Ron Filipkowski said the legal negotiations explained why Melania "disappeared for months" and wasn't seen by Donald's side at important events. He said it was telling that they reportedly occurred when news broke of Donald's alleged affair with Stormy Daniels. "She renegotiated the prenup back then, just continue to stay with him and stay on board. But this proves that the whole marriage has been transactional," Filipkowski charged on a YouTube livestream in 2023 (via Newsweek).

She earned a nickname from the White House staff for being so MIA

During her time as FLOTUS, Melania Trump believed in a decidedly hands-off management style. In fact, former White House official and aide to Melania, Stephanie Grisham, claimed in her book "I'll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at The Trump White House" that Melania was hardly ever in the East Wing offices. "Mrs. Trump was working from home long before the country was," Grisham wrote. "When warranted, we would have in-person meetings, but those generally took place in the Map Room across from the elevators to the residence."

Grisham said that Melania's reluctance to leave her swanky private apartment and "[remain] in her tower, never descending" resulted in the Secret Service nicknaming her "Rapunzel." Melania purportedly liked to sleep in and when she did communicate with her staff, it was rarely before 10 a.m. There was a reason behind the former model's lackadaisical work ethic, though. "She believed that relaxation was central to one's beauty regimen, as were, of course, spa treatments and facials," Grisham wrote.

However, Donald Trump's wife worked hard on one thing: scrapbooking. "She has always been purposeful about documenting her life," Kate Bennett wrote in "Free Melania," noting that although she never kept a diary, she "has for decades made meticulous, chronological albums of each year of Barron's life."