Inside Melania Trump's Life Since Leaving The White House

Melania Trump's time in the White House might have been occasionally eclipsed by her larger-than-life husband, but she got her fair share of media attention, too. While former president Donald Trump knows how to make a headline, Melania was often the topic of conversation, and not always for positive reasons. She had some majorly controversial fashion moments. Remember the Zara coat she wore which read, "I Really Don't Care, Do U?" How could we forget?

It seems like Melania started making headlines day one of Trump's presidency, with the news frenzy that she delayed her move to the White House as a power flex to re-negotiate her prenup, as Mary Jordan pointed out in her 2020 book, "The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump." Jordan explained: "Melania felt that a lot had changed since she signed her prenup," adding that Melania's major motivation was to make sure that her son, Barron, whom she shares with Trump, "got his rightful share of inheritance."

When Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden, speculation continued to rise about Melania's feelings on leaving 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Was she sad to leave? Was she elated? The ongoing media around the former first lady taps into this exact phenomenon: questions largely left unanswered. Melania has continued to mystify the world, and now that she's more removed from the public eye, she remains as enigmatic as ever. However, she has been spotted living her best life since Trump's presidency. Here's what she's been up to.

Her sensational outfits upon leaving the White House

Melania Trump got people talking — literally — the moment she left the White House on Jan. 21, 2021. Not only did she and Donald Trump refuse to stay for Joe Biden's inauguration; her outfit choices turned heads twice on the same day.

She left the White House dressed completely in black, donning a Chanel jacket over a Dolce and Gabbana dress paired with a Hermès Birkin bag and Christian Louboutin heels, per "Good Morning America." Melania's look was entirely created by European designers, something people tend to notice on first ladies. Interestingly, Jackie Kennedy was subject to similar censure from American voters, who wanted to see the first lady in designs made in the United States. In contrast, Vice President Kamala Harris and first lady Jill Biden both wore American designers on January 21, The New York Times chief fashion critic and fashion director, Vanessa Friedman, noted on Twitter.

In her black ensemble, Melania said to the crowd: "Being your first lady was my greatest honor. Thank you for your love and your support. You will be [in] my thoughts and prayers, God bless you all. God bless your families, and God bless this beautiful nation," per The Palm Beach Post. After bidding farewell, she boarded Air Force One with Donald Trump, and when they landed, she stepped off the plane in an orange Gucci caftan, priced at $3,700, per the outlet. Many interpreted her color choices as a reflection of her feelings about the change: black around the White House signifies somber tones while the orange, psychedelic dress means joy at finally leaving.

A memoir in the works?

It's a traditional move for former first ladies to pen memoirs once they leave the White House. Helen Taft kicked off the trend in 1914 with "Recollections of Full Years" while Betty Ford wrote "The Times of My Life" in 1978, per The National News. After Ford, every first lady wrote a memoir, with one of the most notable ones being Michelle Obama's "Becoming," which became not just a book, but a movement. She got a Netflix deal out of it, plus a podcast. In fact, the outlet notes that Michelle and Barack Obama were offered a $60 million deal for their two memoirs.

So not only is it big money; it's almost expected. While Melania Trump has never been a conventional or predictable first lady, could she join the movement now that she's out of the White House? Page Six seems to think so. An inside source told the site: "Melania is in meetings to write her White House memoir. And it would be her money — a chance for her to earn on her own."

This isn't all. The source also mentions that Donald Trump is in favor of the idea, and Melania might have a little motivation for revenge, too, if she's so inclined. Her one-time best friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff wrote a memoir in 2020 called "Melania and Me," airing some alleged dirty laundry and painting a less than flattering picture of the first lady. Melania could take advantage of the chance to share her side of the story.

Mum's the word for Melania

While a memoir could be in the works, Melania Trump has always been famously private and quiet, and nothing has changed since she left the White House. CNN fittingly called her "perhaps the most private first lady in modern history," and she's keeping with that spirit. While Donald Trump continues to stir speculation about another run in 2024, Melania has hardly been seen at all.

In fact, the Daily Mail counted, and between January and April 2021, Melania was spotted five times since relocating to Mar-a-Lago, Florida. These sightings were relegated to guests capturing moments on social media as they spotted her walking with her husband and son in the dining room at their resort. Trump, conversely, has been much more public, even at the resort. He's often spotted golfing and chatting with guests, but Melania has kept to herself. As People notes, Melania only keeps a few people close; she did this during her husband's time in office, and she still does it. Her priorities remain her son, Barron Trump, and her connection to Donald Trump himself, which offers her "power and benefits."

Even Melania's Instagram page got whittled down to a few scant posts that had to do specifically with her time at the White House. Her activity on the social media site is limited, with absolutely nothing personal. To be fair, Ivanka Trump has also considerably backed off of Instagram, so either they're biding their time for 2024 or they're taking a break.

Two spa treatments a day at Mar-a-Lago

Melania Trump has never pretended she didn't love luxury. Even in the White House, the former model wore almost exclusively couture, which sometimes got her in hot water. How could we forget her 2017 visit to Sicily where she wore a $51,000 Dolce & Gabbana jacket?

We've got to hand it to Melania that she's never pretended to be something she's not. CNN broke the news that at Mar-a-Lago in her post-White House private life, Melania is known to take advantage of the on-site spa and often goes for two treatments a day. Hey girl, you do you.

Apart from frequenting the spa and the occasional dinner out in public (her favorite meal is the Dover sole and a Diet Coke, no ice), the source reinforced Melania's evident desire to get away from public conversation and scrutiny. An insider told CNN: "She's not a presence at Mar-a-Lago at all. She's not mingling with people and rarely interacts with her husband's staff."

Another source told a later publication by CNN that this is exactly what Melania wants and needs after such an intense four years. "That's how she likes it. The more she can be private and not in the public eye, the better," the insider said. "And there's nothing wrong with that. I mean, if every single person in the world watched your every move for four or five years, and that wasn't comfortable for you — just imagine how triggering that must have been."

The family's awkward dinners at Mar-a-Lago

Despite Melania Trump's love of privacy, we are getting at least pieces of the picture of what her life is like at Mar-a-Lago following the White House. Plus, since Melania is so private, the only times people catch glimpses of her are in the dining room at the resort with Donald Trump.

However, Michael Wolfe wrote about this experience in his book "Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency" and spoke about how poignantly awkward the dinners are."[Trump] appears just as the patio has filled, at which point everyone stands and applauds," Wolfe writes. "Often, when Melania is here, they eat alone at a roped-off table in the center — looked at, somewhat, like zoo animals." They are surrounded by guests sitting at 50-60 additional tables in the dining room, so it's not a small affair.

While the evening dinner rituals sound like Melania's worst nightmare, she does get some reprieve with visits from her family. According to CNN, her parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, have a private suite at Mar-a-Lago and have been spotted at the resort for long stretches of time. The outlet notes that they sometimes join Trump and Melania for dinner.

Barron Trump is the center of her world

Melania Trump has always made it clear that her son, Barron Trump, is her main priority. Part of her reluctance to join Donald Trump at the White House early on in his presidency was to give Barron a chance to finish school in New York City. While he's older (and much taller, standing now at 6 feet, 7 inches), he's still Melania's top priority. On March 20, 2021, Melania made a rare post on Twitter with a photo of balloons for Barron's 15th birthday, adding the caption: "Happy birthday BWT" for his full name, Barron William Trump.

In December 2020, People noted, Melania was preparing for her exit from the White House long before Trump himself accepted it, because she was in Florida looking for a school for Barron. An insider told the outlet, "Melania is a great mother and that is her most important role. Barron is the most important thing in Melania's life." Melania did land on the perfect school for her teenage son and picked Oxbridge Academy in Palm Beach, Florida, per The Sun. Annual tuition at the private school comes to $34,800, and Barron is slated to graduate in 2024.

In July 2021, Barron was spotted in Manhattan leaving Trump Tower with Melania, according to the New York Post, where he wowed people with his growth spurt since he, like his mother, has kept out of the spotlight during much of his father's presidency and in the time following it.

Melania Trump could be looking for her own house

It'll come as no surprise that rumors started circulating when news broke that Melania Trump was looking for a residency in Florida. The New York Times reported in January 2021 that Melania was scoping out a property in the towns of Jupiter and Palm Beach, outside of the Mar-a-Lago resort. In the same month, sources told CNN that Melania was setting up her own Palm Beach office.

While the house-hunting news sparked divorce rumors, there are extraneous reasons for why Melania might have her eye on a separate residence. As The Washington Post explains, Donald Trump converted Mar-a-Lago from a historic site to a private club in the 1990s for financial reasons. However, one stipulation is that club members are not permitted to live there full-time, and these legal restrictions also apply to the Trumps themselves. So, it's likely that Melania was preparing for this situation.

In addition, Melania has a long-standing tradition of having a separate apartment from that of her husband. People reported that in 2016, Melania purchased a one-bedroom apartment in Trump Tower for $1.5 million. Her reasons for the purchase are unclear; did she buy it for personal use or as an investment? We don't know. However, it seems that Trump and Melania have their own dynamic in their marriage where a degree of independence is expected. Nevertheless, divorce rumors have continued to arise following Melania's time at the White House for other reasons.

Did Melania miss Donald Trump's 75th birthday?

Donald Trump celebrated his 75th birthday on June 14, 2021, and took part in celebrations at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. His son, Donald Trump Jr., posted a video of the crowd singing to Trump on Instagram and added the caption (in part): "It's always nice when family and great friends as well as a few members of Congress sing you happy birthday."

Sure, nice sentiment, except that a huge chunk of Trump's family was nowhere to be seen, including Melania Trump. In fact, the only other recognizable face that was Trump-adjacent was Don Jr.'s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle. Melania's apparent absence did not go unnoticed in the comments.

Melania missing the celebration may not have directly fueled divorce rumors, but it certainly made it clear that she's comfortable living an independent life from her husband. Before we jump to conclusions, it could also be that Melania and Barron (who wasn't in the video either), may very well have been there or joined later. The whole thing is "unclear," as People notes. 

Trump's first wife, Ivana Trump, did speak up about Trump's birthday, telling People, "Donald hates his birthdays. So I did speak to him and wished him happy birthday and told him, 'Don't worry about your age.'" But Melania didn't mention his birthday, nor was she photographed there. 

Despite divorce rumors, Melania Trump is sticking with it

While Donald Trump was in office, speculations ran rampant about Melania Trump's likelihood of divorcing him. Astoundingly, those with a gambling penchant even had the option in Las Vegas of putting bets on the couple's divorce, as The Washington Post reported in November 2020. Rumors were exacerbated by Melania's lack of PDA with Trump (we were even treated to her occasional hand swat as she batted him away!) and her frequent reluctance to make appearances at rallies and events.

Post-White House, the rumors didn't completely die down, thanks to Melania's perusal of real estate outside of Mar-a-Lago and her apparent absence at Donald Trump's birthday. But is there substance to them? The answer seems to be no. A number of Melania-focused biographers have come to the same conclusion: she's not going anywhere.

Mary Jordan's groundbreaking biography "The Art of Her Deal" tackled the topic of Donald Trump's alleged affairs and Melania Trump's decision not to appear on television for his response to the allegations. As for why Melania didn't walk away, Jordan recalled, "[Sources] told me over and over again. 'There was more in it for her to stay than to go'" (via People).

Even when bookies were making bets, those closer to the Trumps had a different take. Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, said, "I don't think Melania leaves Donald. She's very willingly complicit in his schemes and holds his beliefs as her own. Those two deserve each other" (via The Washington Post). By all accounts, this seems to remain true.

Melania Trump sets up her office in Florida

Melania Trump wasn't the most active first lady who ever entered the White House. She launched her "Be Best" initiative, which targeted online bullying, but the campaign didn't take off in the ways she might have hoped. As CNN reported in 2020, the project "[fell] short of its goals at 2nd year mark."

Despite her apparent reluctance to hustle in the White House, Melania announced on Twitter in February 2021 that she had taken a professional step after leaving Washington. "Mrs. Melania Trump is announcing the opening of The Office of Melania Trump. Please follow this account for news and updates."

Per a later publication by CNN, the former first lady was setting up shop in Palm Beach, Florida, and her proposed use for the space was to continue "Be Best" with a focus on tackling cyberbullying, among other issues. The outlet noted in January 2021 that Melania was working out of Mar-a-Lago but wanted a different location. She was to be joined by three former aides from the White House, including Hayley D'Antuono, who was her director of operations at the White House, Mary "Casey" Finzer, an assistant, and Marcia Kelly, who worked in an unpaid capacity in the White House. CNN could not confirm whether Kelly would be paid at the Palm Beach office. As for "Be Best," who knows? Some things take time.

She visited Manhattan without Donald Trump

Melania Trump has always loved New York City, something that didn't change when the family moved to Washington, D.C. In an episode of "Naughty But Nice with Rob Schuter," the podcast host polled his listeners about whether or not Melania would go back to NYC (possibly alone). The results were revealed in the subsequent episode, and 84% of participating listeners thought that Donald and Melania Trump would not stay together.

As noted on "Naughty But Nice," Barron Trump is a consideration in the family's living situation. In light of this, it's not terribly surprising that one of the few sightings of Melania post-White House occurred in Manhattan. As People reported, Melania was spotted arriving at Trump Tower in July 2021, and the outlet noted that she and Barron Trump were planning on spending a chunk of the summer in both New York and at their golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Donald Trump had gone in May.

Since Melania was spotted alone in New York on this particular visit, many wondered how Donald Trump feels about her independence. "Donald is fine with that as long as she is satisfied, leaves him alone, and makes appearances when needed," a source told People. "Melania is happiest when she is with her own family members, including her son. She is not dumb, she just knows how to handle her life to make it as fulfilling for her as possible."

The ongoing enigma

Despite numerous biographies written on Melania Trump and her decades in the spotlight, the former first lady continues to be a mystery to the world, exacerbated by the fact that reports on her seem to vary greatly. Mary Jordan, one of Melania's biographers who wrote "The Art of Her Deal," explained, to some degree, the enigma of Melania: "I think a lot of people thought she just wanted to be rich," Jordan begins. "And she wanted not just to be rich — I heard that several times from key people: 'You don't understand, she wanted to be known'" (via People).

What's even more interesting is the ongoing narrative that Melania had zero investment in Donald Trump's political life. It's clear that she doesn't want to take a front-and-center role, but it might not be entirely accurate to believe that she wasn't involved at all. Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Jordan for her book that Trump relied heavily on Melania for advice. "She would give him such good, solid, concrete advice," he said of the couple. "I would say 95 percent of the time, he took that advice ... She has amazing political instincts. She is exceptionally smart, and people misread her because she is quiet."

If this is so, Melania certainly is a case where the quiet, reserved type has been underestimated, and judging from her stage presence compared to that of her husband's, it's clear here that opposites attract.

She's leaving Donald Trump's 2024 rallies to other Trump women

Melania Trump has never been a fan of rallies. This was all too clear while Donald Trump was on his campaign trail prior to his inauguration. While Trump hasn't officially confirmed his 2024 presidential bid (at the time of this writing), as The Washington Post notes, the speculation has run rampant that he would, indeed, make another shot for the White House. What would Melania's role be in this sequel? By all accounts, we might expect her to be as removed as she was the first time, leaving the supporting roles to other women in the Trump sphere. An insider told CNN: "You're not going to see her at rallies or campaign events, even if he 'officially' says he's running again."

The source added: "Instead it's going to be Lara (Trump, the wife of Trump's son, Eric) or (Kimberly) Guilfoyle (the girlfriend of Trump's eldest son, Don). They have that same urge Trump has to (run) again; Melania absolutely does not."

Melania could fill the role of first lady again, should Trump succeed, but she could also be even more politically eclipsed by stepdaughter Ivanka Trump, which might very well be fine with Melania. Bloomberg reported that Donald Trump wasn't necessarily allying with Mike Pence again, and rumors circulated that Ivanka would take on the role as Vice President. If that's the case, Ivanka would be front and center during the campaign, leaving Melania to the privacy she so seems to crave.

Melania Trump would show up for 2024

We know that Melania Trump doesn't want to be in front of a microphone or boosting crowd morale at a Trump rally, but she would be there, should Donald Trump win again in 2024. Melania might be reluctant about another run, though. An insider told Politico what Donald Trump was facing post-White House in terms of his wife. "The only thing that Trump cares about these days is golf and Melania. And if she doesn't want him to run, then it's going to be pushing a big rock up the hill," the insider said. "I don't think politics is her thing. She doesn't like the game."

This may be the case, but another source told the outlet that Melania would be by her husband's side anyway. "[If Trump] runs, she will be right there. She's not going to have her own rallies. But did she ever?"

There's so much about Melania that we don't understand. As The Washington Post reported, early on in Trump's presidency, semi-joking "Free Melania" memes populated the Internet. Yet, she doesn't seem to need our help. The former first lady knows exactly what she's doing, even if that's unclear to the outside world. So post-White House, Melania has been doing exactly what she likes: staying away from the spotlight and being a devoted mother. Whether she's hibernating before another election is anyone's guess, but if she came back, we know she'd wear her shield sunglasses and couture and remain as much of an enigma as ever.