The Untold Truth Of Ivana Trump

On July 14, 2022, former President of the United States Donald Trump announced that Ivana Trump, his first wife and the mother of his oldest kids, had died. "I am very saddened to inform all of those that loved her, of which there are many, that Ivana Trump has passed away at her home in New York City," he shared on Truth Social (via Fox News). The former president would go on to describe Ivana as "a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman" who took great pride in her kids.

According to Fox News, the New York Fire Department headed to Ivana's house after responding to a 911 call reporting a cardiac arrest. On arrival, Ivana was found unconscious and subsequently pronounced dead at the scene. Medical examiners have since revealed, per CNN, that the famed socialite died from "blunt impact injuries" to the torso following a fall down the stairs in her Manhattan home.

While the Trump family is dealing with the passing of their fierce matriarch, Ivana's tragic death has also been met with tributes from several notable figures. "She was a fabulously entertaining lady & great interviewee who remained fiercely loyal to her ex-husband Donald," British television host Piers Morgan wrote in part on Twitter. Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former advisor to Donald, has also described the late socialite as "the embodiment of the American Dream" in a touching tweet. But beyond Donald, her kids, and her link to the American political space, just who was Ivana Trump?

Ivana Trump started her life as a skier

Born Ivana Marie Zelnícková on February 20, 1949, in what is now known as Czechia (more widely known as Czech Republic), per Kafkadesk, Ivana Trump developed sports skills as a child, eventually picking up an interest in skiing. According to USA Today, Trump's career as a competitive skier started at the early age of six, allowing her to further hone her skills in the sport. Her specialty? Downhill and slalom. Definitely not the easiest if you ask around, but Trump was not one to give up. "I was a daredevil, though I was always scared on the downhill and broke my bones a thousand times," she once admitted (via the New York Daily News).

Encouraged by her father, Trump would eventually make the junior national team, reported Newsweek. By joining the team, she was able to represent her country in tournaments, affording her the luxury of traveling across Europe. The famed socialite had also claimed, per the New York Daily News, to have been chosen as an alternative skier for the Czech 1972 Olympic team. The accuracy of this, however, remains uncertain. Still, one thing is clear, Ivana Trump was a skier — and a badass one at that!

In addition to her years as a skier, Trump was also previously a model, working with clients like Eaton's department store and designer Aucki Sanft, according to Hola! This no doubt accounts for the socialite's quintessential style that we all came to love through the years.

She was previously married to an Austrian

Ivana Trump will likely be forever remembered as Donald Trump's ex-wife, but long before Donald came into the picture, she had a life of her own — which included another man. According to The Washington Post, in November 1971, Ivana, only 22 at the time, married Alfred Winklmayr, an Austrian skier, solely to get an Austrian passport. True to plans, she obtained her Austrian citizenship in March 1972, though she eventually divorced Winklamyr in 1973, per People.

In addition to her marriage to Winklamyr, Ivana was also involved in a couple more romantic relationships throughout the early '70s. People reported that the famed socialite had an affair with Bohemian poet Jiri Staid up until his death in 1973. Subsequently, she moved to Canada to reunite with Jiri Syrovatka, an old flame who was apparently the brain behind her arranged marriage to Winklamyr. 

It is not clear when Ivana and Syrovatka ended their relationship, but that probably doesn't matter much, because soon Donald came into the picture, and nothing ever remained the same.

She was Donald Trump's first wife

According to The Independent, Ivana Trump's first contact with Donald Trump was in 1976 while she was in New York for a fashion show. Recalling their first meeting, Ivana told the New York Post that she was waiting for a table with her friends when Donald struck up a conversation with her. He ended up sitting at their table and eventually cleared the bills before disappearing — something she said she found rather unusual. "I said, 'There's something strange because I've never met a man who didn't want anything from a woman and paid for it,'" Ivana told the outlet. The pair would end up entering into a romantic relationship, and by April 1977, barely a year after they met, Ivana and Donald got married.

That same year, the couple welcomed their first son, Donald Trump Jr. Their daughter, Ivanka Trump, was born four years later, in 1981, while their last child, Eric Trump, entered the world in 1984, per The Independent. 

While the couple did have their own share of marital bliss, their positive relationship did not last very long. Donald, an unrepentant womanizer, frequently cheated on Ivana with multiple women — one of whom was Marla Maples, a former beauty queen, according to the New York Post. Maples famously became Donald's second wife, and the mother of Tiffany Trump. 

Ivana Trump and Donald Trump had a messy divorce

Ivana Trump and Donald Trump might have started off on the right foot, but their split was anything but friendly. The public first caught wind of their troubled marriage during their 1989 Christmas holiday in Aspen, where they were, according to the Chicago Tribune, caught fighting over Donald's affair with Marla Maples. Ivana would go on to file for a divorce from Donald, a move that caught the attention of many. And the months that followed would prove rather contentious.

According to the New York Daily News, Ivana accused Donald of verbal assault and "rape," while describing their marriage as unsafe and improper for her. However, she would later recant her allegations, per The Daily Beast, claiming that she did not mean rape in a criminal context. This accusation was only one side of their messy divorce, though, which of course was made even more complicated by one thing — money.

People reported that Ivana previously signed a pre-nuptial agreement where she agreed to have a $25 million limit on what she could take as settlement in the case of a divorce. Her lawyers thought this to be an unjust arrangement, given Ivana's contributions to the success of the Trump empire. In 1992, the divorce proceedings came to an end, and Ivana walked away with $14 million, a 45-room Connecticut mansion, an apartment in Trump Plaza in Manhattan, and run of Mar-a-Lago for one month per year, The New York Times reported.

Ivana Trump was married twice more after Donald Trump

With the divorce drama behind her and a lot of millions to her name, Ivana Trump was not about to let one bad marriage deter her from love. Less than a year after her divorce from Donald Trump, Ivana started dating Italian businessman Riccardo Mazzucchelli in 1991, per Marca. In 1994, Mazzucchelli proposed with a Burmese sapphire ring, and by 1995, they were married. Things took a different turn for the couple, though, and in 1997 they announced their separation. "I'm very sad, I cry," Ivana admitted to People. "I love Riccardo. This is a tremendously hard time for me. It's very painful to go through six years of relationship with a person and to be disappointed or filing for divorce or whatever."

Despite the pain, Ivana moved on pretty quick, starting a romantic relationship with Roffredo Gaetani d'Aragona in 1997. According to Marca, Ivana and Gaetani d'Aragona were together for the rest of the '90s and up until 2005, when he died in a car crash.

Fast forward to 2008, and Ivana got married yet again to Rossano Rubicondi, an Italian actor who was 23 years younger than her. Less than a year after they tied the knot, Ivana and Rubicondi's marriage hit the rocks and they divorced. Still, as Page Six reported, they remained an on and off couple for many more years.

She had a great bond with her children

An exemplary example of a mother, Ivana Trump had a great relationship with her kids and loved them dearly. In 2016, the famed socialite admitted to solely raising her three kids, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump in their formative years and then leaving it to their father once they got older. "Donald wasn't really interested in the children until he could talk business with them," she said (via the New York Daily News). "When they turned 21, I handed them over to him and said 'Here's the finished product, you can take them from here.'"

In her 2017 memoir, "Raising Trump," Ivana wrote about her love for her children and how she was never too busy for them. "No matter how busy I was, I had breakfast with my children every day," she wrote (via OK!), adding that she enjoyed helping them with their homework before leaving the house. 

This love was of course reciprocal, as Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric never held back on letting the world know how much their mom meant to them. "We truly love her," Eric told CBS News in 2017. "I have amazing parents and I could not be more thankful because they are just great people."

Ivana Trump was instrumental in Donald Trump's success

Though she never made it to the White House, Ivana Trump was arguably Donald Trump's most influential wife — thanks in part to her undeniable contribution to the building of the Trump empire. More often than not, during their marriage, Ivana worked alongside Donald on different projects across his organizations. According to Reuters, Ivana once worked as the vice president for interior design for the Trump Organization. The Guardian also reported that, after Donald purchased The Plaza Hotel in 1988, Ivana served as its manager, and has since been praised for her incredible work bringing it back to life.

Additionally, Ivana worked as a supervisor for the Trump Taj Mahal Casino, and was also actively involved with the development of Trump's Castle, where she served as president and CEO. Recognizing her contributions to Donald's success, in 2017, Ivana told "CBS Sunday Morning" that the former president couldn't have achieved all he did without her. Now, you know what they say: "Behind every successful man, there is a woman." For Donald Trump, it just so happens to be his first wife. 

An icon through and through, Ivana Trump will be greatly missed by all.