The former president, who shares three children: Donald Jr, Ivanka, and Eric, with his ex-wife, shared the news of her passing in a statement in which he described her as a “wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life”.
While the former couple faced tumultuous years fraught with infidelity and breakups, they were reported to have a strong friendship in recent years.
This is everything to know about Donald and Ivana’s relationship, including what the 73 year old said about her former husband before her death.
The couple reportedly met in New York City in 1976 while Ivana, a model, was in town for a fashion show.
According to Ivana, who reflected on their first meeting while speaking to the New York Post in 2016, she and her friends were waiting for a table at a bar on the Upper East Side when the real-estate mogul approached her.
“[There’s] this tall blond guy with blue eyes. He said: ‘I’m Donald Trump and I see you’re looking for a table. I can help you.’ I look at my friends and said: ‘The good news is, we’re going to get a table real fast. The bad news is, this guy is going to be sitting with us,’” she recalled.
Donald ended up paying the bill and disappearing, according to Ivana, who found him sitting outside in the “driver’s seat of his own limousine” when she left the bar.
“He drove us home and then we started to date,” she said.
After less than a year of dating, the pair wed in 1977. Nine months later, they welcomed their eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. The couple had their daughter Ivanka in 1981, and their youngest son, Eric, in 1984.
Donald was not faithful during their marriage, however, with the businessman reportedly engaging in a number of affairs during their relationship. “I don’t have to answer that. I never speak about my wife - which is one of the advantages of not being a politician. My marriage is and should be a personal thing,” he told Playboy in 1990 when asked by the magazine whether he and Ivana were monogamous, before adding: “I think any man enjoys flirtations, and if he said he didn’t, he’d be lying or he’d be a politician trying to get the extra four votes.”
One of the women he cheated on his wife with was model Marla Maples, whom he seemingly began a relationship with in 1990.
The rumoured affair eventually led to the end of Ivana and Donald’s marriage, with the couple divorcing in 1992.
“It’s gonna be amicable, I promise you that,” Donald said at the time, according to People. “Listen, we never had a fight. The kids never saw anything wrong. And they’re gonna be great. She’s gonna be great.”
However, Ivana’s thoughts on the matter were different, with the professional skier claiming that the divorce had left the couple’s three children “wrecks”.
“The children are all wrecks,” Ivana told reporter Liz Smith at the time, according to Vanity Fair. “Ivanka now comes home from school crying: ‘Mommy, does it mean I’m not going to be Ivanka Trump anymore?’ Little Eric asks me, ‘Is it true you are going away and not coming back?’”
Ivana also reportedly contested her pre-nup, which granted her custody of their three children as well as possession of their 45-room, $3.7m home in Connecticut and a $25m settlement.
In 1993, Donald and Maples welcomed the arrival of their daughter Tiffany Trump, with the couple tying the knot two months later.
Of the marriage, Ivana wrote in her 2017 memoir Raising Trump: “After the showgirl got pregnant and had a daughter, Donald married her. The whole world was watching. He couldn’t not wed the mother of his new baby, regardless of whether his heart was really in it.”
However, despite the unhappy ending to their marriage, the former couple remained on good terms, with Ivana claiming to have a “direct number” to the White House when her former husband, who divorced Maples in 1999 and wed Melania Trump in 2005, became president.
In her memoir, Ivana also revealed that she had “no problems” with her ex-husband’s third wife, as the Slovenian-American model “didn’t break up [her] marriage”.
“I have no problems with her at all. Why should I? She didn’t break up my marriage,” she wrote.
As for whether she was envious of Melania’s role as first lady, Ivana said she was grateful not to have anything to do with Washington, DC, and would “rather be a secret adviser to Donald from the comfort of my town house, should he call”.
While sharing the news of Ivana’s passing on Thursday, Donald said: “Her pride and joy were her three children, Donald Jr, Ivanka, and Eric. She was so proud of them, as we were all so proud of her.”
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