Ivana Trump, former US president’s first wife and mother to three of his children, dies aged 73

US News

Ivana Trump, the first wife of former US president Donald Trump, has died aged 73.

Mr Trump made the announcement on his social media platform Truth Social.

He wrote: “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.

“She was a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life.

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“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.

“Rest In Peace, Ivana!”

Donald Trump and Ivana Trump in 1992. Pic: AP
Image:
The couple in 1992. Pic: AP

Ivana and Donald Trump married in 1977.

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Partners in love and business – with her playing roles such as manager of one of his Atlantic City casinos – they were fixtures of New York’s see-and-be-seen scene before their equally public, and messy divorce in 1992, after Mr Trump had met his next wife, Marla Maples.

During the split, Mrs Trump accused him of rape in a sworn statement in the early 1990s. She later said she did not mean it literally, but rather that she felt violated.

But in recent years she had been on good terms with her former husband.

Ivana Trump pictured in 2018
Image:
Ivana Trump pictured in 2018

Ivana told the New York Post in 2016 she was both a supporter and adviser to the former president.

“I suggest a few things,” she told the paper. “We speak before and after the appearances and he asks me what I thought.”

She said she once advised him to “be more calm”.

But she added: “Donald cannot be calm. He’s very outspoken. He just says it as it is.”

‘I’m first lady’

In 2017, while promoting a book, she told TV show Good Morning America she spoke to the then-president about every two weeks and had his direct White House number, but did not want to call too frequently “because Melania is there and I don’t want to cause any kind of jealousy or something like that because I’m basically first Trump wife, OK?” she said with a laugh.

“I’m first lady, OK?”

Melania Trump’s spokesperson at the time responded, saying there was “clearly no substance to this statement from an ex, this is unfortunately only attention-seeking and self-serving noise”.

Ivana was born Ivana Zelnickova in 1949 in the Czech city of Gottwaldov, the former city of Zlin that just had been renamed by the Communists, who took over the country in 1948.

FILE - Ivana Trump announces the new "Italiano Diet" to stay healthy and fight obesity at the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel on June 13, 2018, in New York. Ivana Trump, the first wife of Donald Trump, has died in New York City, the former president announced on social media Thursday. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Image:
Pic: Associated Press

After divorcing Donald Trump, she went on to become an entrepreneur in her own right, starting a fashion line and writing various books.

She married and divorced her third and fourth husbands and even made a movie cameo as America’s most famous ex-wife in The First Wives Club where she had the immortal line “don’t get mad – get everything!”

Dearly missed

The Trump family released a statement, calling her “an incredible woman – a force in business, a world-class athlete, a radiant beauty, and caring mother and friend.”

The statement went on to say: “Ivana Trump was a survivor. She fled from communism and embraced this country.

“She taught her children about grit and toughness, compassion and determination. She will be dearly missed by her mother, her three children and ten grandchildren.”

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