Inside Ivana and Melania Trump’s feud after Donald entered the White House: President’s ex claimed she was the real ‘First Lady’ while Melania branded her counterpart an ‘attention seeker’

  • Ivana Trump and Melania Trump feuded while Donald served as US president
  • Ivana said she was the real first lady because she was the ‘first Trump wife’
  • She also implied her close relationship with Donald may be troubling to Melania
  • Melania hit back, alleging Donald’s first wife was an ‘attention seeker’
  • Ivana never publicly said she disliked Melania, as she did of Donald’s other wife 
  • She did, however, share that her daughter, Ivanka, liked Melania ‘fine’ 

While Ivana Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump never explicitly said they disliked each other, their actions over the years have provided some insight about their true feelings of one another.

Ivana, the first wife of Donald Trump and mother of his three eldest children, feuded with the former president’s current wife while he held presidential office.

The Czech-born model and businesswoman once claimed that she was ‘the first lady’ because she was ‘the first Trump wife.’

She also said she shared a close relationship with her ex-husband, which apparently included a direct number to the White House she didn’t use because she didn’t want to cause any issues between Donald and Melania, 52.

Ivana, 73, has said very little about Melania’s role in their lives, though she once admitted her daughter, Ivanka, likes her father’s third wife ‘fine’.

The mother-of-three passed away Thursday in her home in New York City’s Upper East Side after suffering cardiac arrest. Melania has yet to publicly pay tribute to her, despite other Trump family members having already done so.

Ivana Trump (left) and Melania Trump (right) publicly feuded while Donald Trump (center) held office as president of the United States. The three are pictured together in September 2002

Rumors started flying about Ivana’s apparent distaste for Melania in 2017, when she publicly declared herself the actual first lady.

‘Melania is there and I don’t want to cause any kind of jealousy or anything like that because I’m the first Trump wife. I’m the first lady, OK?’ Ivana said during a ‘Good Morning America’ interview in October 2017. 

Ivana was invited on the morning show to promote her memoir, ‘Raising Trump.’ 

Her comment infuriated Melania, who quickly issued a statement through her spokesman, which called Ivana an ‘attention seeker.’ 

‘Mrs. Trump has made the White House a home for Barron and the president. She loves living in Washington, DC and is honored by her role as First Lady of the United States. She plans to use her title and role to help children, not sell books. 

‘There is clearly no substance to this statement from an ex. Unfortunately only attention seeking and self-serving noise,’ the statement read. 

During Ivana’s interview, she also revealed how she shared a close relationship with her ex and would speak with him about once every two weeks. 

In an interview with CBS’ ‘This Weekend,’ conducted around the same time, Ivana revealed her ex-husband had offered her the ambassadorship to the Czech Republic, but she said she turned it down so she could keep up her jet-set lifestyle and summers in Saint-Tropez, France.

Ivana was a 28-year-old model from Czechoslovakia in 1977 when she married Donald Trump 

The couple was married for 13 years and had three children – Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric – before splitting in 1990 (The Trumps are pictured with their three children in 1986)

Ivana, Donald, Eric and Ivanka Trump are pictured at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., in 1998

Ivana made headlines again in April 2019 when she diverged details about her daughter’s relationship with the then-first lady.

She claimed Ivanka, now 40, liked her father’s third wife ‘fine.’ adding she didn’t like his second wife, Marla Maples. 

Ivana refused to even name Maples – whom she says contributed to the downfall of her marriage to Donald – as she discussed her daughter’s relationship with her stepmother.

‘She likes her [Melania] fine, because she didn’t cause me to break up the marriage like the other one – I don’t even want to pronounce her name,’ Ivana said of Maples in an interview with The Atlantic. 

Trump’s first wife said around the time of their divorce that Ivanka would come home from school crying every day and ask if she was still going to be Ivanka Trump even after her parents were no longer together. 

Another source described as close with Ivanka in the article – whose author had a short, off-the-record meeting with the then-first daughter – said the two women have a ‘desire to be mutually respectful,’ but added that their relationship is nowhere near ‘affectionate.’ 

Stephanie Grisham, Melania’s spokeswoman, told the magazine at the time that Ivanka and Melania have ‘always shared a close relationship and still do today.’ 

Ivana claimed her daughter, Ivanka Trump (left), had a ‘fine’ relationship with her stepmother, Melania Trump (right). The pair are pictured together in January 2017 during the presidential inaugural parade for President Donald Trump

Donald began a relationship with Melania shortly after the pair met in 1998. They married in 2005. Melania Trump is pictured on her wedding day

Slovenian model Melania Trump is pictured on the February 2005 cover of Vogue magazine in the gown she wore during her Jan. 22, 2005 wedding to Donald Trump

Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Donald Trump, Barron Trump, Melania Trump, Vanessa Haydon Trump, Kai Madison Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Donald John Trump III, and Ivanka Trump (pictured left to right) pose for photos on stage after Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the US presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City

Ivana was a 28-year-old model from Czechoslovakia in 1977 when she married Donald, now 76.

The couple was married for 13 years and had three children – Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric – before splitting in 1990 after the real estate mogul had an affair with Maples.

The two got divorced in 1992 after an ugly public battle between Ivana and Maples, who was 15 years her junior.

It exploded into the public eye shortly after Christmas 1989 when Donald flew Maples on his private jet to Aspen, Colo., where he had already traveled with his wife and three young children.

He put Maples up in a hotel but three days into the trip his mistress collided with the family in a restaurant and engaged in a screaming match with Ivana in front of the children.

‘It’s out! It’s finally out!’ Maples yelled. 

The confrontation gripped the nation. ‘With Dynasty dead, just tune to the Trumps,’ the Chicago Tribune quipped at the time.

In her memoir ‘The Trump Card,’ Ivanka – who was nine at the time – claimed she was accosted by reporters as she walked to school following the incident.

She claimed she was even asked to confirm an infamous story on the front page of the New York Post, that Maples had told friends of her lover: ‘Best sex I’ve ever had.’ 

Maples married Trump in 1993, two months before their daughter Tiffany was born.

The couple announced they were separating in 1997. They divorced two years later.

Donald began a relationship with Melania shortly after the pair met in 1998. They married in 2005 and Barron, Trump’s youngest son, was born in 2006.

Ivana relished her role as a loving mother and proudly described how she raised them without their father’s help. Ivana Trump (right) is pictured with her then-husband Donald (left) and their infant daughter, Ivanka (center)

Donald (left) and Ivana (not pictured) divorced after the real estate mogul had an affair with model Marla Maples (right). Donald and Maples are seen together at their 1993 wedding

Ivana with her three kids in 2011 at the launch of the ‘Ivana Living Legend Wine Collection’ in New York City 

Ivana hasn’t shied away from sharing disdain for Maples. In fact, during an October 2017 interview on CBS she even referred to the model as a ‘showgirl.’

‘I don’t talk about her. She’s a showgirl. Never achieve anything in her life,’ Ivana said of Maples, who stared in The Will Rogers Follies on Broadway in 1991. 

She also implied that Maples was to blame for her marriage ending.

‘Well, she was flirting… and I think she was flirting and and she got away with it,’ Ivana said.

When asked if she blames Donald now for their marriage ending, she replied: ‘I’m not sure, because Donald would get 1,000 business cards in the pocket every night. He could choose any girl he wanted to have.

‘So I’m not sure if she was. There could be another one, could be another one. I really don’t know.’ 

In that same interview, Ivana was actually complimentary toward Melania, at least in relation to Maples. When asked the difference between the two, Ivana said: ‘One is nobody. And the other one is first lady.’ 

Luciano Pavarotti, Ivana Trump, Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump (left to right) attend a party at the Central Park Boathouse in October 1987

Ivana Trump is shown with two of her children, Ivanka (left) and Eric (right), as Riccardo Mazzucchelli looks on in October 1993

Donald Trump, his then-girlfriend, Melania, Ivana Trump and her boyfriend, Roffredo Gaetani attend a benefit auction at Cipriani November 28, 2000 in New York City

Since their divorce finalized, Ivana and Donald were able to start a friendship that continued despite both remarrying several times.

The pair managed to find peace as co-parents with Ivana telling CNN in 2015: ‘Donald and I are the best of friends and together have raised three children that we love and are very proud of.’

Donald also once called Ivana his ‘twin as a woman,’ his first wife claimed to Vanity Fair.

While the pair seemingly had a good relationship, Ivana did not hesitate to take credit for raising her children without their father’s help. 

After Donald took presidential office and even for years privately beforehand, it was Ivana who took credit for the three kids, their success and their mild manners. 

She fought ferociously for them during her divorce from their father, and wrote in her memoir that it was she who raised them – not their dad who ‘provided’ for them but had no interest until they ‘could talk business with him’. 

‘I got total custody of the kids when I divorced Donald. That was non-negotiable. But even if Donald and I had stayed together, I would have raised the kids,’ she penned.

‘Donald was the kind of father who was at the office at 6 in the morning. 

‘I would take the kids to his office after the breakfast and they would play on the floor with the Legos while Donald was on the telephone.

‘He provided for them and he loved them. But he does not know how to make small talk and he certainly was not going to say, “Oh, choo, choo, choo, choo. How cute we are today. Let’s go to the park in the stroller.” No.’ 

‘That was not his kind of thing. He only started talking to them when they were in university and they could talk business,’ she told The New York Post in 2018. 

Melania Trump (left) is pictured with Donald Trump’s daughters – Tiffany Trump (center) and Ivanka Trump (right) – after the ribbon cutting at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC on October 26, 2016

Ivanka Trump (left), Donald Trump (back) and Marla Maples (right) attend the ‘Versus’ Versace Fashion Show on October 28, 1995 at Bryant Park in New York City

Ivana Trump (left) celebrates her engagement to Rossano Rubicondi (not pictured) at Italian singer Nicola Congiu’s private performance at 500 Park Avenue on October 15, 2007 in New York City. She is pictured with her children, Donald Jr. (center) and Ivanka (right)

In the last years of her life, Ivana – who was once a regular on the New York social scene – had shied away from glitzy public events, instead maintaining a much more low-key lifestyle.

She was spotted on occasions stepping out in the Upper East Side neighborhood where her townhouse was located, either on shopping trips, or for meals that she often enjoyed with Rubicondi, before he passed away.

In recent months, she has been accompanied by an unnamed female aide, who was frequently seen by her side whenever the socialite was pictured out in public.

She died Thursday of a suspected cardiac arrest at the age of 73 after being found ‘unconscious and unresponsive’ in her New York City townhouse.

It was reported that the socialite was found at the bottom of a set of stairs in her Manhattan home, however an official cause of death has yet to be confirmed.

News of Ivana’s death was shared by Donald via a post on his Truth Social account on Thursday afternoon.

‘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 wrote.

‘She was a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life,’ he continued. ‘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!’

Ivana Trump, model and first wife of former President Donald Trump, is being remembered fondly by her children with the ex-commander-in-chief

Her youngest son, Eric, posted this photo of the two of them to his Instagram Thursday

Her only daughter, Ivanka, posted to Instagram shortly after the news broke with a series of photos of them together throughout the Trumps’ lives

Former President Donald Trump shared the news of his ex-wife’s passing on his Truth Social account on Thursday afternoon, revealing she died in her home on New York’s Upper East Side 

In his statement, Trump, 76, paid tribute to Ivana as a ‘wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life’ 

Ivana’s son, Eric, 38, confirmed the news of her death to, saying in a statement issued on behalf of the family: ‘Our mother was an incredible woman – a force in business, a world-class athlete, a radiant beauty, and caring mother and friend.

‘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.’

Eric also took to Instagram to post a tribute to his late mother, sharing several images of the socialite and her children over the years, including photos of Ivana with her children when they were younger.

Ivanka also posted to Instagram shortly after the news broke with a series of photos of them together throughout the Trumps’ lives. 

‘Heartbroken by the passing of my mother,’ she wrote. ‘Mom was brilliant, charming, passionate and wickedly funny. She modeled strength, tenacity and determination in her every action. 

‘She lived life to the fullest — never forgoing an opportunity to laugh and dance. I will miss her forever and will keep her memory alive in our hearts always.’

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