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Inside Donald Trump and ex-wife Ivana's marriage, how she raised Don Jr, Eric and Ivanka ALONE

Despite their famous father, Ivana Trump was fiercely proud of her three children, Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump and raised them all alone
Ivana Trump with her then-husband Donald and their three kids Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump (Credit: Eric Trump/Instagram)
Ivana Trump with her then-husband Donald and their three kids Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump (Credit: Eric Trump/Instagram)

After former President Donald Trump took office, and even for years privately before, Ivana Trump took credit for the kids, their success, and their good manners. Ivana may not have been in the position of the First Lady, but she proudly described her journey of how she raised her children alone. She fought vehemently for them during her divorce from their father, writing in her memoir that it was she who raised them, not their father, who "provided'' for them but had no interest in them until they ''could talk business with him.''

Eric Trump, younger to Ivanka Trump, paid tribute to his mother Ivana after her death at the age of 73 via an Instagram post on Thursday, July 14. ''It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Ivana Trump", Eric wrote."Our mother was an incredible woman — a force in business, a world-class athlete, a radiant beauty, and a 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", he added. "She will be dearly missed by her mother, her three children, and ten grandchildren.''


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Inside Ivana Trump and Donald Trump's marriage

Ivana, a Czech-American socialite, businesswoman, and former model, was married to Donald Trump in 1977. There are several accounts of how they met. In 1979, the New York Times reported that the "future couple had met at a party in Montreal". While modeling in Montreal, Ivana met Donald during those days. The couple welcomed their first child, Donald Jr that year. In 1980 they welcomed their second child Ivanka and then in 1984, they welcomed Eric. Ivana and Donald filed for their divorce in 1990 after 15 years of marriage. Ivana's marriage to Donald and their divorce hit headlines due to Donald's affair with Marla Maples whom he went on to marry.

Donald Trump and Ivana Trump attend The Eric Trump 8th Annual Golf Tournament at Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 15, 2014 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)

Ivana authored many books, including a self-help book on divorce, and most recently a 2017 autobiography called 'Raising Trump' about her own childhood and experiences raising children with Donald Trump. "My mother was much stricter than my father when we were growing up," Ivanka Trump once noted in an interview with the Evening Standard. “She was the disciplinarian.”

What led to their divorce?

In her memoir, Ivana mentioned her divorce and noted how she knew her marriage was over years before their divorce after she noticed another woman, Maples. While Donald was married to Ivana, he was in an affair with Maples that led to his divorce from Ivana and went on to marry Maples and eventually welcomed his fourth child Tiffany Trump. "This young blonde woman approached me out of the blue and said "I’m Marla and I love your husband. Do you?", Ivana wrote in her memoir. ''I said Get lost. I love my husband. It was unladylike but I was in shock.''

Ivana's longest and most famous marriage was to Donald Trump (Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

After Donald's marriage with Maples, Ivana fought for custody of the three kids. ''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. 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 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", Ivana wrote.

Ivana was "devastated" by Donald's lawyers' claims during divorce negotiations. The divorce was granted on the grounds of the “cruel and inhuman treatment” of Ivana. During the divorce proceedings, Ivana said Donald had raped and assaulted her, an accusation that resurfaced during Donald's first presidential campaign, Vanity Fair reported.

Ivana's marriages

Alfred Winklmayr

Ivana married her first husband, Alfred Winklmayr, in Prague in November 1971 when she was 22. The model and the Austrian ski instructor were married for two years. According to The Washington Post, Ivana’s attorney back in 1990 described the union as a “Cold War marriage” that was “never consummated.”

Riccardo Mazzucchelli

Ivana married Italian entrepreneur and international businessman Riccardo Mazzucchelli in November 1995. According to People, he initially proposed unsuccessfully with a 10-carat diamond. Years later, he presented her with a massive Burmese sapphire, and she accepted. They were married for two years. The pair divorced in 1997, after which Mazzucchelli told the outlet, “I loved Ivana a lot, and I think I did my very best. I did for her more than Donald ever did.”

Rossano Rubicondi

Ivana married much-younger Italian actor Rossano Rubicondi at Mar-A-Lago — the luxury Palm Beach, Fla., club and resort owned by Donald — in April 2008. The two even appeared together on the Italian version of “Dancing with the Stars” in 2018. “The relationship just ran its course,” Ivana explained to Page Six the following year. “Rossano spends a lot of time in Italy, and I spend a lot of time in New York, Miami and St-Tropez … The long-distance relationship really doesn’t work. We had a good time and are friends. The split was amicable.” Rubicondi died in November 2021 at the age of 49.


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Ivana's journey of raising her children

(L-R) Donald Trump Jr., Ivana Trump, Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump attend the 9th Annual Eric Trump Foundation Golf Invitational Auction & Dinner at Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 21, 2015 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo by Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images)

In 2017, Ivana wrote for TIME, "I believe the credit for raising such great kids belongs to me. I was in charge of raising our children before our divorce, and I had sole custody of them after the split". ''I made the decisions about their education, activities, travel, child care, and allowances. When each one finished college, I said to my ex-husband, Here is the finished product. Now it’s your turn'", Ivana wrote. "By all rights, as children of divorce, surrounded by wealth and forced into fame, Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric could have become the most damaged, druggie, poor little rich kids on the planet", she added. The children were regularly spotted visiting their mother at her Upper East Side home, which she shared with her own mother.