Ivana Trump

Ivana Marie Trump (née Zelníčková, Czech pronunciation: [ˈɪvana ˈmarɪjɛ ˈzɛlɲiːt͡ʃkovaː]; February 20, 1949) is a Czech-American businesswoman and former fashion model. She was the first wife of U.S. President Donald Trump from 1977 until 1991.

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Ivana Trump cropped retouched.jpg

Early years

Ivana Zelníčková was born in the Moravian town of Zlín (formerly known as Gottwaldov), Czechoslovakia, the daughter of Miloš Zelníček, who was Czech, and Marie Francová. From a very young age, her father nurtured and encouraged her skiing talent. In the early 1970s, she attended Charles University in Prague.

According to Zelníčková, she was selected as an alternate on the Czechoslovak ski team during the 1972 Winter Olympics, her specialties being the downhill and slalom. However, in 1989, Petr Pomezný, Secretary General of the Czechoslovak Olympic Committee, said, "Who is this Ivana woman, and why do people keep calling us about her? We have searched so many times and have consulted many, many people, and there is no such girl in our records."

Personal life

In 1971, Zelníčková married real estate agent Alfred Winklmayr. They divorced in 1973. She left Czechoslovakia for Canada to be with a childhood friend, George Syrovatka, who owned a ski boutique there. For the following two years, she lived in Montreal, improved her English by taking night courses at McGill University, and worked as a model for some of Canada's top fur companies. Zelníčková then left Syrovatka and moved to New York to promote the Montreal Olympics.

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Ivana and Donald Trump, in November 1985.

In New York, Zelníčková met Donald Trump, son of real estate developer Fred Trump. On April 7, 1977, they married in a lavish wedding. Donald and Ivana Trump became leading figures in New York society during the 1980s. They worked on several large projects, including the renovation of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City, construction of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey and the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. They had three children: Donald John Jr. (born December 31, 1977), Ivanka Marie (born October 30, 1981), and Eric Fredrick (born January 6, 1984). Donald Jr. learned to speak fluent Czech (with help of his maternal grandfather), while daughter Ivanka has only basic understanding of her mother's native tongue and Eric was not exposed to the language because at the time of his birth his grandparents were already comfortable enough in using English. Ivana has eight grandchildren.

Ivana took a major role in The Trump Organization. She became the Vice President of Interior Design for the company, leading the signature design of Trump Tower. Afterwards, her then-husband appointed her to head up the Trump Castle Hotel and Casino as president. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1988.

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President Ronald Reagan shaking hands with Donald Trump. Ivana Trump is standing beside, 1985

In the late 1980s, she left Atlantic City to devote more time to her family. Her husband asked her to oversee the restoration of the landmark Plaza Hotel, and she took over as its president. She was named Hotelier of the Year in 1990. Toward the end of that year, rumors began to circulate that Donald Trump was having an affair with a former beauty queen from Georgia, Marla Maples. While the family was on vacation in Aspen, Colorado, that Christmas, Ivana Trump encountered Maples on the ski slopes. In 1991, she retained entertainment attorney Neil Papiano and filed for divorce, seeking a greater amount of the family fortune than had been set out in her prenuptial agreement. Her husband fought back in court, protesting her claims that she had contributed to the Trump Organization.

The divorce proceedings led to extensive pieces in the gossip columns. In October 1990, Ivana Trump's 63-year-old father died suddenly from a heart attack. The Trumps stood side-by-side at the funeral. Their divorce was settled in 1991. The settlement remains sealed by the courts. Three years after her divorce from Donald, Ivana married Riccardo Mazzucchelli. The marriage was dissolved before two years had elapsed, and she filed a $15 million breach of contract suit against Mazzucchelli for violating the confidentiality clause in their prenuptial agreement. The suit was settled out of court. In 1997, Mazzucchelli sued Ivana and Donald for libel. In the Summer of 1997 Ivana started dating Roffredo Gaetani, until his death in 2005.

In April 2008, Ivana, then 59, married Rossano Rubicondi, then 36. The $3 million wedding for 400 guests was hosted by ex-husband Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate. Daughter Ivanka Trump was her maid of honor. On December 1, 2008, Ivana confirmed to the Associated Press that she had filed a legal separation agreement three months previously; she has stated in interviews that she and her husband have an on-again/off-again relationship.

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Ivana Trump in 2009.

Career

Soon after her divorce from Donald Trump, Ivana Trump signed on with the William Morris Agency and developed lines of clothing, fashion jewelry and beauty products that have been sold through television shopping channels. In June 1995, Trump began writing an advice column for Globe, titled Ask Ivana. In 1998, she bought 33% of Croatia's second-largest daily newspaper - with a circulation of 100,000 - she used to travel with her parents from the Czech Republic to Croatia on vacation. Also due to her investments in Croatia, and, as a sports enthusiast and supporter of Croatian tourism, she attended the first ever Beach Polo Tournament in Croatia, Rovinj, May 2016.

In February 1999, Trump launched her own lifestyle magazine titled Ivana's Living in Style. Ivana Trump has written several books including the novels For Love Alone, Lucy Wilkins and Free to Love as well as a self-help book called The Best is Yet to Come: Coping with Divorce and Enjoying Life Again. In 2001, Ivana contributed an advice column for Divorce magazine. She played a cameo role in the Hollywood film The First Wives Club (1996) with the line, "Ladies you have to be strong and independent. And remember: don't get mad, get everything."

In 2005, Trump was involved in several proposed condominium projects that ultimately failed, including the never-built Ivana Las Vegas, and the Bentley Bay in Miami, Florida. She was the host of Oxygen Network's reality-dating series Ivana Young Man in 2006. In January 2010, Trump ended her advice column in Globe to pursue other business interests. Later that year, she sued a Finnish fashion company, accusing it of selling women's clothing that incorporates her name without permission. In the same year, Trump took part in the UK's Celebrity Big Brother, finishing seventh.

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