Ivana's death ruled an accident: Read the fascinating life story of Trump's first wife
Ivana Trump was found at the bottom of the staircase in her apartment on July 14, 2022. She was 73 years old. Coroners have made the preliminary assessment that her death was an accident, according to media like the Washington Post. Her wounds suggests that she must have fallen down the stairs.
Ivana Marie Zelníčková was an athlete, model, and businesswoman. As Donald Trump's first wife, she helped expand the network of Trump hotels and casinos in the 1970s and 1980s. But there was much more to her life.
Ivana and Donald Trump were married for thirteen years: from 1977 to 1990. She was the mother of three of his children: Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. Although they divorced long ago, Ivana always remained a big part of Donald's life.
Back in the 1970s, before she married Donald Trump, Ivana had already been married. Her first husband was the Austrian skier Alfred Winklmayr, whom she had met in Canada.
Born in the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia at the time) in 1949, Ivana had studied Sports Science and started skiing professionally. As an elite skier, she managed to represent Czechoslovakia in the 1972 Olympic Games.
Athletics allowed Ivana to leave the country, which was under Soviet rule in those days. Getting married to Winklmayr in Canada was a way for her to live outside of Czechoslovakia without being considered a traitor.
Ivana Trump favored capitalism over the socialism of her home country. Donald Trump, an entrepreneur in the United States, was a suitable partner for her. After she divorced Winklmayr and married Trump in 1977, he introduced her to the American business and entertainment elite.
Ivana Trump was always an important and active part of the Trump Empire. She managed and designed her husband's New York hotels, the Grand Hyatt, Hotel Plaza and Trump Tower, as well as Trump Castle in New Jersey and the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort.
Instead of staying at home, raising the kids, and spending Donald's money, Ivana "commutes to Atlantic City by helicopter to run Trump's Castle casino," Vanity Fair reported in 1988. She had her own $2 million dollar helicopter with the name IVANA written on it. In the casino, "she makes the wheels spin," the magazine added.
With such a strong mother, it is no surprise that the family thinks highly of their daughter Ivanka. They consider her the great Trump heir, even though she was born second in the family.
The three children of the Trump couple are Donald Jr. (1977), Ivanka (1981), and Eric (1984). Her mom always considered Ivanka the most talented one of the family, and she recognized in her daughter a true political ambition.
After more than a decade of marriage, rumors emerged of an affair between Donald and former Georgia beauty queen Marla Maple. In 1990 Ivana filed for divorce. When it was finalized, Trump married Marla Maple.
Trump did not divorce Ivana without giving up some mansions, jewelry, $25 million in cash and $5.35 million a year in alimony. In fact, divorce is "pretty much her specialty," writes Nicki Swift. Ivana tells divorcees to 'get yourself a great settlement — and before you do, take his wallet to the cleaners.'
In her memoir 'Raising Trump,' Ivana recalled how she found out about Donald's affair with Maple in 1989. The beauty queen walked up on her "out of the blue" and said: "I'm Marla and I love your husband. Do you?"
Ivana says she responded as follows: "I said, 'Get lost, I love my husband.' It was unladylike, but I was in shock."
At the time of her passing, Ivana and Donald Trump had ten grandchildren in common. Donald Trump Jr. and his ex-wife Vanessa have five children. Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have three children, and Eric Trump has two with his partner Lara.
After her divorce with Donald Trump, Ivana loosened up considerably. She went back to the fashion world, had parties with designers like Thierry Mugler in Paris, and she developed a preference for Italian men.
She had two marriages. The first was with Riccardo Mazzucchelli. They didn't make it past their second anniversary together.
Her second Italian husband was Rossano Rubicondi, 24 years younger than her. On this picture, they are amicably posing with Donald Trump and his then-girlfriend, Melania Knauss. Ivana and Rossano would barely last a year: from 2008 to 2009.
After their divorce in 2009, Ivana and Rossano Rubicondi appeared together in various parts of the world, including New York and Capri. It seemed like they went from spouses to lovers. "Without her I feel 50% alone," said Rubicondi.
Ivana lived her life as a party. Here we see her dancing with Robin Williams and Sharon Stone at the 2006 Cannes gala.
After her divorce from Donald, Ivana Trump's life was one of travels and adventures. She spent as much time in Europe as in the United States, with France and Italy as her favorite countries.
Ivana became a reality TV star just like her ex-husband. She participated in the Italian reality show 'L'isola dei famosi' (The Island of the Famous) and in 'Celebrity Big Brother' (photo).
In 2018, she appeared with her ex-husband Rossano Rubicondi in the Italian show 'Ballando Con Le Stelle' (Dancing with the Stars).
Ivana Trump always got along with her ex-husband but preferred to stay away from his political activities.
Still, behind the screens, the cunning businesswoman and matriarch had quite some influence. She was the one, for example, to come up with the nickname 'The Donald.' And it was Ivana who recommended that he use Twitter in order to circumvent the media, Newsweek reported.
In fact, Donald Trump offered her the position of Ambassador to the Czech Republic. Ivana turned it down, CNN reported.
Being an ambassador would interfere too much with her glamorous lifestyle, she said. As the matriarch and 'glam'-ma of the Trump clan, she preferred to keep a low profile, travel, and party.
But then, she was found dead in her New York apartment. According to her friend Zach Erdem, in People magazine, she was about to travel to Europe for the first time after a long period at home. "She loved Saint-Tropez, that's her favorite place in the world," he told People.
Having passed away at age 73, Ivana Trump will be remembered as a key figure of 80s' consumer culture, the Cold War, a keen strategist, and the inventor of 'The Donald.'