Ivana Trump, first wife of Donald Trump who helped build his empire, dies at 73

July 14 (Reuters) – Ivana Trump, the first wife of former U.S. President Donald Trump and the mother of his three eldest children, who helped her husband build some of his iconic buildings, including Trump Tower, died on Thursday at 73, Donald Trump announced.

“I am very saddened to inform all who loved her, of whom there are many, that Ivana Trump has passed away at her home in New York,” Trump said in a post on social media platform Truth Social.

The couple married in 1977 and divorced in 1992. They had three children together: Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric.

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“Ivana Trump was a survivor. She fled communism and embraced this country. She taught her children courage and tenacity, compassion and determination,” the Trump family said in a statement. She grew up under communist rule in the former Czechoslovakia.

Neither the Trump family statement nor the former president’s message mentioned the cause of death, but a police spokesperson said she was found dead on the stairs of her apartment and that foul play was not suspected.

The New York Times, citing unnamed law enforcement officials, said it appeared to be accidental and she may have fallen down the stairs.

The New York Fire Department said paramedics responded to a call to his apartment for cardiac arrest.

She was born Ivana Marie Zelnickova on February 20, 1949 in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia, the town where she grew up near Prague which is now known as Zlin in the Czech Republic.

She spent much of her youth skiing competitively for the Czechoslovak national system and then competing for Charles University in Prague, where she earned a master’s degree in physical education and languages, according to her biography published by CMG Worldwide, a celebrity business agency that represented her.

After college, she followed her then love, professional skier George Syrovatka, to Canada and then began modeling for the Audrey Morris agency in Montreal, CMG said.

While on a modeling trip to New York in 1976, she met Donald Trump, CMG said, and they were married nine months later.

Ivana Trump played a role in building Trump’s media image in the 1980s, when they were one of New York’s most prominent power couples.

While Donald Trump took credit for his early success in Manhattan’s highly competitive real estate market, Ivana Trump also played an important role in the family business soon after their marriage, The New York Times reported.

She worked alongside her husband in the development of Trump Tower, his signature building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and other high-profile projects such as the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a said the Times.

Ivana Trump was the vice president of interior design for the Trump Organization and managed the historic Plaza Hotel, which Trump acquired in 1988 while raising their three children.

Their divorce, which came after Donald Trump’s high-profile affair with Marla Maples, whom he later married, fed the New York tabloids.

A New York judge cited Donald Trump’s “cruel and inhumane treatment” in granting Ivana Trump’s divorce petition.

She appeared in the 1996 film “First Wives Club,” in which she tells three women whose husbands dumped them for younger wives, “Don’t get mad. Get it all.”

In her divorce settlement, Ivana Trump received $14 million plus $650,000 a year to support their three children, a 45-bedroom Connecticut mansion, an apartment in Trump Plaza, and use of the Mar -a-Lago in Florida for a month. year, reported the New York Times.

Regardless of their prior differences, Ivana Trump supported her former husband’s bid for the White House in 2016, telling interviewers that she periodically offers him advice.

She told CBS television in 2017 that Trump offered her the job of ambassador to the Czech Republic but she turned it down.

Ivana Trump is survived by her mother, three children and 10 grandchildren, according to the family statement.

She married three more times, including once before meeting Trump in what she described as a Cold War wedding to obtain an Austrian passport. His two subsequent marriages also ended in divorce.

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Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Katharine Jackson in Washington and Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, California; Written by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Tim Ahmann, Diane Craft and Stephen Coates

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