JULY 14, 2022
Michael Zorn, Michael Zorn/Invision/AP
Ivana Trump, businesswoman and ex-wife of former President Donald Trump has died. She was 73.
A New York Police Department spokesperson confirmed the death to USA TODAY Thursday. Police responded to a 911 call Thursday afternoon and upon arrival, officers discovered Trump unconscious and unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and police say there does not appear to be criminal intent involved. The NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner is investigating the cause of death.
Donald Trump shared the death of his former spouse on Truth Social Thursday. A spokesperson for Trump confirmed the accuracy of the post to USA TODAY.
“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,” Donald Trump wrote. “She was a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life. 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!”
In a statement to USA TODAY Thursday, the Trump family called Ivana “an incredible woman,” as well as “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,” the statement continued. “She taught her children about grit and toughness, compassion and determination.”
Eric Trump paid tribute to his mother in an Instagram post, sharing the same statement along with a family photo. “She will be dearly missed by her mother, her three children and ten grandchildren,” the post read.
Trump was born Ivana Zelníčková in Czechoslovakia on Feb. 20, 1949. She was a competitive skier as a child, starting at the age of 6. She would later immigrate to Canada, where she worked as a ski instructor before starting a modeling career in the 1970s. She moved to New York in 1976, where she would meet Donald Trump, then an aspiring real estate mogul.
The two wed in 1977, and the couple had three children: Donald Jr. in 1977, Ivana in 1981 and Eric in 1984. They went on to divorce in 1992. Donald then married Marla Maples, and they divorced in 1999. Six years later, he married Slovenia-born model Melania Knauss, the former first lady.
Trump became an icon in her own right, dripping with ’80s style and elegance, complete with accent and her signature beehive hairdo. She would eventually appear in the 1996 hit film “The First Wives Club” with the now-famous line, “Ladies, you have to be strong and independent, and remember, don’t get mad, get everything.”
Partners in love and business — with her playing roles such as manager of one of his Atlantic City casinos — Ivana and Donald were fixtures of New York’s see-and-be-seen scene before their equally public and messy divorce. During the split, she accused Donald of rape in a sworn statement in the early 1990s. Ivana later said that she didn’t mean it literally, but rather that she felt violated.
Nevertheless, she ultimately remained friendly with her ex-husband, whom she famously called “The Donald.” She enthusiastically backed his 2016 White House run and told the New York Post in 2016 that she was both a supporter and an adviser.
“I suggest a few things,” she told the newspaper. “We speak before and after the appearances and he asks me what I thought.” She said she advised him to “be more calm.”
However supportive, Trump occasionally ruffled feathers.
In 2017, while promoting a book, she told “Good Morning America” that she spoke with the then-president about every two weeks and had his direct White House number, but didn’t want to call too frequently “because Melania is there and I don’t want to cause any kind of jealousy or something like that because I’m basically first Trump wife, OK?” she said with a laugh. “I’m first lady, OK?”
Melania Trump’s spokesperson at the time responded, saying there was “clearly no substance to this statement from an ex, this is unfortunately only attention-seeking and self-serving noise.”