Donald Trump: Family Life
Trump is the first president to have been divorced twice and married three times. Yet family has always been central to his life. He has few close friends, by his own accounts. As he once said, “I have a lot of good relationships. I have good enemies, too, which is okay. But I think more of my family than others.”
In 1977, Trump married Ivana Zelnickova, a Czech who became an American citizen, and they had three children: Donald Jr. (born 1977), Ivanka (1981), and Eric (1984). The couple divorced in 1990 after his affair with an aspiring actress, Marla Maples, which was avidly covered in New York’s tabloids. In 1993, Trump married Maples two months after their daughter Tiffany was born. He and Maples divorced in 1999; she raised Tiffany in California. By then Trump was in a relationship with Melania Knauss, a model from Slovenia. They married in Palm Beach on January 22, 2005, and son Barron was born in 2006. She became a citizen that year. When media outlets sought in 2016 to unseal records of Trump’s first divorce, Ivana Trump wrote, “Donald and I currently share a warm relationship, and our family should not be forced to relive this part of our past.” Marla Maples attended inaugural events.
Trump’s primary residence is an opulent, gold-trimmed penthouse that spans three stories in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City. He commuted to work by elevator to his office on the 26th floor. After Trump took office, Melania Trump stayed in New York with their son, Barron, so that he could complete his school year in the city.
Trump also spends much time at his storied Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, the former retreat of heiress and General Foods owner Marjorie Merriweather Post. He bought the estate in 1985 and transformed it into both his warm-weather home and a private club. He often golfs there and at his other resorts. In the first few months of his presidency, Trump made multiple weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago, which he called his “winter White House.”
Although Trump’s oldest three children became executives in their father’s business, once he became president, Ivanka and her husband, real estate entrepreneur Jared Kushner, moved to Washington, DC, to serve as advisors in her father’s White House. Many ethics experts criticized Trump’s failure to divest his businesses and the potential for conflicts of interest, despite his plan to maintain a wall between himself and the family-run empire. Legal challenges got underway immediately after his inauguration. His daughter Tiffany, who campaigned for her father, graduated in 2016 from his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. When he became president, Trump had eight grandchildren.
His oldest sibling, Fred Trump Jr., died of alcoholism in 1981 at age 43; he had gone into the family business, clashed with their demanding father, and left to become an airline pilot; Trump has attributed his own avoidance of alcohol and smoking to his brother’s fate. Trump’s younger brother, Robert, also entered the family business and became an executive. The Trump sisters were not encouraged to go into the company by their father, who died in 1999. Maryanne Trump Barry is an inactive senior federal judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, covering Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; she was nominated by President Bill Clinton. Elizabeth Trump Grau worked as a bank administrative assistant.