Move over, Melania! 5 reasons why Ivana Trump is the real icon of the Trump family, from her controversial statements to being an ‘unofficial adviser’ to ex-husband Donald

Ivana, Donald Trump’s first wife, has played a big role in shaping the former president’s career. Photo: AFP, MCT
After her bitter divorce from Donald Trump, finalised in 1992, Ivana had a cameo in the Hollywood film, The First Wives Club. In the movie she has the line,“don’t get mad, get everything”, and the four-times-married, mother-of-three – Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric all resulting from her marriage to Donald – certainly seems to have got all she could want.

Ivana’s got talent

Ivana was a model while Melania was still in diapers, but while the former first lady built her career on walking down the runway, Ivana has said she only views modelling as a job rather than a career. And while Melania may have risen with Donald to the White House, there’s no doubt Donald’s first wife was the most involved in the property mogul’s success; including helping design his famous Trump Tower and managing New York’s iconic Plaza Hotel.
Despite calling Donald’s second ex-wife Marla Maples “cheap” for appearing on America’s Dancing with the Stars, Ivana later proved she had moves too by appearing on the Italian version of the show as a guest competitor.

The real power behind the president?

While her daughter Ivanka may have grown up to become an outspoken White House adviser, Ivana says she herself was something of an unofficial adviser to the former president. She claimed Donald would speak to her before and after speeches to get her opinion and that she even coined phrases for him.
Ivanka Trump, with mum Ivana. Photo: @ivankatrump/Instagram

Ivana, 72, even claims Donald once offered her the position of ambassador to Czech Republic, according to a 2016 interview with the New York Post.

Meanwhile, after her daughter’s stint in office, she thinks Ivanka, 39, could become the first female US president.

Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump. Photo: @ivankatrump/Instagram
But her apparent influence goes much further back – Ivana has said that she turned her ex-husband on to Twitter and convinced him the platform would be a great way to get his voice heard in an unfiltered way (which it was – until Twitter blocked him).

She might be even more controversial than Donald

The property developer Donald Trump talks with former wife Ivana during the US Open men’s final in September 1997. Photo: Reuters

Being Ivana does not come without creating headlines; on various occasions she has courted controversy by saying what’s on her mind, with no filter. Ivana reportedly upset former first lady Melania Trump by telling ABC News that, “I’m basically first Trump wife. OK? I’m first lady”. The then-FLOTUS hit back at Ivana – who was promoting her latest book, Raising Trump, at the time – when her spokesperson retorted that Ivanka was using her platform to “to help children, not sell books”.

Ivana Trump as seen on the British talk show Loose Women. Photo: @northernlawd/Twitter

Ivana also faced a backlash in 2020 when she expressed controversial views about immigration on UK TV show Loose Women, despite being an immigrant herself.

Ivana really doesn’t care

Then first lady Melania Trump walks to her vehicle at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, in June 2018. Photo: AP
Melania was the one who wore the controversial “I really don’t care, do you?” Zara jacket on a trip to the US border, but if one woman embodies that sentiment, it’s Ivana. She’s admitted she’s past worrying about being judged and has previously expressed little desire to get married for a fifth time (she was married once before Donald and twice after him).
Socialite Ivana Trump and Rossano Rubicondi attend a ball in New York in 2007. Photo: AP

Ivana says she enjoys getting to see her grandchildren but equally that she enjoys getting to hand them back after. “No need to change the diapers. Been there, done that. So it works perfectly,” she told Huffpost in 2013.

Throughout it all she’s remained glamorous

Ever-glamorous Ivana Trump. Photo: @ivanatrumpfan/Instagram

The former model never makes an appearance without her signature beehive hairdo and her grandchildren have clearly noticed. Ivanka, Eric and Donald Trump Jr.’s kids affectionately refer to her as “glam-ma”, she told Oprah on her show, Oprah: Where Are They Now?

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Donald Trump
  • Trump’s Czech-born first bride has taken potshots at Donald’s other wives – Marla and Melania – and told Oprah Winfrey that her grandkids call her ‘glam-ma’
  • She helped design Trump Tower, managed New York’s Plaza Hotel, turned Donald onto Twitter and claims to have been unofficial adviser before he was president