Ivana Trump in 2007
|Born||Ivana Marie Zelníčková
February 20, 1949
|Alma mater||Charles University|
Ivana Marie Trump (née Zelníčková, Czech: [ˈzɛlɲiːtʃkovaː]; born February 20, 1949) is a Czech-American businesswoman, former fashion model, author, and television personality. She was the first wife of Donald Trump from 1977 until 1992.
Ivana Zelníčková was born in the Moravian town of Zlín (formerly known as Gottwaldov), Czechoslovakia, the daughter of Miloš Zelníček, who was Czech, and Marie Francová, who was Austrian. From a very young age, her father nurtured and encouraged her skiing talent. In the early 1970s, she attended Charles University in Prague.
According to Zelníčková, she was selected as an alternate on the Czechoslovak ski team during the 1972 Winter Olympics, her specialties being the downhill and slalom. However, in 1989, Petr Pomezný, Secretary General of the Czechoslovak Olympic Committee, said, "Who is this Ivana woman, and why do people keep calling us about her? We have searched so many times and have consulted many, many people, and there is no such girl in our records."
In November 1971, Zelníčková married 25-year-old Austrian real estate agent Alfred Winklmayr to enable her to leave Communist Czechoslovakia. Ivana received her Austrian passport in March 1972 and left for Canada in September 1972. The ‘cold war’ marriage was not consummated and formally dissolved after a mandatory cooling-off period in August 1973. In Canada she lived with her boyfriend whom she had been dating since 1967, George Syrovatka, who owned a ski boutique there. For the following two years, she lived in Montreal, improved her English by taking night courses at McGill University, and worked as a model for some of Canada's top fur companies. Zelníčková then left Syrovatka and moved to New York to promote the Montreal Olympics.
In New York in 1976, Zelníčková met Donald Trump. On April 7, 1977, they married in a lavish wedding officiated by Norman Vincent Peale. Donald and Ivana Trump became leading figures in New York society during the 1980s. They worked on several large projects, including the renovation of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City, construction of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. They had three children: Donald John Jr. (born December 31, 1977), Ivana Marie (born October 30, 1981, called Ivanka), and Eric Fredrick (born January 6, 1984). Donald Jr. learned to speak fluent Czech (with help of his maternal grandfather), while daughter Ivanka has only basic understanding of her mother's native tongue and Eric was not exposed to the language because at the time of his birth his grandparents were already comfortable enough in using English. Ivana has eight grandchildren.
Ivana took a major role in The Trump Organization. She became the Vice President of Interior Design for the company, leading the signature design of Trump Tower. Afterwards, her then-husband appointed her to head up the Trump Castle Hotel and Casino as president. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1988.
In the late 1980s, she left Atlantic City to devote more time to her family. Her husband asked her to oversee the restoration of the landmark Plaza Hotel, and she took over as its president. She was named Hotelier of the Year in 1990.
In October 1990, Ivana Trump's 63-year-old father died suddenly from a heart attack. Ivana stood side-by-side with her husband Donald at the funeral in Prague. However, Ivana's marriage to Donald was in turbulent waters as rumors began to circulate that Donald Trump was having an affair with a former beauty queen from Georgia named Marla Maples. That Christmas, when the family was on vacation in Aspen, Colorado, Ivana Trump encountered Maples on the ski slopes.
In 1991, Ivana retained entertainment attorney Neil Papiano and filed for divorce, seeking a greater amount of the family fortune than had been set out in her prenuptial agreement. Her husband fought back in court, protesting her claims that she had contributed to the Trump Organization. The Trumps' divorce proceedings appeared on New York tabloid newspapers' covers for 11 days in a row, and Liz Smith wrote about nothing else for three months. Their divorce was settled in 1991 and finalized in 1992. The settlement remains sealed by the courts.
In 1995, she married Riccardo Mazzucchelli. The marriage was dissolved before two years had elapsed, and she filed a $15 million breach of contract suit against Mazzucchelli for violating the confidentiality clause in their prenuptial agreement. The suit was settled out of court. In 1997, Mazzucchelli sued Ivana and Donald for libel.
In the summer of 1997, she began dating Roffredo Gaetani; that continued until his death in 2005.
In April 2008, Ivana, then 59, married Rossano Rubicondi, then 36. The $3 million wedding for 400 guests was hosted by ex-husband Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate. Daughter Ivanka Trump was her maid of honor. On December 1, 2008, Ivana confirmed to the Associated Press that she had filed a legal separation agreement three months previously; she has stated in interviews that she and her husband have an on-again/off-again relationship.
Soon after her divorce from Donald Trump in 1992, Ivana Trump developed lines of clothing, fashion jewelry and beauty products that have been sold through television shopping channels.
In 1998, she bought 33% of Croatia's second-largest daily newspaper - with a circulation of 100,000 - she used to travel with her parents from the Czech Republic to Croatia on vacation. In February 1999, Trump launched her own lifestyle magazine titled Ivana's Living in Style.
Ivana Trump has written several novels, including, For Love Alone (1992), Free to Love (1993) and a self-help book called, The Best is Yet to Come: Coping with Divorce and Enjoying Life Again (1995).
Dear Readers: After years of hard work and devoted service as GLOBE's advice columnist, I regretfully have decided to resign from the position. While I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the GLOBE family, as well as the many friendships that I have developed over the years, other business pursuits, both nationally and internationally, will not allow me to devote the attention necessary to the column and to my readers.
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