Ivana Trump, the first wife of the former president and a partner in shaping his gilded and larger-than-life persona in 1980s New York City, has died at the age of 73.
Trump was born in the former Czechoslovakia, and became a competitive skier and model. In addition to raising the former president’s three older children, Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric, she was an author, designer and executive who ran one of her husband’s Atlantic City casinos, the Trump Castle, and managed the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.
In a social media post on Thursday afternoon, Donald Trump said he was “very saddened” to share the news that Ivana had died at her home in New York City.
“She was a wonderful, beautiful and amazing woman who led a great and inspirational life,” he added.
Ivana Marie Zelníčková was born and raised in communist Czechoslovakia, the daughter of an electrical engineer. Accounts differ as to whether she actually served as an alternate on the country’s Olympic ski team in 1972. A marriage of convenience allowed her to obtain an Austrian passport. She then moved to Canada, where she worked as a ski instructor and model and improved her English.
According to an account in the former-president’s memoir, Trump: The Art of the Deal, the couple met at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and married the following year in New York City. (Other accounts claim they met in New York City).
“I’d dated a lot of different women by then, but I’d never gotten seriously involved with any of them. Ivana wasn’t someone you dated casually,” Trump wrote, stating that his then-wife was “almost as competitive as I am”.
Read more about Ivana Trump here.