Ivana Trump is a former fashion model, socialite and the first wife of American President Donald Trump. She is the founder of Ivana Haute Couture, a company that markets her products that include fragrances, wines, and accessories which are sold over the internet. Her success today is not surprising given that she has always been ambitious and hardworking. Even as a young girl she displayed a great will to succeed and was a competitive skier in her teen years. Born in Czechoslovakia, she moved to Canada to work as a ski instructor and eventually her interest turned towards modeling. Blessed with good looks, poise and grace, she became a successful model and migrated to America for better career prospects. A chance meeting with Donald Trump, the son of a wealthy New York City real-estate developer led to a whirlwind romance that culminated in a fairytale wedding. Soon the couple rose to the top of the society as Donald went on to become a business magnate in his own right, and Ivana became the president of New York's Plaza Hotel which Donald had acquired. However, years later the marriage ended in a much publicized divorce. Ever the resilient soul, Ivana bounced back from this heartbreak to start her own businesses and continue her streak of success.
Childhood & Early Life
She was born as Ivana Marie Zelnícková on 20 February 1949, in Gottwaldov (now Zlín), Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) to Miloš Zelníček and Marie Francová.
She was active and athletic from a young age and her father encouraged her interests in sports. She took to skiing at an early age and began skiing competitively at the age of six. She entered a national training program when she was 12 and competed in tournaments throughout Europe.
She went to the Charles University of Prague and earned a master’s degree in physical education.
She fell in love with a professional skier, George Syrowatka, a fellow student at Charles University and a member of the Czechoslovakian ski team. In 1975, she moved to Canada with George where he owned a ski boutique and sporting goods store.
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She worked as a ski coach and instructor for teen ski racers for a few years in Montreal. During the 1970s she also began her modeling career. Pretty, confident and graceful, she easily found assignments, and worked with some of Canada’s top fur companies.
She was modeling for Audrey Morris, the top modeling agency in Montreal, when the agency decided to send several models including her to New York to promote the Olympic Games.
It was in New York that she met Donald Trump, son of prominent real estate developer Fred Trump. A whirlwind romance followed and the couple got married in 1979.
Over the next few years Donald became a successful businessman and she too worked with her husband on several major projects including the construction of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, and the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
She played a major role in her husband’s success and became the Vice President of Interior Design for the company and served as an interior design consultant on several of his high-profile projects, including the Trump Tower in New York City and the Trump Plaza Hotel.
She was also the Chief Executive Officer and President of Trump's Castle Hotel and Casino for five years and then Chief Executive Officer and President of the Plaza Hotel, New York for four years. Under her leadership, The Plaza was recognized as "The Best Luxury Hotel in the USA." and she was named Hotelier of the Year in 1990.
She was enjoying a professionally and personally satisfying life when rumors broke out that Donald was involved with another woman. She filed for divorce from him which was finalized in 1992; she reportedly received $20 million in settlement.
After her divorce she signed a contract with the William Morris Agency to develop lines of fashion clothing, accessories and beauty products. Initially detractors predicted that she would not be able to continue her professional success after breaking up with Donald, but she proved them all wrong and went on to establish herself as a successful businesswoman in her own right.
She eventually founded her own fashion company, Ivana Haute Couture, and also started another company called Ivana Inc. to handle her public appearances and other media work. She authored a self-help book ‘The Best is Yet to Come: Coping with Divorce and Enjoying Life Again’, in 2001.
Personal Life & Legacy
She married Alfred Winklmayr, an Austrian skier, in 1971 in order to obtain a foreign passport. She divorced him in 1976 as her modeling career was blooming.
She met Donald Trump, the son of a wealthy business tycoon, in 1976. The young entrepreneur and the ravishing beauty soon fell in love and tied the knot in April 1977. She gave birth to three children over the next few years and was also active on the social scenario.
The couple seemed to be happily married when in 1990 rumors began circulating that Donald was having an extramarital affair with a former beauty queen. So Ivana filed for divorce and sought a greater amount of the family fortune than had been set out in her prenuptial agreement. A bitter divorce battle ensued and the divorce was finalized in 1992.
She married Riccardo Mazzucchelli in 1995 but this marriage ended within a couple of years in 1997.
She tied the knot for the fourth time in 2008, with Rossano Rubicondi, who is 23 years her junior. Even though the couple separated a few months later, they now have an on-again/off-again relationship.