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Ivana Trump, first wife of Donald Trump, is dead at 73

Ivana Trump poses at a fashion show in 2007.
Jason DeCrow
/
AP
Ivana Trump poses at a fashion show in 2007.

Updated July 14, 2022 at 5:07 PM ET

Ivana Trump, the first wife of former President Donald Trump, has died at the age of 73, the Trump family confirmed in a statement.

In a statement posted to Truth Social, Donald Trump called his first wife "a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life."

Ivana's son Eric Trump commemorated his mother in a post on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Eric Trump (@erictrump)

"Our mother was an incredible woman — a force in business, a world-class athlete, a radiant beauty, and caring mother and friend," Eric Trump wrote. "She fled from communism and embraced this country. She taught her children about grit and toughness, compassion and determination."

The New York Police Department said in a statement that police found Ivana Trump unresponsive at the scene and Emergency Medical Services pronounced her dead. There were no signs of foul play and the city's medical examiner will determine a cause of death.

Ivana Trump grew up in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia, south of Prague, according to a biography on the site of talent agency CMG Worldwide. She moved to Canada in the 1970s and worked as a ski instructor before beginning a modeling career.

Marriage to Donald Trump

In 1976, she met Donald Trump while on a work trip to New York. The couple married in 1977, according to the biography.

Her first son, Donald Trump Jr., was born the same year, followed by daughter Ivanka in 1981 and son Eric in 1984.

Ivana and Donald were frequently tabloid fodder and actively cultivated an aura of celebrity around their marriage.

Ivana Trump worked as the vice president of interior design for the Trump Organization. Her design work included Trump Tower, and she also served as the chief executive officer of some Trump hotel properties.

The couple's crumbling marriage was splashed across tabloid covers and they ultimately divorced in 1992.

Ivana Trump accused her husband of ripping out her hair of raping her during their marriage, an incident described in the 1993 book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald Trump, before she walked back the allegation in a statement given just prior to the book's printing.

"[O]n one occasion during 1989, Mr. Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently toward me than he had during our marriage," she said. "As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent. I referred to this as a 'rape,' but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense."

Donald Trump described the claim as "obviously false."

Ivana Trump, third from left, poses with her children and their spouses, from left, Vanessa Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, at the Eric Trump Foundation Golf Invitational Auction & Dinner at Trump National Golf Club Westchester in 2015.
Grant Lamos IV / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Ivana Trump, third from left, poses with her children and their spouses, from left, Vanessa Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, at the Eric Trump Foundation Golf Invitational Auction & Dinner at Trump National Golf Club Westchester in 2015.

After the divorce, she remained in the limelight, capitalizing on her fame by appearing in advertisements for national brands and launching a cosmetics company, Ivana Haute Couture.

She stirred up controversy after Trump's election to the White House, referring to herself as the "first lady" in an interview with ABC News.

"I have the direct number to White House, but I don't want to call him there because Melania is there and I don't want to cause any kind of jealousy because I am basically first Trump wife," she said. "I am first lady. "

Ivana Trump is survived by her three adult children, Donald, Ivanka and Eric, as well as several grandchildren.

Danielle Kurtzleben and Tamara Keith contributed to this story.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eric McDaniel
Eric McDaniel edits the NPR Politics Podcast. He joined the program ahead of its 2019 relaunch as a daily podcast.