Since they started dating in the '90s—long before he became President of the United States—Donald Trump shared many intimate details about his relationship with his third wife, Melania Trump, with the press. Here, a look at the couple's very public (but often forgotten) history.
Donald Trump, who is 52 at the time, has been dating the Norwegian heiress Celina Midelfart for several months while finalizing his divorce from second wife Marla Maples. He goes with Midelfart to a Fashion Week party—where he meets then-28-year-old Melania Knauss. Donald sends Celina to the bathroom so he can talk to Melania, according to a 2016 profile in GQ.
"I went crazy," Donald tells Larry King in 2005 of how he reacted when he saw Melania. "I said, 'Forget about her. Who's the one on the left?' And it was Melania."
What happened during their first meeting is one of Melania's favorite stories to tell. "He wanted my number, but he was with a date, so of course I didn't give it to him," she says in an interview with Harper's Bazaar. "I said, 'I am not giving you my number; you give me yours, and I will call you.' I wanted to see what kind of number he would give me — if it was a business number, what is this? I'm not doing business with you."
Donald gives Melania all of his phone numbers: "the office, Mar-a-Lago, home in New York, everything." For their first date, he takes her to a celebrity hotspot (and Leonardo DiCaprio hangout) called Moomba. "I remember that night like it was two months ago," Melania tells Harper's Bazaar. Donald is her first New York boyfriend.
"She ran into Donald just at the right time. She was just about out of money, at the end of her rope and about to move back to Eastern Europe," a friend later tells the New York Post.
Sometime Soon After in 1998
Melania breaks up with Donald, a notorious womanizer who cheated on both his former wives. Melania's former roommate Matthew Atanian tells GQ that Melania "had some trust issues with him at the beginning." The couple reconciles within six months.
June 8, 1999
Donald's divorce from his second wife Marla Maples is finalized.
Sometime in 1999
Donald makes a speaking appearance at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, and shouts, "Where's my supermodel?" in reference to Melania.
Nov. 9, 1999
Donald, who is exploring a presidential run on the Reform Party ticket, calls into the Howard Stern Show and introduces Melania to the radio host. Stern asks Melania, "What are you wearing now?" "Not much," she responds. "What are you, naked? Are you nude?" he asks. "Almost," she says coyly.
In an interview with the New York Times in December, Melania defends herself against accusations of gold-digging. "I think you can't be with the person if it's not love, if they don't satisfy you," she says. "You can't hug a beautiful apartment, you can't hug an airplane, you can't talk to them." She also talks about how she would be as a first lady. "I would be very traditional. Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy. I would support him."
Sometime in Early 2000
Donald and Melania break up again, and the New York Post reports reports that it's him who dumped her, leaving Melania "heartbroken." "Melania is an amazing woman, a terrific woman, a great woman, and she will be missed," Donald tells the New York Times in January.
They soon get back together. Melania later intimates that Donald's presidential aspirations caused the relationship to break down at the time. "We were apart for a few months, not long," she tells DuJour in 2016. "We got back together. He was always thinking about [a presidential run]. But he loved what he did, he had his business."
Sometime in 2001
After maintaining her own one-bedroom apartment for 2½ years, Melania moves into Trump Tower with Donald. She is proud of her old rental, later telling DuJour, "The rent was $2,500 a month. I picked it out, everything on my own. I bought furniture. I went to Crate & Barrel. Does that still exist or no?"
Donald and Melania visit Slovenia, where Donald meets Melania's parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs. "I was there about 13 minutes," he tells Larry King in 2005. According to the New Yorker, the couple land in Ljubljana at 8 p.m., they drive to dinner with the Knavs, and Donald is "back at the airport before midnight." He has not visited his wife's native country since that trip.
Sometime in 2004
According to BuzzFeed, Donald proudly tells Howard Stern that he has never heard Melania fart and has never been aware of any of her bowel movements. Because who could ever stand a woman who passes gas!
April 26, 2004
Donald proposes to Melania at the Costume Institute Gala in New York with a $1.5 million diamond engagement ring (somewhere between 12 and 15 carats) that he picks out himself — and purchases at a 50 percent discount from Graff. "Only a fool would say, 'No thank you, I want to pay a million dollars more for a diamond," Donald says.
"It was a great surprise," Melania tells the New York Post of the engagement. "We are very happy together." Donald tells Cindy Adams about his decision to marry Melania, saying, "She's shown she can be the woman behind me. We're together five years, and these five years for whatever reasons have been my most successful. I have to imagine she had something to do with that."
Prior to getting married, Donald and Melania sign a prenuptial agreement. "It's a hard, painful, ugly tool," he tells New York magazine. "Believe me, there's nothing fun about it. But there comes a time when you have to say, 'Darling, I think you're magnificent, and I care for you deeply, but if things don't work out, this is what you're going to get.'"
Jan. 22, 2005
In front of 500 guests, Donald and Melania — now 58 and 34 years old, respectively — are married in Palm Beach at Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea with an extravagant reception at Mar-a-Lago. Donald wants the wedding to air on TV but Melania says no.
Melania tells People of the ceremony, "I just saw Donald's happy face, and everything happened like, fast, wow."
"The newlyweds looked very pleased and happy as they walked back from the altar," one wedding guest later recalls in the New Yorker. While in the bathroom, Donald reportedly tells another guest that "the time had come to let Melania make an honest man of him, that this was her night, not his."
For the occasion, Melania wears a custom Christian Dior gown reported to have cost between $100,000 and $200,000. She appears on the cover of Vogue in the dress.
For their honeymoon, the couple stays at Mar-a-Lago. "I don't want to go anywhere else because this is the best place to be," Donald tells the New York Post.
May 17, 2005
Donald and Melania appear as newlyweds on Larry King Live. "We are very equal in the relationship and that's very important," she says. "To marry a man like Donald is, you need to know who you are. And you need to be very strong and smart. He needs to know that he could rely on me sometimes. We share a lot of stuff together."
"I married a man, and I'm kind of old-fashioned in that way," Melania says of taking Donald's name. She officially styles her last name Knauss-Trump until 2008.
Donald says he wants his marriage to be easy, referencing his own parents' marriage: His father worked and his mother made dinner. "Look, I work very hard from early in the morning to late in the evening," Donald says. "I don't want to go home and have to work at a relationship!"
Melania says she doesn't worry about Donald straying. "I know who I am. If a man doesn't want to be with me, I don't want to be with the man." Donald says that he doesn't worry either. "No. I know her. That's the rock."
Sometime in 2005
Melania makes an appearance at New York University. A student asks if her husband weren't rich, would she still be with him. She replies, "If I weren't beautiful, do you think he'd be with me?"
Sept. 27, 2005
News breaks that Melania is pregnant. "He came home (one day last August), and I told him he'd be a daddy," Melania tells People in 2006. "And his reaction was ... at first he needed to take it in. It was a real surprise. And then he was very happy." Meanwhile, Donald says in the same interview, "I expected we were going to have children, so I wasn't totally surprised. But I was surprised by the speed of it. It happened very quickly."
Donald seems to agree, albeit disparagingly. As he puts it during an appearance on the Howard Stern Show in 2005, "You know, they just blow up, right? Like a blimp — in the right places. In her case, the right places. I mean she really has become a monster — in all the right places. I mean monster in the most positive way. She has gotten very, very large — in all the right places."
It also surfaces during Donald's 2016 presidential campaign that around this time, Donald tells Billy Bush of Access Hollywood that he feels free to assault women with impunity and that he once made a move on Nancy O'Dell. Melania releases a statement after the videotape leaks, saying, "The words my husband used are unacceptable and offensive to me. This does not represent the man that I know."
Melania has a baby shower at F.A.O. Schwarz. "At her baby shower, what you bought went to charity and the money that you spent also went to charity," designer and friend Alice Roi tells WWD in 2017. "She's almost beaming because she is such a lovely person and extremely thoughtful. She always takes time to do the right things, thank you letters ... I've had many conversations with her about school and children. She's really a miraculous person."
March 20, 2006
Melania gives birth to a son, Barron William Trump, after a reported eight-hour labor. Donald announces the arrival of his fifth child 20 minutes after the birth. "I continue to stay young, right?" he says (at that point he's a few months away from turning 60). "I produce children, I stay young."
Barron makes his debut with his parents in an issue of People. The 3-week-old baby has his own floor in Trump Tower, it's revealed, along with Burberry robes and mink coverlets. Donald admits he doesn't change diapers — "That's my job," says Melania — but he does help sometimes. "I love to feed the baby. Not because I have to, but just because I love it. A lot of times early in the morning I'll take care of him."
Melania takes on most of the hands-on aspects of parenting on her own. "I don't expect [Donald] to walk down Fifth Avenue with a stroller," Melania tells People. Melania reveals to Parenting that her views are not modern. She says, "It's very important to know the person you're with. And we know our roles. I didn't want him to change the diapers or put Barron to bed. I love every minute of it."
And though she admits she has help in the form of a chef and an assistant, she tells Harper's Bazaar that she doesn't have a nanny. "I do it myself. You know, those hours with your child are really important ones, even if it's just the two of you, being quiet in the car together."
Melania teaches Barron her native language, Slovenian, and her non-English-speaking parents help with their grandchild, according to the New Yorker.
After four quiet years with Barron, Melania launches a jewelry line with QVC. Donald is publicly supportive of his wife, telling the New York Times, "She's got an amazing sense of design and an amazing level of intelligence. She's got great ability, and I want her to run with it." In the same story, Melania is asked if it's possible to get used to living in such opulence. "Yeah, you get used to it. Yeah."
Around this time, Melania tells Parenting how her marriage works.
When you have love and respect and the best time together it feels fantastic. It's really something special. Sometimes they say love is hard to find. When you meet the right person everything seems fantastic. We work very hard, both of us. It's a lot of responsibility for a woman to be married to a man like my husband. I need to be quick, smart and intelligent. My life is very normal — for me. Maybe for some people they would not think that. But for me it is. I know my husband. We have a great relationship. We are both very independent. We know what our roles are and we are happy with them. I think the mistake some people make is they try to change the man they love after they get married. You cannot change a person. You accept the person. He loves business — he breathes business. I love that about him, I love that. Doesn't bother me. I am very independent. It is important to understand each other. If you need to change someone it will never work. You will try your whole life and never succeed.
April 30, 2010
Melania answers a questionnaire in New York magazine. When asked, "What do you think of Donald Trump?", she replies, "Sexiest man in the world!!!"
Following her husband's lead as the top crusader of the racist birther movement, Melania goes on the Joy Behar Show and says she wants to see Barack Obama's birth certificate. "It's not only Donald who wants to see this," she insists. "It's American people who voted for him and who didn't voted for him. They want to see that."
Trump again mulls a presidential run publicly and tells the New York Times that Melania has given her approval. "She would be great [at campaigning]," he says.
"I love the way he dresses," Melania tells Refinery29 of Donald's style. "I love a man in a suit and tie. It looks very elegant and chic and put-together. But I don't know if he would ever design a line for women. He's too busy."
Melania's good friend, designer Rachel Roy, says in an Avenue magazine feature about Melania, "I tell Donald all the time: The reason I love him is because he loves her so much. She is the real deal — brains, beauty, grace, and strength."
Melania has to testify in court over a business deal involving her defunct cosmetics line Melania Marks Skincare. Donald comes to her defense in the New York Post, saying, "She's a high-quality person. Everything she does is successful. I think she's going to win a lot of money." Melania ends up getting an undisclosed sum, according to Racked.
Sometime in 2015
Donald gifts Melania with a 25-carat diamond ring as a gift to mark their 10-year wedding anniversary.
June 26, 2015
Donald announces he is running for president in a press conference at Trump Tower. He and daughter Ivanka give remarks, but not Melania.
She has a heart-to-heart with her husband before he makes his decision. She tells DuJour, "I said to him, 'You really need to think, because our family life will change.' The three of us will change. I know what it takes, traveling and all that stuff. I told him if he really wanted to do that I would support him 100 percent. But I would also be a mom first, I would be with our son, I would be home."
The future first lady keeps to her word and is more often than not at home, away from the campaign trail. It's all to give Barron more stability, the family asserts. "She takes him to school every day, picks him up every day," Ivanka says. "It's a really remarkable thing and she's a great inspiration to me as I raise my own children in terms of family first and having the right priorities."
Melania tells GQ, "Nobody controls me. I travel with my husband when I can, when I know that I can go, and I know that my son is okay alone for a few days with the help."
Even though she is home, she is in daily contact with her husband. In multiple interviews, Melania says that she has calls with her husband every day. "I give a lot of advice to my husband and tell him how it is and how I see it. I'm not backing off. I tell him the truth," she tells DuJour. "After a speech, the kids are calling me — Ivanka, [his] sons — saying, 'Call dad and tell him this and that. He's listening to you.' They know I would talk to him and put him in the right direction. Sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn't. He will decide what he does."
Melania gives a televised interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News. "He treats equally everybody," Melania says of Donald. "You're a woman, you're a man, he treats everybody equally. He will tell you what's on his heart."
"We don't have fights. We disagree, but that's OK. That's very good in the relationship. I'm with my own brains, he's with his own brains."
"What's the one word that you think describes him?" Van Susteren asks. Melania responds, "Amazing heart. Amazing mind. Leader."
July 28, 2016
Melania gives a speech at the Republican National Convention. She is accused of apologizes.Michelle Obama's speech from the Democratic National Convention in 2008. A staff writer later takes the fall and
After the release of the Access Hollywood tape, many women step forward to accuse Donald of sexual assault. Melania tells Anderson Cooper on CNN that Donald's accusers are lying and it's a big conspiracy to destroy Donald's candidacy. "I believe my husband, I believe my husband — it was all organized from the opposition. They can never check the background of these women. They don't have any facts."
Nov. 8, 2016
Donald is elected 45th president of the United States. He tells reporters that his wife and 10-year-old son will remain in New York at least until Barron finishes his school year.
Jan. 20, 2017
Donald and Melania arrive at the White House to meet the Obamas on the way to the inauguration. Donald breaks tradition from the presidents who came before him and does not wait for his wife before he walks up the steps of the White House.
Internet users are quick to point out that several of Melania and Donald's interactions during inauguration weekend suggest tension in the relationship, from her body language during their first dance to the way her smile immediately turns into a frown the second he turns away. Is everything rosy in the Trumps' marriage? There will be plenty more public appearances to dissect as long as Donald and Melania are in the White House.
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