Melania Trump at the QVC Red Carpet Style Party, Four Seasons Hotel, Los Angeles, CA on February 25, 2011
April 26, 1970
Sevnica, SR Slovenia, SFR Yugoslavia
(Naturalized U.S. citizen)
|Occupation||Model, jewelry designer|
|Spouse(s)||Donald Trump (2005–present)|
|Children||Barron William Trump|
|Relatives||Donald Trump Jr. (stepson)
Ivanka Trump (stepdaughter)
Eric Trump (stepson)
Tiffany Trump (stepdaughter)
Jared Kushner (stepson-in-law)
|Website||Melania Trump Official Website|
Melania Knauss-Trump (born Melanija Knavs, Germanized to Melania Knauss; April 26, 1970) is a jewelry and watch designer and former model. She is married to American real estate developer and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump. Born in Slovenia, Knauss-Trump became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2006.
Knauss was born in Sevnica, in Slovenia's Lower Sava Valley (then part of Yugoslavia) in 1970. Her father Viktor Knavs, who managed car and motorcycle dealerships, was from the nearby town of Radeče; her mother Amalija, a fashion designer, came from a village in the area surrounding Sevnica, within the confines of Sevnica Castle. Knauss grew up in a modest apartment in a concrete housing block. She began her modeling career at age 16, and at age 18 signed with a modeling agency in Milan.
After studying design and architecture at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, Knauss worked as a model for major fashion houses in Milan and Paris before relocating to New York City in 1996. Working with photographers including Helmut Newton, Patrick Demarchelier, and Mario Testino, Knauss subsequently appeared on the covers of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Ocean Drive, In Style, New York Magazine, Avenue, Allure, Vanity Fair, Self, Glamour, GQ Elle, and was featured in the 2000 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. According to the Washington Post, "her celebrity sex appeal was cemented by her appearance on the January 2000 cover of British GQ magazine", for which she was photographed "lying seductively on a fluffy fur on Trump’s private jet".
In 2000, Knauss appeared with Trump while he campaigned for the Reform Party 2000 presidential nomination, and several years later, Knauss appeared in an ad for Aflac insurance, in which she and the Aflac mascot, a duck, voiced by comedian Gilbert Gottfried, exchange personalities via a Frankenstein-like mad experiment. She was interviewed with Trump in May 2005 on Larry King Live, four months after their marriage, and afterwards co-hosted several episodes of The View with Barbara Walters.
She was Honorary Chairwoman for Martha Graham Dance Company in April 2005; is an active member of the Police Athletic League, which honored her with Woman of The Year 2006; has been an Honorary Chairwoman for The Boy's Club of New York for five consecutive years; and in 2005, The American Red Cross awarded her with the title of Goodwill Ambassador. In 2008, she rang the closing bell at NASDAQ to commemorate the Fifth Annual National Love Our Children Day and the beginning of National Child Abuse Prevention month.
In 2010, she launched her jewelry collection, "Melania™ Timepieces & Jewelry”, sold on QVC, and in 2013, debuted a skin care line, "Melania™ Caviar Complexe C6", which she promoted on The Celebrity Apprentice and The View but which subsequently suffered distribution problems. She won a 2013 court case and the right to an arbitrated settlement after suing an Indianapolis distributor for $50 million for failure to honor their marketing contract.
Marriage to Donald Trump
After moving to New York City in 1996, Knauss met Donald Trump at a Fashion Week party in New York City in September 1998. Their relationship gained notoriety after a 1999 interview on The Howard Stern Show, and additional publicity after the launch of Trump's successful business-oriented reality television show, The Apprentice, in 2004. Donald Trump described their long courtship in 2005: "We literally have never had an argument, forget about the word 'fight' ... We just are very compatible. We get along."
After becoming engaged in 2004, Trump and Knauss were married on January 22, 2005 at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida, followed by a reception in the 17,000-sq.-ft. ballroom at Trump's Mar-A-Lago estate.
The event was attended by, among others, Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Rudy Giuliani, Heidi Klum, Star Jones, P. Diddy, Shaquille O'Neal, Barbara Walters, Conrad Black, Regis Philbin, Simon Cowell, Kelly Ripa, and then-Senator Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton. At the reception, Billy Joel serenaded the crowd with "Just the Way You Are", and supplied new lyrics about Trump to the tune of "The Lady is a Tramp". Tina Brown, also a guest, commented on the Clintons' attendance in the Washington Post, writing, “Bill and Hillary Clinton were there to do what they always like to do for R&R: raise money.” At a 2015 Republican presidential debate, Trump was asked about the Clintons' attendance at his wedding. He said: “I'll tell you what, with Hillary Clinton, I said, 'Be at my wedding,' and she came to my wedding. You know why? She had no choice. I gave to their foundation.”
The Trumps' wedding ceremony and reception were widely covered by the media. Knauss wore a $200,000 dress made by John Galliano of the house of Christian Dior, and the cake at the reception was a 50-pound orange Grand Marnier chocolate truffle cake, with a Grand Marnier butter-cream filling, and covered with 3,000 roses created by the chef at Mar-A-Lago.
In 2006, Knauss gave birth to a boy, whom the couple named Barron William Trump. Donald Trump suggested his first name, and Melania his middle name. As an infant, Barron reportedly occupied his own floor in the Trumps' apartment in Trump Tower in Manhattan, but often slept in a crib in his parents' bedroom. He plays golf with his father, and is reported to be equally fluent in English and Slovenian, while also speaking French. He is said to like wearing a suit and tie, and Melania's nickname for him is "Mini-Donald".
When asked in 1999 by the New York Times what her role would be if Trump were to become president, Melania replied: “I would be very traditional. Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy. I would support him.”
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- Sikich, Chris (November 14, 2013). "Melania Trump maintains validity of disputed contract". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
- IBJ Staff (November 26, 2013). "Trump wins court battle with Menard over skin care products deal". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
- "Melania Knauss Biography". Star Pulse. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
- Gillin, Joshua (July 21, 2015). "The Clintons really did attend Donald Trump's 2005 wedding". Politifact (Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald). Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Melania Trump - IMDb Bio. Retrieved 201-08-25
- Schneider, Karen S. (May 1, 2006). "Billion Dollar Baby: He Has Mom's Eyes, Dad's Lips, His Own Floor in Trump Tower and Doting Parents: Welcome to the World of Barron William Trump". People Magazine. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
- Katz, Celeste (September 3, 2015). "Trump still questioning Jeb Bush for using Spanish". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
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