Melania Trump

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Melania Trump
Melania Trump 2011.jpg
Melania Trump, 2011
Born Melanija Knavs[1]
(1970-04-26) April 26, 1970 (age 45)
Sevnica, SR Slovenia, SFR Yugoslavia
Nationality Slovenian
United States (naturalized)
Occupation Model, jewelry designer[2]
Years active 1986–present
Spouse(s) Donald Trump (m. 2005)
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's Website

Melania Knauss-Trump (born Melanija Knavs,[1] Germanized to Melania Knauss; April 26, 1970) is a jewelry and watch designer and former model.[2] She is married to American billionaire real estate developer and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump.[3] Born in Slovenia, Knauss-Trump became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2006.[4]

Early life[edit]

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,[5] was from the nearby town of Radeče; her mother Amalija, a fashion designer,[5] came from a village in the area surrounding Sevnica, within the confines of Sevnica Castle.[6] Knauss grew up in a modest apartment in a concrete housing block.[1] She began her modeling career at age 16, and at age 18 signed with a modeling agency in Milan.[4] She is fluent in English, French, Slovenian, Croatian, Serbian, and Austrian German.[7]


Modeling career[edit]

After studying design and architecture at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia,[4] Knauss worked as a model for major fashion houses in Milan and Paris before relocating to New York City in 1996.[4] Working with photographers including Helmut Newton, Patrick Demarchelier, and Mario Testino,[4] [5] 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, FHM, and was featured as a bikini model in the 2000 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. [8] [9] [10] [11] As a model, she was associated with several well-known modeling agencies, including Donald Trump's Trump Model Management.[12]

Career post marriage[edit]

In 2000, Knauss appeared with Trump while he campaigned for the Reform Party 2000 presidential nomination,[13] 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.[4] She was interviewed with Trump in May 2005 on Larry King Live, four months after their marriage,[14] and afterwards co-hosted several episodes of The View with Barbara Walters.[4]

In 2010, she launched her watch and jewelry collection, "Melania™ Timepieces & Jewelry”, sold on QVC, and in 2013, debuted a skin care line, "Melania™ Caviar Complexe C6",[4] which she promoted on The Celebrity Apprentice and The View. Her product lines subsequently suffered distribution problems,[15] and in 2013, she won a court case and the right to an arbitrated settlement after suing an Indianapolis distributor for $50 million for failure to honor their marketing contract.[16]

Charity work[edit]

She has been associated with various charity events, including of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.[17] [18] 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.[4] 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.[5]

Marriage to Donald Trump[edit]

Donald Trump with Melania Trump at the Oscar De La Renta Fashion Show in New York City, 2006

After moving to New York City in 1996,[19] Knauss met Donald Trump at a Fashion Week party in New York City in September 1998.[1][14] Their relationship gained notoriety after a 1999 interview on The Howard Stern Show,[13] and additional publicity after the 2004 launch of Trump's successful business-oriented reality television show, The Apprentice. 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."[14]

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.[20]

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.[20][21] 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".[20] 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.”[5] 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.”[5]

The Trumps' wedding ceremony and reception were widely covered by the media.[19] Knauss wore a $200,000 dress made by John Galliano[20] of the house of Christian Dior,[20] 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.[20]

In 2006, Knauss gave birth to a boy, whom the couple named Barron William Trump.[4] Donald Trump suggested his first name, and Melania his middle name.[22] 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.[22] He plays golf with his father, and is reported to be equally fluent in English and Slovenian,[23] while also speaking French.[5] He is said to like wearing a suit and tie, and Melania's nickname for him is "Mini-Donald".[5]

Melania and Trump have been constant companions since their marriage, and are often seen and photographed together at New York City society events and receptions.[24] Television personality Barbara Walters, impressed with Melania's intelligence when she met her, has said of her: "Maybe because she's so pretty, we don't expect her to be as smart as she is."[25]

In 2015, asked about her husband's presidential campaign, Melania said, "I encouraged him because I know what he will do and what he can do for America. He loves the American people and he wants to help them."[25] When asked 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.”[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Jordan, Mary (September 30, 2015). "Meet Melania Trump, a new model for first lady". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 1, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "The Women of Billionaires". TheRedWire. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "Melania Trump would be a First Lady for the Ages", New York Post, August 16, 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-17
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Melanie Trump - "My World", Retrieved 2015-08-17
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Greenhouse, Emily (August 17, 2015). "Vitamins & Caviar: Getting to Know Melania Trump". Bloomberg Politics. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Tednik CELJAN". Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  7. ^ FMD - "Melania Knauss". Retrieved 2015-11-14
  8. ^ "Melania Knauss". The FMD - Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  9. ^ "Melania Knauss". The FMD - Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  10. ^ George Holz. "Melania Knauss, FHM, December 1, 2000". Getty Images. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  11. ^ "Photoshoots". Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  12. ^ "Melania Knauss". The FMD - Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  13. ^ a b Wadler, Joyce (December 2, 1999). "A Supermodel at the White House?". New Straits Times. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c King, Larry (May 17, 2005). "Interview with Donald, Melania Trump". CNN. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  15. ^ Sikich, Chris (November 14, 2013). "Melania Trump maintains validity of disputed contract". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved September 7, 2015. 
  16. ^ IBJ Staff (November 26, 2013). "Trump wins court battle with Menard over skin care products deal". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved September 7, 2015. 
  17. ^ Gregory Pace. "Evelyn Lauder, Leonard Lauder and Melania Trump during The Breast...". Getty Images. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  18. ^ "Melania Trump Photos - The Breast Cancer Research Foundation's Annual Hot Pink Party - Zimbio". Zimbio. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  19. ^ a b "Melania Knauss Biography". Star Pulse. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f Natasha Stoynoff - "Donald Trump Weds Melania Knauss" People, January 23, 2005. Retrieved 2015-08-17
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ a b 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. 
  23. ^ Katz, Celeste (September 3, 2015). "Trump still questioning Jeb Bush for using Spanish". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  24. ^ Desiree Navarro. "Melania Trump during Donald Trump Hosts the Opening Night Reception...". Getty Images. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  25. ^ a b "Barbara Walters Is Shocked that Melania Trump Is Smart Because She's Also Beautiful",, November 20, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-22

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