(CNN) — Ivana Trump, a businesswoman of Czech origin, whose marriage to the renowned businessman and later president of the United States Donald Trump made them one of the most prominent couples by the tabloid press of New York society in the 1980s, died this 14 July at age 73, at his home in New York City.
Ivana Trump, whose birth name was Ivana Zelnicek, was born in Zlín, Czechia, in 1949. She married Donald Trump—whom she dubbed “The Donald”—in 1977 and has since “played a pivotal role in building” of Trump’s real estate empire.
“They were both the stars of the late ’80s,” Liz Smith, a celebrity columnist about the Trumps, told CNN.
One of her sons, Eric Trump, described her as a “force in business, a world-class athlete, a radiant beauty, and a loving mother and friend,” while her daughter, Ivanka, remembered her as a “brilliant” woman. charming, passionate and wickedly funny.”
“Ivana Trump presented herself to the city’s wealthy elite as charming and sophisticated, opening the doors to exclusive social circles that Trump was later able to frequent,” says The New York Times.
Her business skills led her to great business ventures, developing not only emblematic projects with her husband, such as the development of the Trump Tower in New York City and the Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey; She also developed as a beauty products entrepreneur, in the real estate sector and served as a writer for several Best Sellers.
“I was running three casinos in Atlantic City for 10 years,” recalled Ivana Trump in an interview with CNN. “I went by helicopter from New York from 7 in the morning, going down, landing on the roof, passing by the office. At 6 I returned home with the children, homework…”.
The couple had three children: Donald Jr. (1977), Ivanka (1981), and Eric (1984).
Ivana Trump, the businesswoman
Ivana and Donald Trump divorced in 1992 following his tabloid affair with Marla Maples, who later became Donald Trump’s second wife and mother of his daughter, Tiffany.
When the couple finally settled, Ivana Trump walked away with $14 million, plus other perks like a huge mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut.
In his book, “Trump: The Art of the Deal,” Donald Trump referred to Ivana Trump as a “great manager” and described her as “demanding and very competitive.” He also put her in charge of running Trump’s Castle in Atlantic City, instead of hiring an outside general manager.
“When it comes to running a casino, good management skills are just as important as the specific gaming experience,” he wrote. “She agreed with me.”
In her 2009 book, “The Trump Card,” her daughter Ivanka described her as “an exuberant woman, filled with a passion for life and adventure that made it difficult for her to stay in one place for long.”
He added: “My parents are surprisingly similar in that way. They’ve grown apart, and even when they were together they seemed to be cut off in different ways, but they share one approach to life: everything, all the time.”
Ivana said in a 2017 interview that then-President Donald Trump wouldn’t be what he is if it weren’t for her.
“Wouldn’t it be what it is today without you?” CBSNews’ Jim Axelrod asked him on the Sunday Morning show.
“Sure,” Ivana replied.
After the divorce, Ivana Trump married and divorced two more times while maintaining a globetrotting, jet-setting lifestyle.
His recent life and death
In 2017, she told “CBS Sunday Morning” that she turned down an offer from Donald Trump to be ambassador to her native Czech Republic, citing her “freedom” and “perfect life.”
“I was just offered to be the United States ambassador to the Czech Republic, and Donald told me. He said, ‘Ivana, if you want it, I’ll give it to you,'” Trump said in the interview. “But I like my freedom. I like to do what I want to do, go where I want to go with who I want to go. And I can afford my lifestyle.”
“OK, why would I go and say goodbye to Miami in the winter, goodbye to Saint-Tropez in the summer, and goodbye to spring and fall in New York?” he continued. “I have a perfect life.”
Around noon on July 14, 2022, the NYPD responded to an emergency call and to the scene, on the Upper East Side, found a “73-year-old female unconscious and unresponsive.”
The New York Fire Department said it responded to a report of an individual who went into cardiac arrest at the residence, and the time and location of that response matched the location that the NYPD associated with Trump. The fire department said the victim was dead on arrival.
Ivana Trump was 73 years old.
— With reporting from CNN’s Kate Bennett.