The Truth About Melania Trump Is Out

The Truth About Melania Trump Is Out

Growing up in Slovenia

Flirting in front of a date, getting blessings from the Pope, and arguing over tweets.

One of the country’s most talked-about First Ladies, the truth about Melania Trump is out. Melania Trump had a radically different childhood from the first ladies that preceded her.

The businesswoman grew up in a humble home in a then-Communist-ruled Slovenia, formerly known as Yugoslavia.

According to the Associated Press, Melania’s childhood was anything but luxurious, with her father working as a car dealer and her mother employed in the textile industry.

While she’s known for her lavish lifestyle nowadays, Melania grew up in apartment housing with a view of the smoking factory chimneys beyond the Sava River. But she would ultimately outgrow her charming small town, a scenic area with just around 5,000 people.

After a short stint at the University of Ljubljana, studying design and architecture, Melania decided to pursue a different career path and dropped out of school.

According to the BBC, she first entered the United States on a tourist visa before obtaining a working visa designated for skilled immigrants.

She dropped her surname Knavs and Anglicized it to her now-maiden name of Knauss and embarked on a bustling modeling career.

Getting Discovered

Melania Trump began climbing the ladder in the modeling world at just 16 years old.

She was discovered by famous fashion designer Stane Jerko, which propelled her career in the right direction.

Jerko told Today of his first encounter with Melania: “It was January 1987 when I went home just before the end of the fashion show. On the stairs of the Festival Hall, I saw a girl that immediately caught my eye. There stood a tall, slender, and attractive long-haired girl with distinct eyes.”

Jerko invited Melania to his studio for a test shoot, which resulted in promising photos to be sent out to international agencies. The Slovenian beauty gained notoriety working in Milan and Paris, gracing various magazine covers before moving to the fashion capital of New York City in 1996.

In her past work, she’s also graced the cover of British GQ, baring it all in a nude shoot that was viewed as controversial after she stepped foot in the White House.

Sharing digits

Melania Trump got a whole lot more than she bargained for after attending a New York City Fashion Week party and stumbling into her future husband. She and Donald Trump were first introduced in Manhattan in 1998, but the former president, who is 24 years her senior, was with another woman at the time.

Melania told Harper’s Bazaar: “He wanted my number, but he was with a date, so, of course, I didn’t give it to him.” “And I said, ‘I will not give you my number, so if you give me your numbers, I will, um, I will call you.”

Melania ended up dialing Donald’s number a few days later, changing the course of her future with a single phone call.

As she recalled: “I was struck by his energy. He has an amazing sense of vitality.”

Donald Trump came with a lot of baggage, with 4 kids and a divorce from his 2nd wife, Marla Maples, that had yet to be finalized.

Nonetheless, the 2 quickly began dating, and Melania’s star power began to rise as a New York City socialite. The two cemented the next step in their relationship in 2004 when Donald proposed to his bride-to-be with a 1.5-million-dollar engagement ring at the Met Gala.

An incredibly lavish wedding

Melania and Donald’s wedding was the pinnacle of opulence.

The former model tied the knot with Donald in a stunning ceremony held at the Episcopal Church, Bethesda-by-the-Sea. 450 esteemed guests attended the big day, including several A-list names like Elton John, Heidi Klum, Anna Wintour, and Shaquille O’Neal.

Hillary and Bill Clinton also attended the nuptials, which proved to be a damning move for the politician when she ran against Donald in 2016. Ivanka Trump read a bible passage during the ceremony, followed up by music from opera star Camellia Johnson, at the bride’s request.

Melania’s wedding dress cost around $100,000 and required over 500 hours of embroidery work before the big day. The ceremony was followed up by a lavish reception at the famous Grand Ballroom located at the Mar-O-Lago Beach Club in South Florida.

Melania shipped over 10,000 flowers from New York to decorate the space, and both Billy Joel and Elton John gave performances later in the night, accompanied by a full orchestra of white-tuxedo-clad musicians to commemorate the big day.

The grand total for a day like this? According to reports, the nuptials were rumored to have cost a whopping $2.5 million.

She’s an entrepreneur

Melania Trump launched her own company in 2013 when she introduced her line of caviar-infused skincare products. Her brand, Melania Caviar Complexe C6, promised customers a rich variety of vitamins and high-acting ingredients to help with anti-aging.

However, Melania’s skincare line vanished a few years later amid controversy. At the time, her website bio stated she had received an architecture degree from Slovenia, which was later proven to be false. She addressed the confusion in 2016, revealing she had moved on to more presidential projects, and tweeted that the website had been removed due to inaccuracies.

Skincare wasn’t the only industry Melania dabbled in, however, as she also launched a jewelry line in 2010. Her brand,

“Melania Timepieces & Fashion Jewelry,”

was sold on QVC as well as the home shopping network. The line fared well with customers and sold out on the home shopping network within 45 minutes of the launch. While her skincare products have since disappeared, you can still find pieces from her jewelry line floating around the Internet.

A labyrinth of organizing paperwork

Melania Trump’s ascension to the White House as first lady in 2016 wasn’t without its usual fanfare. The former model did stand out, however, thanks to her Slovenian birthplace. She became the first foreign-born woman to assume the role since London-born Louisa Adams, the wife of former president John Quincy Adams.

She is, however, the only first lady to have ever become a naturalized United States citizen. Trump gained her citizenship in 2006, and her parents were controversially granted theirs years later in 2018 after the couple’s green card application was approved. Melania spoke about her journey to become a citizen at the National Archives Naturalization Ceremony in 2023, recounting her difficult immigration journey.

“Quickly, my life turned into a labyrinth of organizing paperwork.”

She went on to say in her speech: “For me, reaching the milestone of American citizenship marked the sunrise of certainty. At that exact moment, I forever discarded the layer of burden connected with whether I would be able to live in the United States.”

In addition to being one of the only foreign-born first ladies, Melania further separates herself from the past presidential wives with her ability to speak more languages than any of the previous women who held the position.

The businesswoman claims that she can speak English, French, German, Italian, and Serbian, as well as her native Slovenian.

A practicing Catholic

Melania Trump marked several firsts when she took her role as first lady in 2016. The Slovenian beauty was the first Catholic first lady since Jackie Kennedy took the role in 1961.

Where she grew up, the Roman Catholic Church is by far the most followed religion, with 71% of Slovenians practicing Catholicism.

Melania takes her religion seriously, and she even took an opportunity to practice during her first-ever trip abroad as first lady alongside Donald in 2017.

Upon visiting the Vatican, the former model brought along a pair of rosary beads to be blessed by Pope Francis.

The act lasted only seconds, but it remains a huge honor in the Catholic faith. Their son Barron was baptized at the same church where the pair exchanged vows, the Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal church in South Florida. Barron also studied at the prestigious St. Andrews Episcopal School, which is about a 30-minute drive from the White House.

Every first lady is expected to take on a specific cause during their slotted four-year tenure in America’s House, and Melania Trump was no different.

Just as Michelle Obama started her “Let’s Move” campaign that focused on healthier school lunches, and Nancy Reagan tried to combat drugs with her “Just Say No” initiative, Trump too had a cause of her own.

The Slovenian native aimed to combat cyberbullying throughout her time in the White House, launching her campaign “Be Best” to help better the mental health of kids worldwide when it comes to social media.

She also spoke at a cyberbullying summit in 2018 about the issue.

Trump visited schools across the United States to implement character-building in students as part of the campaign, and she also reinforced her message at the National Parent Teacher Association in Virginia in 2020, saying: “As parents, adults, educators, and community leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure our children are being taught the importance of positive ways to interact with each other and prepare them for attacks and negativity they could receive in this new digital age.”

Melania Trump may stick by her husband’s side through thick and thin, but that doesn’t also

Expressing her feelings

mean she’s supported the former president’s policies and decisions. In a visit to Egypt, the former first lady was asked by a reporter about whether she feels she’s “poking” at her husband by visiting the continent.

At the time, Donald had come under fire for using derogatory language when referring to certain African countries.

As Melania remarked to Sky News: “I don’t always agree what he tweets. I tell him that. I give him my honest opinion and honest advice. And sometimes he listens and sometimes he doesn’t. But, I have my own voice and my opinions and it’s very important for me that I express what I feel.”

Melania made headlines in 2018 when news broke that she was opposed to her husband’s controversial immigration policies.

Her former Chief of Staff, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, released audio recordings, in which Melania seemed upset over Donald allowing children to be separated from their families after illegally crossing the Southern Border. “They say I’m complicit. I’m the same like him, I support him-” “No.” “I don’t say enough, I don’t do enough.”

Suing for libel

Under immense pressure, Donald Trump faced numerous allegations of misconduct during his 2016 election campaign, but the spotlight also shone brightly on Melania. The former first lady took legal action against several magazine publications that referred to her as an escort in her previous career.

In 2016, Suzy magazine published an article alleging that Melania had previously worked for a fashion agency that also offered an upscale escort service. Melania sued the publication for libel, and they settled out of court, awarding her an undisclosed sum in damages. The magazine later issued an apology, stating,

“The article was understood as if Melania Trump conducted the escort job. We have no proof for that. So we apologize. We had no intention to hurt and offend Mrs. Trump.”

The former model also filed two lawsuits that same year against the U.K. newspaper Daily Mail, and their online publication, Mail Online, for publishing the same claims. She was awarded damages related to the suits in an amount not disclosed to the public in 2017.

Daily Mail followed suit with their apology, writing in their statement:

“We accept that these allegations about Mrs. Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them. We apologize to Mrs. Trump for any distress that our publication caused her.”

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