GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump made a rather bizarre claim on Thursday: that his history of marriages has been “very good.”
“No, not at all,” Trump responded when asked if he was concerned about his marital history coming under scrutiny if he attacked Bill Clinton on his infidelities. “I have a very good history.”
Here are seven things you need to know about Trump’s marriages.
1. Trump forced his first wife, Ivana, to sign a pre-nuptial agreement. According to a lengthy piece in Vanity Fair chronicling the marriage between Trump and Ivana, Trump first met Ivana Zelnickova in the Maxwell’s Plum bar in 1976, and they were married a year later. But before they were married, Trump had Ivana sign a pre-nuptial agreement—which Ivana was unfamiliar with at the time since she was an immigrant from Czechoslovakia—in which he would give her $20,000 year. As Trump became increasingly wealthy, he attempted to get the agreement revised. This was a precursor of what was to come.
2. Trump has been accused of treating Ivana like dirt. Ivana once alleged that the following incident happened in 1989 after Trump was enraged over a plastic surgeon Ivana had recommended to him:
What followed was a “violent assault,” according to Lost Tycoon. Donald held back Ivana’s arms and began to pull out fistfuls of hair from her scalp, as if to mirror the pain he felt from his own operation. He tore off her clothes and unzipped his pants.
“Then he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than sixteen months. Ivana is terrified… It is a violent assault,” Hurt writes. “According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, ‘he raped me.’”
Following the incident, Ivana ran upstairs, hid behind a locked door, and remained there “crying for the rest of night.” When she returned to the master bedroom in the morning, he was there.
“As she looks in horror at the ripped-out hair scattered all over the bed, he glares at her and asks with menacing casualness: ‘Does it hurt?’” Hurt writes.
Ivana later said she didn’t “want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”
Trump also allegedly humiliated Ivana privately and, at times, even publicly. He constantly tore her down with comments like: “That dress is terrible” and “Who would touch those plastic breasts?” When Trump announced that he had hired Ivana as the manager of the Plaza Hotel, he declared: “My wife, Ivana, is a brilliant manager. I will pay her one dollar a year and all the dresses she can buy!” The comment drove Ivana to tears.
Many of Ivana’s friends were bewildered as to why Ivana stayed with Trump, but Ivana kept blaming herself. Observers felt that Ivana had developed “Stockholm syndrome” with Trump, as she herself was starting to resemble Trump’s personality–a lust for power, media savviness, and an attraction to the decadent lifestyle that comes with being treated as New York royalty.
3. While Trump was married to Ivana, he engaged in an affair with actress Marla Maples, prompting a confrontation between Ivana and Maples. The affair between Maples and Trump began in 1987, ten years into Trump’s marriage with Ivana. The affairs became highly publicized, much to Ivana’s humiliation. In fact, Trump, Maples and Ivana happened to be at a ski lodge in Aspen, Colorado at the same time—and it did not end well, according to People.
Two days later, according to one witness, when Maples, 26, walked out of Bonnie’s, Ivana confronted her, demanding, “You bitch, leave my husband alone.” Trump, who was sitting within earshot putting on his skis, took off down the mountain. Wrong move: Ivana is an excellent skier; Donald is not. When the formidable Czech pushed off in hot pursuit, fascinated observers swear they saw her whip in front of Donald and then ski backwards down the slopes, wagging her finger in his face.
4. Trump’s affair with Maples and pending divorce with Ivana took a toll on the Trump children. Here’s how Vanity Fair described it:
The scandal was seriously affecting the Trump children. Donny junior was being ridiculed at the Buckley School. Ivancka had been in tears at Chapin. When Donald and Marla Maples attended the same Elton John concert, Donny junior cried, for his father had told the children he would give Marla Maples up. “The children are all wrecks,” Ivana told Liz Smith. “I don’t know how Donald can say they are great and fine. Ivancka now comes home from school crying, ‘Mommy, does it mean I’m not going to be Ivancka Trump anymore?’ Little Eric asks me, ‘Is it true you are going away and not coming back?’ ” However cavalier Ivana’s public behavior was, in private she often cried. Once her husband’s co-conspirator, she told friends that she now felt she was his victim.
Trump and Ivana are now on better terms, Ivana claiming that they now have a “warm relationship.”
5. Trump later married Maples. The two were married in 1993, only one year after Trump and Ivana’s divorce. Trump and Maples had one daughter together, Tiffany Trump, who was born two months before her parents’ wedding. They were married for six years.
“I think you always hope in a marriage that you can bring the best out in each other,” Maples told Access Hollywood in April. “But after many years, we realized we weren’t. And then, you have to move on.
“You know girls when we’re in our twenties,” Maples continued. “We want to change the men we’re with, we think that love is going to make them a little softer, and you think, ‘I will learn how to speak out stronger for what I believe in.’ Because I’m a Southern girl and I often just smile and keep on going. But I have my own thoughts and my own views, and it’s time now to express them.”
In 2013, Maples admitted, “I still love Donald.”
6. Trump is currently married to Melania Trump. Trump first met Melania Knauss, an immigrant from Slovenia, in 1998 at the Kit Kat Club. Melania at first rebuffed Trump’s advances because he came with another woman, but Trump persisted and they were eventually married in 2005. They have a son named Baron.
7. Trump seems to take a managerial role in marriage. According to The New Yorker:
“I mean, I won’t do anything to take care of them,” Donald told Howard Stern, speaking of children. “I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids. It’s not like I’m gonna be walking the kids down Central Park.” His pride at never having changed a diaper is the weirdest boast of omission since Bill Clinton and his marijuana cigarette. The Trumps’ marriage, in business terms, might be thought of as a limited partnership, with Donald as the managing partner. His woman view is his world view: no reciprocity, no exchange, a one-way flight.