Donald Trump is expected to launch a third bid for the White House tonight – but his wife looks likely to give the campaign trail a miss.
According to her biographer, Melania Trump is “not happy” in the wake of the midterm election results. Reports suggested that the former US president blamed his wife for pushing Mehmet Oz as a Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, something he has denied.
“She doesn’t like being in the news. She certainly doesn’t like her her name being attached to the rants and ravings of her husband,” said Kate Bennett, a CNN correspondent and author of the 2019 book Free, Melania: The Unauthorized Biography.
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“I don’t think she has any intention of being on the campaign trail,” added Bennett.
Ever since they “glided down the escalator at Trump Tower to announce a 2016 run”, Melania has been a “difficult-to-read partner in her husband’s political manoeuvrings”, said Politico. And as Trump has criss-crossed the country to “push his MAGA brand” since losing the 2020 presidential election, his wife has “shown little sign that she harbours enthusiasm to dive back into politics”.
Here are five facts you might not know about the woman dubbed the “reluctant first lady”.
Hillary Clinton went to her wedding
Bill and Hillary Clinton were among the 350 guests when Melania and Donald tied the knot at the groom’s landmark Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, in 2005. According to GQ, the bride wore a $100,000 Dior dress with 1,500 crystals, which took a “legendary” 550 hours to make. Her 12-carat, emerald-cut Graff wedding ring is said to be worth £1.5m.
Melania's sister, Ines, was the maid of honour and Donald's two sons, Donald Jr and Eric, served as best men. Guests including Heidi Klum, Barbara Walters and Simon Cowell “slurped caviar and Cristal in the shadow of a five-foot-tall Grand Marnier wedding cake”, said GQ, while The Hollywood Reporter said the seven-tier “chef-d’oeuvre” weighed more than 200lbs.
She was the second foreign-born first lady
Melania was the first first lady to be born in a communist country and just the second to hail from overseas. She was born in 1970 in what was Yugoslavia, in an area that is now part of Slovenia.
The first foreign-born first lady was Louisa Adams. The wife of John Quincy Adams, who served as the sixth president of the United States from 1825 to 1829, was born in London.
Melania also stands above past first ladies – literally. At 5ft 11in (1.80m), the former model towers above the average woman, and most of her predecessors in the White House. Only Michelle Obama and Eleanor Roosevelt matched her height, making the three women tied for the title of tallest first lady.
She is the only first lady to have posed nude
Three years before she met Trump, Melania (then Melania Knauss) posed nude for a French men’s magazine. The “bombshell” photo set, obtained by the New York Post, shows her lying naked in a bed alongside Scandinavian model Emma Eriksson. The photographer, Jarl Ale de Basseville, described the images as “beauty and not porn”, adding: “I always loved women together because I have been with a lot of women who desired the menage a trois.”
In another modelling gig, Melania appeared in a low-budget 1993 Slovenian fashion advert in which she was “sworn in” as president of the US. In the footage, unearthed by Univision in 2016, she leaves a plane, is sworn in and then endorses the kind of immigration decree “that her husband, whom she married in 2005, might be less eager to sign”.
Her ex-lawyer is to become president of Slovenia
In another twist, Melania’s former lawyer was elected to become the first female president of Slovenia on Sunday, triumphing over a conservative party led by a pro-Trump populist. Nataša Pirc Musar was previously hired to stop companies in her home country profiting from Melania’s name and face. Items included “honey jars…cakes decorated with golden dust, high heel shoes, an underwear line, a type of salad and even a big Christmas tree in the capital”, said Associated Press.
According to preliminary results, Pirc Musar – an independent backed by the centre-left and liberals – has beaten the former right-wing foreign minister Anže Logar of the Slovenian Democratic Party. The latter is led by former prime minister Janez Janša, who “became the first world leader to back Mr Trump’s false claim to have won the US presidential elections in 2020”, said The Telegraph.
She and Donald ‘slept on separate floors’
According to Free, Melania, the president and his wife not only slept in different rooms, they slept on different floors of the White House. Author Bennett said the former first lady had a bedroom on the third floor of the executive residence, once occupied by Michelle Obama’s mother, while Donald was in the master bedroom on the first floor looking out over the Rose Garden and the Oval Office.
A representative for Melania denied the separate-bed claim, saying: “It’s unfortunate that you are going to feature unnamed ‘sources’ that have provided fictional accounts.” The Washington Post’s Mary Jordan, who wrote another biography, The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump, said she didn’t know any couple that spent as much time apart as the Trumps – but added “they’re perfectly happy to be separated”.
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