Ivana Trump 'left Donald Trump's presidential inauguration after being given a very bad seat', friend claims, dismissing rumor that she left early to avoid seeing Marla Maples
By MailOnline Reporter
Published: | Updated:
Ivana Trump (pictured the week of Trump's inauguration) left her ex-husband's inauguration early because she was upset with the seating arrangements — not because she wanted to avoid seeing Marla Maples, a friend has claimed. Massimo Gargia, who introduced Ivana to her fourth husband, Rossano Rubicondi, told New York Magazine's Intelligencer that the New York socialite was shocked after seeing her seating placement at the 2017 ceremony. 'In Washington for the inauguration, she had a very bad seat. So she left,' Gargia said.'She was in shock to see where they put her. It was a little exclusion.'
At the time, Page Six reported Ivana and her mother, Barbi, were moved to seats on the edge of the front row of the inauguration to accommodate Barbi, who was then in a wheelchair. 'They had seats in the middle of the front row, but couldn't use them,' an unnamed source told the outlet. 'They were shifted off to the side.' Ivana then left Washington D.C. on a 9pm flight back to the Big Apple.
But Gargia's story seems to refute Page Six's earlier reporting that Ivana left the ceremony to avoid seeing Marla Maples, whom her ex-husband publicly left her for in the early 1990s. A source told the outlet at the time that Ivana had planned to 'go out and celebrate after the swearing-in, but when she found out that Marla was going, she canceled.' Maples, meanwhile, shared an Instagram video of her waiting for the ceremony to begin that day — sitting directly in the front row.
According to the Intelligencer, Ivana was shocked at her treatment at the inauguration after she stood by Donald's side during the campaign — and even defended him as he faced sexual harassment claims. In fact, Ivana refuted accounts that she had accused Donald of rape during their divorce, stating her accusation at the time was not of a 'literal of criminal sense.' She then said in a statement to CNN in 2015: 'I have recently read some comments attributed to me from nearly 30 years ago at a time of very high tension during my divorce from Donald. The story is totally without merit.'
'Donald and I are the best of friends, and together have raised three children that we love and are very proud of,' she continued. 'I have nothing but fondness for Donald, and wish him the best of luck on his campaign. Incidentally, I think he would make an incredible president.' She had continued to defend him when he became the president, and once said she considers herself the 'first first lady,' having married Trump prior to his now-wife Melania, despite their tumultuous relationship and expensive divorce.
Ivana first met Donald as a model in 1976, recounting in her memoir how Trump secured her and her friends a table at a hot Manhattan restaurant, paid the check and chauffeured her back to her hotel in a Cadillac. The two married just over a year after they met in a private wedding ceremony on April 7, 1977. A couple months later, in October 1977, the couple welcomed their first child, Donald Jr. They then went on to have Ivanka Trump in October 1981 and Eric Trump in January 1984. At the height of their relationship, the two were business partners, working on some major projects like development of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, the renovation of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City and the construction of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
But by 1989, there started to be some trouble in paradise for the couple - as they were observed fighting while on vacation in Aspen, Colorado, after Ivana discovered Donald was having an affair with Marla Maples, the women who would go on to become his second wife. The Chicago Tribune then reported in February 1990 that Donald had locked his wife out of her office at the Plaza Hotel. Legal battles then ensued over the legitimacy of their four prenuptial agreements. They were then divorced in December 1990, under the condition that Ivana had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The New York Times reported in 1991 that the divorce settlement included $14 million, a 45-room Connecticut mansion, an apartment at Trump Plaza and the use of Mar-a-Lago for one month a year.
Ultimately, the divorce was finalized in 1992. The next year, Donald married Maples at the New York Plaza Hotel (pictured). After that, Ivana became a celebrity in her own right, going on to star with Trump in a Pizza Hut commercial in 1995 in which she joked that she's 'only entitled to a half' a slice, and appearing as herself in the 1996 movie 'The First Wives Club,' with Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn. She tells the women in a short cameo: 'Ladies, you have to be strong and independent. And remember, don't get mad, get everything.' Ivana went on to get married two more times, first to Riccardo Mazzucchelli in 1995, a union that was dissolved after two years.
Then, in 2008, Ivana married Rossano Rubicondi (pictured). However, their union latest less than a year since the two divorced in 2009. They went on to have an on-again, off-again relationship for years before he died of melanoma in October 2021. Ivana began to fade following his death, according to the Intelligencer. She started wearing flats rather than her usual high heels and was seen having trouble walking. Some days, she even turned up to her favorite Italian restaurant and sat alone, nursing a Pinot Grigio. Then, on July 14, Ivana was found dead in her home on Manhattan's Upper East Side at the age of 73.
A medical examiner ruled her death was an accident, saying she died from blunt force injuries as the result of a fall down her famous spiral staircase. Donald shared the news of her passing on his Truth Social account, writing: 'I am very saddened to inform all of those that loved her, of which there are many, that Ivana Trump has passed away at her home in New York City.' He went on to describe Ivana as a 'beautiful, amazing' woman, while honoring her close bond with their kids: Donald Jr, Eric, and Ivanka. 'She was a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life,' he continued. 'Her pride and joy were her three children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. She was so proud of them, as we were all so proud of her. Rest in Peace, Ivana!' Pictured: Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump watching as Ivana's casket is carried out of her funeral.
Ivana's funeral service on July 20 was billed a 'Celebration of Life' to honor the Czechoslovakian skier turned model who moved to America at the dawn of the 70s and became one of New York's most iconic first wives. She was remembered at the ceremony by her children as the 'embodiment of the American dream.' Donald Trump Jr, Eric and Ivanka all spoke in front of 100 mourners, with daughter Ivanka saying: 'Growing up, my mother didn’t tell me a woman could do anything she wanted to — she showed me. She was a trailblazer by men and women alike. My mother once told me there was nothing she couldn’t do in heels. She taught us how to spear fish and then cook what we caught. My mom expanded our minds,' she said.
Eric added: 'She had brains; she had beauty. She was the embodiment of the American dream … She was a force of nature, could beat any man down the slopes, any woman on the runway. She ruled the three of us [kids] with an iron fist but also a heart of gold.' Following the ceremony, Ivana was buried next to the first hole along a grassy area at her ex-husband's tony Bedminster Golf Club in a private ceremony. Her rose gold casket was lowered into the ground 'not too far from the main club house' at Trump's Bedminster Golf Course that afternoon, a source in attendance told the New York Post, in a 'private grassy area.'
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