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How Ivana Trump fought for the three kids in her divorce from Donald

A loving mother until the end: How Ivana Trump doted on Don Jr, Ivanka and Eric and fought for them in her divorce, telling everyone she met proudly that SHE raised them (without their famous father!)

  • Ivana Trump was fiercely proud of Don Jr, Ivanka, and Eric Trump – her three kids with Donald 
  • As they hammered out their divorce, Ivana fought for full custody of the children 
  • She proudly took credit for them as adults and wrote in her memoir that she raised them alone 
  • In later years, the kids doted on her –  visiting her at the home she shared with her own mother, now 96 
  • Ivana died in her home on the Upper East Side on Thursday at the age of 73 
  • Donald Trump announced her death in a warm statement from the entire family 

Ivana Trump may not have made it to the White House as First Lady, but she relished her role as a loving mother to her three kids and proudly described how she raised them without their father’s help. 

After Donald took office and even for years privately beforehand, it was Ivana who took credit for the kids, their success and their mild manners. 

She fought ferociously for them during her divorce from their father, and wrote in her memoir that it was she who raised them – not their dad who ‘provided’ for them but had no interest until they ‘could talk business with him’. 

On Thursday, Eric Trump paid tribute to his mother after her death at the age of 73, writing in an Instagram post: ”It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Ivana Trump. 

‘Our mother was an incredible woman — a force in business, a world-class athlete, a radiant beauty, and caring mother and friend. 

‘Ivana Trump was a survivor. She fled from communism and embraced this country. She taught her children about grit and toughness, compassion and determination.

‘She will be dearly missed by her mother, her three children and ten grandchildren.’ 

Ivana Trump may not have made it to the White House – but she relished her role as a loving mother to her three kids and proudly described how she raised them without their father’s help


Ivana Trump with her then-husband Donald and their three kids, left, and right with Donald and Ivanka as a baby

Ivana and Trump tied the knot in 1977. He was her second husband, and the only man she had children with.  The pair welcomed their son, Donald Trump Jr., that year. 

Next came golden girl Ivanka in 1980, then Eric in 1984. 

She and Donald finalized their divorce in 1999, but she wrote in her memoir that she knew it was over a decade earlier, when she noticed another woman. 

‘This young blonde woman approached me out of the blue and said “I’m Marla and I love your husband. Do you?” 

‘I said “Get lost. I love my husband.” It was unladylike but I was in shock.’ 

She was referring, of course, to Marla Maples, Trump’s second wife and the mother to his fourth child, Tiffany. As her marriage to Donald, then a flashy millionaire celebrity, disintegrated, she fought for custody of the three kids. 

‘I got total custody of the kids when I divorced Donald. That was non-negotiable. But even if Donald and I had stayed together, I would have raised the kids. 

‘Donald was the kind of father who was at the office at 6 in the morning. 

‘I would take the kids to his office after the breakfast and they would play on the floor with the Legos while Donald was on the telephone.

‘He provided for them and he loved them. But he does not know how to make small talk and he certainly was not going to say, ‘Oh, choo, choo, choo, choo. How cute we are today. Let’s go to the park in the stroller.’ No. 

Ivana, Donald, Eric and Ivanka, at Mar-a-Lago in 1998, a year before their divorce 


”I got them up at 7 and to school by 8. After school, Ivanka had piano lessons and ballet lessons and ice-skating lessons. Donald Jr. and Eric had karate or golf or whatever it was. Then they did their homework. By 7:30 they would be in a coma and in bed asleep. If you keep them busy, they have no time to get into trouble,’ Ivana said previously of her parenting

‘That was not his kind of thing. He only started talking to them when they were in university and they could talk business,’ she told The New York Post in 2018. 

She was ‘devastated’ by Trump’s lawyers’ claims during divorce negotiations that she was a bad mother. 

She also recalled one near stalemate where Trump announced: ‘I’m keeping Don Jr.’ 

She shot back: ‘Keep him. I have two others to raise,’ and told fondly how Don Jr., then a boy, was back in her arms within hours. 

‘I knew Donald would not know what to do with him. It was hurtful, but I could not be intimidated.’ 

She maintained that the key to keeping the kids grounded was ‘discipline’. 

‘I got them up at 7 and to school by 8. After school, Ivanka had piano lessons and ballet lessons and ice-skating lessons. 

‘Donald Jr. and Eric had karate or golf or whatever it was. 

‘Then they did their homework. By 7:30 they would be in a coma and in bed asleep. If you keep them busy, they have no time to get into trouble.’ 


Ivanka and Ivana, left, in 2001 and right with Don Jr. The kids remained close with their mother until her death

Ivana Trump poses with her children, Donald Trump Jr. (L), Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump (R) after lunch at Frederick’s Madison November 16, 2006 in New York City

Ivana with her three kids in 2011 at the launch of the ‘Ivana Living Legend Wine Collection’ in New York City 

Ivana with Eric Trump in September 2015. He paid tribute to her on Thursday after her death at the age of 73 


 Ivana Trump leaves her New York home and drops off a Birthday present for Mother Ivana Trump in February last year 

It was a formula that seemed to work – or at least that kept them close. 

In 2017, she wrote for TIME: ‘I believe the credit for raising such great kids belongs to me. I was in charge of raising our children before our divorce, and I had sole custody of them after the split. 

‘I made the decisions about their education, activities, travel, child care, and allowances. 

‘When each one finished college, I said to my ex-husband, “Here is the finished product. Now it’s your turn.”‘  

 

‘By all rights, as children of divorce, surrounded by wealth and forced into fame, Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric could have become the most damaged, druggie, poor little rich kids on the planet.

‘Instead, the boys are devoted husbands and fathers, and are jointly running a multibillion-dollar company. 

‘Ivanka is a marvelous mother and wife; founded her own apparel, jewelry, and shoes business; authored two books (her most recent one, I believe, was inspired by me); is now the assistant to her father, the of the United States; and is actively working to improve the lives of women and children. 

‘I think Ivanka played a big part in Donald’s victory…Who knows? One day, she might be the first female — and Jewish — POTUS.’ 

Ivana Trump with one of her ten grandchildren. He paid tribute to her in an Instagram post on Thursday

The kids then cozied up to their dad – taking key positions in his businesses. They stayed close to their mother, often visiting her on the Upper East Side and ensuring she spent time with her grandkids. 

The children were regularly spotted visiting their mother at her Upper East Side home, that she shared with her own mother. 

Now 96, she outlived her larger-than-life daughter. Ivana died at home on Thursday at the age of 73. 

Her death was announced by her ex-husband, who said on behalf of the family: ‘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.

‘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!’   

Eric Trump arriving at his mother’s home on Thursday after the news of her death at the age of 73

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