IVANA’S LEGENDARY LIFE!
Savvy socialite died in freak fall but her success was no accident
IVANA TRUMP, who rocketed from rags to riches becoming the wife of a billionaire future president, a jet-setter, fashion mogul and advice columnist, spent her last days in agony crippled by a hellish hip problem.
The 73-year-old ex-wife of Donald Trump and mom of his children Ivanka, 40, Donald Jr., 44, and Eric, 38, was found dead — in a pool of spilled coffee — at the foot of a sweeping staircase in her gilded Manhattan townhouse on July 14. It was a shocking and surprising end for the former worldclass skier and socialite, who was buried after a star-studded funeral.
Longtime pal Zach Erdem, owner of the Southampton hotspot 75 Main, says the four-times-wed QVC shopping
channel mogul and former GLOBE advice columnist spent her last days in agony from hip problems.
She’d canceled a trip to the Hamptons two weeks before her death because of leg pain.
“She couldn’t get out of her house,” says Erdem, 42, who was first befriended by Ivana when he was a busboy at one of her favorite eateries.
When he urged her to seek medical help, she told him: “No! I hate going to doctors. I get more sick going to doctors.”
She was so crippled she needed an aide to help her walk around the neighborhood and canceled a trip to France’s glitzy St. Tropez resort, say sources.
Ironically, her hips — and brains, beauty and charm — helped get her out of communist Czechoslovakia, where she was born to electrical engineer
Milos Zelnicek and telephone operator mom Marie in the town of Zin in 1949.
The young beauty became a top skier and fled her homeland by marrying friend and Austrian ski instructor Alfred Winklmayr in 1971. They divorced two years later and she moved to Canada, where she taught skiing and modeled.
At a 1976 New York City fashion event, she dazzled rich kid Donald, who wined and dined her and married her the following year.
The union remained solid for 15 years, producing the three oldest of his five children. She became his business partner as an interior designer and manager of his properties — and famously dubbed Trump, “The Donald.” But when he was caught cheating with Georgia beauty Marla Maples, who would become his second wife, Ivana filed for divorce in 1991, famously quipping, “Don’t get mad — get everything!”
And she damn near did, winning a staggering $14 million settlement, a 45-room Connecticut mansion and Trump Tower luxury apartment as well as custody of the kids. She used her fame to build a clothing, jewelry and beauty products empire, selling her lines on QVC and growing her fortune to $100 million.
She also supported Donald when he became president, but feuded with his current wife, Melania.
At one point, Ivana claimed
she was “the first lady” because she was “the first Trump wife,” while Melania slammed her as “an attention seeker.”
Certainly, Ivana wasn’t shy. She loved to dance on tables, drink wine and indulge her selfconfessed “weakness for Italian men.”
After a two-year marriage to Italian magnate Riccardo Mazzucchelli ended in divorce, Ivana launched into a torrid romance with four-yearsyounger Count Roffredo Gaetani dell’Aquila d’Aragona Lovatelli, which ended in 2005 when he died in a car accident. She wed Rossano Rubicondi in 2008 — when he was 36 and she was 59 — but divorced after six years. However, they remained close until his death last year.
But her relationship with Trump shaped her life.
While she rarely badmouthed her baby daddy, she didn’t hold back after cops caught hubby-snatcher Marla Maples cheating on Trump in a late-night frolic with her
bodyguard at a Florida oceanfront park in 1996.
When the news broke, Ivana seethed: “Donald got what he deserved — and it serves him right. She was trash from start to finish. And sometimes I don’t think he’s much better.”