Ivana Trump's memoir: Look back at 8 revelations

Ivana Trump published the memoir "Raising Trump" in 2017.

July 14, 2022, 5:44 PM

-- Editor's note: This report was originally published on Oct. 9, 2017 and has been updated.

Ivana Trump, the ex-wife of former President Donald Trump, has died at age 73, the Trump family confirmed Thursday.

In her 2017 memoir, "Raising Trump," Ivana Trump wrote about her children -- Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric -- and her marriage to Donald Trump, which ended in 1992.

PHOTO: The cover of Ivana Trump's new memoir, "Raising Trump."
The cover of Ivana Trump's new memoir, "Raising Trump."
Ivana Trump

The year her book was published, she sat down with ABC News' Amy Robach and reflected on her life journey, from growing up under communist rule in the former Czechoslovakia to marrying a future U.S. president.

In the interview, Ivana Trump said she had a “direct number” to the White House, turned down the U.S. ambassadorship to the Czech Republic and took “full credit” for raising her three children with Donald Trump.

Below are eight key revelations from Ivana Trump during the 2017 interview.

1. She turned down an offer to be a U.S. ambassador.

Ivana Trump said she had no desire to change places with Melania Trump, Donald Trump's current wife, who at the time of the interview was serving alongside her husband as first lady.

"I think for her to be in Washington must be terrible," Ivana Trump said of the then-first lady. "It's better her than me. I would hate Washington."

She continued, "Would I straighten up the White House in 14 days? Absolutely. Can I give the speech for 45 minutes without [a] teleprompter? Absolutely. Can I read a contract? Can I negotiate? Can I entertain? Absolutely. But I would not really like to be there. I like my freedom."

She said that keeping her freedom also meant declining when the president of the Czech Republic wanted her to be the U.S. ambassador.

When asked by Robach what then-president Trump said about the offer, Ivana Trump replied, "Well, Donald called me and he said, 'If you want to take the position, I [will] give it to you.' I said, 'Donald, no. I want my freedom.'"

PHOTO: Ivana and Donald Trump pose together at the Betsey Johnson fashion show in Bryant Park, New York City, circa 1997.
Ivana and Donald Trump pose together at the Betsey Johnson fashion show in Bryant Park, New York City, circa 1997.
Rose Hartman/Getty Images

Speaking of her advice for his presidency, Ivana Trump said, "Sometimes I tell him to just, not to speak that much, and tweet are the tweets. I don't disagree with him because he has so much press against him, so if he says something his words are going to be twisted immediately."

"If he tweets, the whole world can really get his mind and what is his in mind, and he can tell it in his own words."

2. She was 'in charge' of raising her three kids.

When Donald and Ivana Trump divorced in 1992, she told him that when it came to raising their three children together, "There can be only one chef in the kitchen."

"I would go and call Donald, I said, 'Ivanka is going to Chapin, or she's going to go to the Georgetown University. Eric is going to go to Hill School,' and he said, 'OK,'" she recalled. "I was in charge."

PHOTO: Ivana Trump shares a family photo from Eric Trump's sixth birthday party at the Plaza Hotel in New York City in 1990.
Ivana Trump shares a family photo from Eric Trump's sixth birthday party at the Plaza Hotel in New York City in 1990.
Ivana Trump

She continued, "I just told him where they're going to go, and he said, 'OK.' He trusted my judgment, because I know the personality of my kids."

During the formative years of their children's childhoods, Donald Trump was "on the telephone making the deals," she said. She takes "full credit" for raising Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, she added.

PHOTO: Ivana Trump poses with her children at a birthday party circa 1987.
Ivana Trump poses with her children at a birthday party circa 1987.
Ivana Trump

"He was a loving father, don't get me wrong, and he was a good provider, but he was not the father which would take a stroll and go to the Central Park or go play to baseball with them or something," she said, adding, "It was only until they were about 18-years-old [that] he could communicate with them, because he could start to talk business with them.

"Before, he really didn't know what conversation to strike with the little kids."

3. Her divorce from Donald Trump impacted his political career.

Then-President Trump could have accomplished his political ambitions much earlier had it not been for the scandal that engulfed his marriage to Ivana Trump, she said.

"Donald got [a] letter from President Reagan and he said, 'You should run for president,' and that was 20 years ago," she said. "And I think he could do it if there would not be a scandal."

She added, "You know, because every American woman hated him, and every American hated him. There was no way he could run during the scandal time."

PHOTO: Ivana Trump shares a photo from her wedding to Donald Trump in 1977 featuring Fred Trump, Mary Trump, Donald Trump, Ivana Trump, Ivana's father and her aunt, from left to right.
Ivana Trump shares a photo from her wedding to Donald Trump in 1977 featuring Fred Trump, Mary Trump, Donald Trump, Ivana Trump, Ivana's father and her aunt, from left to right.
Ivana Trump

Ivana Trump was married to Trump from 1977 to 1992, when their marriage dissolved amid revelations that he was having an affair with Marla Maples, who later became his second wife.

Ivana Trump has forgiven her former husband, but said she will never forgive Maples, whose affair with her husband was splashed on the New York tabloids.

"I never accepted her apology," Ivana Trump said. "She ruined my family and my marriage."

4. She says Donald Trump gave her 'opportunity.'

When asked whether she believed Donald Trump was sexist, she spoke about her own experience while married to the real estate mogul.

"Donald gave me all the opportunity to go and prove myself," she said. "I built the Commander Hotel. I built the Trump Tower. Then Donald [sent] me to Atlantic City, and I was flying at 8 in the morning after breakfast with the kids to Atlantic City on the helicopter."

She continued, "I think that Donald supports the woman. He loves the woman. Always did. He definitely respected women."

PHOTO: Ivana Trump shares a family photo featuring Don Jr., Donald Trump, herself (from left to right) at the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, in 1978.
Ivana Trump shares a family photo featuring Don Jr., Donald Trump, herself (from left to right) at the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, in 1978.
Ivana Trump

Ivana Trump said she had "not really" spoken to the president about the "Access Hollywood" tape that was released during the presidential campaign. In the 2005 video, Trump, then the star of NBC's "The Apprentice," brags about his ability to grope women because he's "a star."

Shortly after the recording was released in October 2016, Trump apologized in a video statement and then, during a CNN presidential debate, Trump told moderator Anderson Cooper, that it was "locker room talk." "I’m not proud of it," he said. :" apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk."

Ivana Trump said of her former husband, "He was not really disrespectful. He just jokes. Sometime he said things which are silly."

When asked by Robach whether she thought he was joking about grabbing women, Ivana Trump added, "OK, well, that was one instance, and I just wouldn't, I don't want to go into it."

5. She believed her daughter could also be president.

Ivana said she could see both her daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her son-in-law, Jared Kushner, becoming future presidents. They served at the time of the interview as senior advisers in the Trump White House.

"I think they both could do it," she said of her daughter and Kushner, who moved their three children to Washington, D.C., from New York.

"[The] only thing which I regret [is] that Ivanka moved to Washington, so I don't see the grandkids that often, I don't see her that often," she said. "But everything else they do, it's their destination, you know. They do what they want to do and, like I said, they don't cheat, steal and lie and as long as they do that, it's OK with me."

PHOTO: Ivanka Trump with her husband Jared Kushner and their children arrive at Morristown municipal airport, N.J., to spend a weekend with President Donald Trump in Bedminster, Sept. 15, 2017.
Ivanka Trump with her husband Jared Kushner and their children arrive at Morristown municipal airport, N.J., to spend a weekend with President Donald Trump in Bedminster, Sept. 15, 2017.
Yuri Gripas/Reuters

Ivana Trump revealed she thought it was her daughter who could best voice a difference of opinion to the president.

"Oh, absolutely. Ivanka is number one," she said. "All my kids are, you know, they're not afraid of him. A lot of people, they're afraid to criticize him and they sort of stay behind. But my kids tell him exactly, you know, how they feel, and you take it or leave it."

6. Marrying into the Trump family was not intimidating.

Ivana Trump said she was taken by Donald Trump's looks and his mind when they met in the 1970s.

When it came time to propose, she said Donald Trump tried to woo her beforehand by warning her of what her life would be without him.

"For months before, you know, he said, 'If you're not going to go marry me, you're going to ruin your life,'" she recalled.

PHOTO: Ivana Trump shares a photo from the weekend that she met Donald Trump for the first time in New York in 1976.
Ivana Trump shares a photo from the weekend that she met Donald Trump for the first time in New York in 1976.
Ivana Trump

The couple wed in what Ivana Trump described as a wedding with six of her friends from Montreal, where she lived before the nuptials, and 600 people from New York.

"I did not know anybody," she said.

Once she was a Trump, Ivana encountered the patriarch of the family, her husband’s father, real estate developer Fred Trump.

"Fred Trump was [a] really brutal father," she said. "We went to Tavern on the Green for the brunch one Sunday and [Trump’s] father ordered a steak. So all the, you know, the sisters and brothers, they ordered a steak."

"And I said, 'Waiter, can I have a filet of sole? And Fred looked up at the waitress and, 'No, she's going to have a steak.' I look up at the waiter, I said, 'No, Ivana is going to have a filet of sole,' -- because if I would let him just [roll] right over me, it would be all my life and I would not allowed it."

7. Donald Trump worried his son could be a 'loser.'

When Ivana Trump was pregnant with the couple's first child, she said her husband told her they could not name their son Donald Trump Jr. because of a specific concern.

"I said, 'Why not?'" she recalled. "He said, 'How about if he's a loser?'"

She continued, "So I said, 'This is going to be what it is. I carry my kid for nine months, and this is what's going to be. And the same was with Ivanka. He wanted to call Ivanka Tiffany, because we got the heir rights for the Trump Tower from [luxury retailer] Tiffany."

PHOTO: Donald Trump, right, standing with his son Donald Trump Jr. after the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., July 10, 2017.
Donald Trump, right, standing with his son Donald Trump Jr. after the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., July 10, 2017.
Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Donald and Ivana Trump named their only daughter Ivanka. Donald Trump would go onto have another daughter, named Tiffany, with Maples.

Donald and Ivana Trump's oldest son, 44-year-old Donald Trump, Jr., would go on to join the family's real estate business and also supported his father in his two presidential campaigns.

Donald Trump Jr., found himself at the center of a political firestorm involving his father's presidency in 2017 when it was revealed that he met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In a television interview after the meeting was made public, Donald Trump Jr., admitted the situation may have been mishandled, but he said that the meeting was "a nothing."

8. Ivana Trump's children and former husband did not read her memoir before it was published.

Ivana Trump said her three children had not yet read "Raising Trump," though they each contributed writings. Donald Trump had also not read the book, she said.

"It's about my life and raising my kids," she explained. "And he's in the book because he was father of the kids, but I did not ask him for permission."

ABC News' John Santucci and Jennifer Pereira contributed to this report.

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