Melania Trump: Donald Trump’s 2000 Presidential Run Contributed to Brief Split

Unwrapping the mystery that is Melania. Donald Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, showed off a whole new side of herself in an interview with DuJour, from revealing that she stayed at a Holiday Inn on the campaign trail to reminiscing about growing up under communism.

Melania Trump
Melania Trump

The Slovenia-born supermodel, 46, even recalled her early days of dating the billionaire businessman — and their temporary breakup. “When we were dating in 1999, he was thinking about running with the Reform Party,” she told the magazine. Some reports have suggested that the reason they briefly split in 2000 was because he was too focused on his campaign. “That was part of it,” she clarified. “We were apart for a few months, not long. We got back together. He was always thinking about [a presidential run]. But he loved what he did, he had his business.”

Donald Trump and Melania
Donald Trump and Melania in 2000. The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

She quickly became part of Donald’s glamorous world, where stars like Michael Jackson would call them up and invite them to dinner. She recalled chatting with the late King of Pop on the sofas at The Pierre Hotel in NYC, and when Donald left to go check out some artwork in the other room, Jackson proposed a prank. “And Michael said to me, ‘Hey, when Trump comes back, let’s start kissing so he will be jealous!’” Although she gave Jackson a firm ‘no,’ they were both cracking up at the suggestion. “We were laughing so hard,” she said.

Donald and Melania, of course, eventually married in a lavish, star-studded ceremony at their Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago, in 2005. Hillary and Bill Clinton even attended the nuptials, and Melania dished on their wedding faux pas from Trump’s presumptive rival in the upcoming general election. “I don’t think they sent a gift,” she sniffed. “Some people didn’t send gifts.”

Before she became Mrs. Trump and moved into her mansion at NYC’s Trump Tower, she had proudly rented her own one-bedroom apartment with her modeling earnings. “The rent was $2,500 a month. I picked it out, everything on my own,” she said. “I bought furniture. I went to Crate & Barrel. Does that still exist or no?” she mused. (Note: It does!)

Melania came to New York legally at 26 years old for new opportunities after growing up in Slovenia (the former Yugoslavia), which was under Communist rule until 1991. “When you grow up you don’t think, Oh, I’m growing up under Communism. You understand what I mean? You’re just a kid. You go on the bike, you do gymnastics, you enjoy your friends,” she said. She even recalled that at 16, her parents took her and her sister to their first concert to see Elton John in Zagreb, Croatia.

Donald Trump and Melania Trump
Donald Trump and Melania Trump speak to the crowd during a rally February 8, 2016 in Manchester, NH. DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

Now, she’s become the only voice of reason to the presidential hopeful — even when his own kids can’t get through to him. “I give a lot of advice to my husband and tell him how it is and how I see it. I’m not backing off. I tell him the truth,” Melania told DuJour. “After a speech, the kids are calling me—Ivanka, [his] sons—saying, ‘Call dad and tell him this and that. He’s listening to you.’ They know I would talk to him and put him in the right direction. Sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn’t. He will decide what he does.”

The potential first lady also responded to some of the harshest comparisons and criticisms her husband has received. “He’s not Hitler. He wants to help America. He wants to unite people,” she said. “He doesn’t go after religions. He feels like we need to know who’s coming to this country. If not, we don’t have a country.”

While she’s not frequently on the campaign trail because she’s home with their 10-year-old son, Barron, she has made a select few appearances. She traveled to Iowa with Donald in February and revealed that they stayed in a Holiday Inn. “It was kind of a fun experience,” she says. “My husband knows me and how I am. I like beautiful stuff. I live the life. It’s funny when we go and travel. They don’t have five-star hotels there, but you go with it.”

The Slovenian beauty explains that she’s just a normal parent, picking up Barron from school every day, attending his baseball games in Central Park and watching Empire in her spare time. “I don’t allow Xbox before homework is done,” she says of her parenting rules. There’s just one American ritual you won’t find her taking part in: the morning Starbucks run. “I drink coffee, but I don’t drink Starbucks. My son likes it, the what do you call it? The Frappuccino?” she said. 

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