Melania Trump

First Lady of the United States (2017–2021), model, and businesswoman

Melanija Knavs Trump (born April 26, 1970)[1][2] is a Slovenian-American socialite, model and businesswoman. She was also the first lady of the United States from 2017 to 2021 as the wife of the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump.[3][4]

Melania Trump
Official portrait, April 2017
First Lady of the United States
In role
January 20, 2017 – January 20, 2021
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byMichelle Obama
Succeeded byJill Biden
Personal details
Melanija Knavs

(1970-04-26) April 26, 1970 (age 54)
Novo Mesto, Slovenia
Citizenship United States
since 2006
Nationality Slovenia
Political partyRepublican
(m. 2022)
ChildrenBarron Trump
RelativesTrump family
EducationUniversity of Ljubljana
(no degree)
  • socialite
  • model
  • businesswoman

Melania Trump's Farewell Address from the White House
Recorded January 18, 2021

She grew up in Slovenia (then Yugoslavia). She worked as a fashion model through agencies in the European fashion capitals of Milan and Paris. After that, she moved to New York City in 1996. She was associated with Irene Marie Models and Trump Model Management.[5]

In 2005, she married the real estate developer and TV personality Donald Trump. She gave birth to their son Barron in March 2006. Later that year, she became a naturalized American citizen.[6] She is the second immigrant woman after former Louisa Adams and the first non-native English speaker to become first lady.[7]

After her husband's presidency ended, historians have consistently ranked Trump as one the worst first ladies in American history.[8][9][10][11]



Early life, family and education


Melanija Knavs was born in Novo Mesto, Slovenia on April 26, 1970. Her father, Viktor Knavs was from the nearby town of Radeče. He managed car and motorcycle dealerships for a state-owned vehicle manufacturer. Her mother Amalija Ulčnik Knavs, came from the village of Raka. She worked as a patternmaker at the children's clothing manufacturer Jutranjka in Sevnica.

As a child, Knavs and other children of workers at the factory participated in fashion shows that featured children's clothing. She has an older sister, Ines Knauss, who is an artist. She has an older half-brother who she reportedly has never met from her father's previous relationship.

When Knavs was a teenager, she moved with her family to a two-story house in Sevnica. As a high-school student, she lived in a high-rise apartment in Ljubljana. She attended the Secondary School of Design and Photography in the city. She studied architecture and design at the University of Ljubljana for one year before she dropped out.

Relationship with Donald Trump, marriage, and children


In September 1998, Knavs met real estate mogul Donald Trump at a party. The couple began dating while the latter was in the process of divorcing his second wife, Marla Maples. The divorce was finalized in 1999. In 1999, the couple gained attention after a lewd interview with shock jock Howard Stern on his show.

The two became engaged in 2004. On January 22, 2005, they married in an Anglican service at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida. There was a reception in the ballroom at her husband's Mar-a-Lago estate.[12]

On March 20, 2006, Trump gave birth to their son, Barron William Trump. She chose his middle name and her husband chose his first name. She also has four stepchildren, stepsons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump and stepdaughters Ivanka Trump and Tiffany Trump.

2016 United States presidential election

Trump gives a thumbs up while speaking at a campaign event in 2015.

In 2016, Trump told CNN her focus as first lady would be to help women and children. She also said she would combat cyberbullying, especially among children.[13]

On July 18, 2016, Trump gave a speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Trump was later accused of plagiarizing Michelle Obama's speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[14][15][16]

First Lady, 2017–2021

Trump alongside her husband as he takes the presidential oath of office.

Trump became the first lady of the United States when her husband inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on January 20, 2017.[17] As first lady, Trump focused on spending time meeting with children all over the world while in classrooms, hospitals, care facilities, at home in the White House, and in communities worldwide.

She met with leaders in technology and social media companies to raise awareness of resources available to protect children. She traveled to military bases domestically and overseas, including Iraq in 2018.

Trump also worked with Second Lady Karen Pence in expanding the American Red Cross Comfort Kit program to include deployed United States troops who are stationed away from home during the holidays.

In the summer of 2020, Trump honored the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and the women’s suffrage movement. She hosted a children’s art competition that showed drawings of people, objects, and events that hold a significant meaning to the women’s suffrage movement.

Trump also sent care packages and donated lunches to hospitals, local law enforcement officers, foster care facilities, and others who fought the Coronavirus disease.[18]

Be Best campaign

Trump officially launching her Be Best Initiative.

In May 2018, Trump formally started the Be Best public awareness campaign. It focused on issues such as, social and emotional health of children, online safety, and fighting opioid abuse and cyberbullying.

In October 2018, Trump took a solo international trip to Africa, visiting Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Egypt, hospitals, schools, and USAID programs benefiting children. She went on international trips with the president and met with more than 30 foreign diplomats, heads of state, and their spouses to share solutions to issues impacting children around the world.[19]

Personal life

Melania Trump with Pope Francis, the Vatican, May 2017



When Trump and her husband visited Vatican City in May 2017, she identified as Catholic. She was the first Catholic to live in the White House since John F. Kennedy an was the second Catholic first lady after Jacqueline Kennedy.[20][21]


  1. "Melania Trump". WHHA (en-US). Retrieved 2023-02-22.
  2. "Melania Trump - Age, Life & Facts". Biography. 2021-04-14. Retrieved 2023-02-22.
  3. "Melania Trump". The White House. Retrieved 2023-02-22.
  4. "Melania Trump – The White House". Retrieved 2023-02-22.
  5. "Melania Trump - Age, Life & Facts". Biography. 2021-04-14. Retrieved 2023-02-22.
  6. "Melania Trump – The White House". Retrieved 2023-02-22.
  7. "Melania Trump". WHHA (en-US). Retrieved 2023-02-22.
  8. Stook, Sarah (2022-09-21). "Ranking the First Ladies". Elections Daily. Retrieved 2024-03-03.
  9. Stook, Sarah (2023-04-12). "A Full Ranking of First Ladies". Elections Daily. Retrieved 2024-03-03.
  10. "First Ladies Study" (PDF). Siena College Research Institute. Retrieved March 3, 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. Nast, Condé (2021-01-24). "Melania Trump Is America's Least Popular First Lady In Modern History". Glamour. Retrieved 2024-03-03.
  12. "Melania Trump – The White House". Retrieved 2023-02-22.
  13. Bradner, Eric (November 4, 2016). "Melania Trump: Ending social media bullying would be focus as first lady". CNN. Archived from the original on November 10, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  14. Tumulty, Karen; Costa, Robert; Del Real, Jose (July 19, 2016). "Scrutiny of Melania Trump's speech follows plagiarism allegations". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 20, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  15. Bump, Philip (July 19, 2016). "Melania Trump's speech appears to have cribbed from Michelle Obama's in 2008". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 20, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  16. Haberman, Maggie; Rappeport, Alan; Healy, Patrick (July 19, 2016). "Melania Trump's Speech Bears Striking Similarities to Michelle Obama's in 2008". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 19, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  17. "Melania Trump – The White House". Retrieved 2023-02-22.
  18. "Melania Trump – The White House". Retrieved 2024-02-03.
  19. "Melania Trump – The White House". Retrieved 2024-02-03.
  20. Sieczkowski, Cavan (May 25, 2017). "Melania Trump Will Be The First Catholic To Live At The White House Since JFK". HuffPost. Archived from the original on May 26, 2017. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  21. "US First Lady Melania Trump Is Catholic, Spokeswoman Confirms". The Catholic Herald. May 26, 2017. Archived from the original on May 26, 2017. Retrieved May 26, 2017.

Official websites