Donald Trump meets first wife Ivana (and we found out where)

The Trump Timeline

Sources linked at end of page.

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Donald Trump meets and starts dating Ivana Zelníčková, a model from the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, a satellite state of the Soviet Union.

In 1971, Zelníčková married her lover’s friend so she could obtain Austrian citizenship and a Western passport. She moved to Canada not long after. Her legal name is Ivana Winklmayr when she meets Trump.


The true story of where, when, and how Donald and Ivana met is hard to find, but public versions of the story agree that the year was 1976.

One version has it that Donald Trump and Ivana Zelnicekova first saw one another across a crowded room in Montreal in 1976, at a reception sponsored by a PR outfit for Olympic athletes. The other version has it that they met the same year in Maxwell’s Plum, a swanky singles bar of the day, where Ivana was eating with several models in town for a Canadian fur fashion show.

In any case, the story goes that Donald was immediately and madly smitten.

New York Daily News

Ivana Trump’s version of the story years later is that they met at a promotional event for the Montreal Olympics, but the event was in New York. Trump says she was there for a modeling gig. Apparently, no one has been able to figure out when that would have been or what the event was… until now.

Trump File cross-referenced the New York Times archives with other events related to Ivana Trump in the 1970s. One June 7, 1976, event in New York City stood out.

Will they wear their old Valentinos to see the designer’s new collection? You’ll find out tonight when Eunice Shriver and her sister Patricia Lawford arrive at the Pierre for the dinner and fashion show in the Cotillion Room for the Committee for Special Olympics in Italy and South America, newest chapter of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation.

The New York Times: Future Social Events, May 30, 1976

A fashion show requires models, obviously. The real identifier is that the event was for the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation and that Jackie Kennedy was in attendance. Only a year later, Donald and Ivana rented a guesthouse at one of the Kennedy family’s properties.

Michael Kennedy is Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.’s grandson. Eleanore is his wife.

External Sources

The New York Times – May 30, 1976 (Archived)

New York Daily News (Archived)

CBC (Archived)

Google Books: New York Magazine – Ivana’s New Life

Photo: Unknown

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