Ivana Trump, first wife of former president and one-time Greenwich resident, dies at 73

NEW YORK — Ivana Trump, who formed half of a publicity power couple in the 1980s as the first wife of former President Donald Trump and mother of his oldest children, has died in New York City, her family announced Thursday. She was 73.

“I am very saddened to inform all of those that loved her, of which there are many, that Ivana Trump has passed away at her home in New York City,” Trump posted on Truth Social. “She was a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life. Her pride and joy were her three children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. She was so proud of them, as we were all so proud of her. Rest In Peace, Ivana!”

While they were married, Donald and Ivana Trump owned a waterfront mansion in Greenwich. After their divorce, Ivana was awarded the house which she later sold.

The Trump family also released a statement about Ivana’s death: “It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Ivana Trump. Our mother was an incredible woman — a force in business, a world-class athlete, a radiant beauty, and caring mother and friend. Ivana Trump was a survivor.

“She fled from communism and embraced this country,” the statement continued. “She taught her children about grit and toughness, compassion and determination. She will be dearly missed by her mother, her three children and ten grandchildren.”

The Trumps were a power couple in New York in the 1980s before their equally public, and messy, divorce after Donald Trump met his next wife, Marla Maples. But in recent years, Ivana Trump had been on good terms with her former husband. She wrote in a 2017 book that they spoke about once a week.

Ivana told the New York Post in 2016 that she was both a supporter and adviser to the former president.

“I suggest a few things,” she told the paper. “We speak before and after the appearances and he asks me what I thought.” She said she advised him to “be more calm.”

“But Donald cannot be calm,” she added. “He’s very outspoken. He just says it as it is.”

She was born Ivana Zelnickova in 1949 in the Czechoslovak city of Gottwaldov, the former city of Zlin that just had been renamed by the Communists, who took over the country in 1948. She married Trump, her second husband, in 1977.

Greenwich home

While they were married, Donald and Ivana Trump owned an opulent eight-bedroom mansion at 21 Vista Drive along a private 6-acre peninsula on the waterfront in the Indian Harbor Association in Greenwich.

The home, which at one point was known as The Haroldyn House, was originally built for $200,000 in 1939. It earned the distinction of the largest residential permit issued by Greenwich’s building department that year, according to previous reporting by Greenwich Time.

Donald Trump lived in the home for several years, buying it from the original owners in 1982 for $4 million. When he and his then-wife Ivana first bought the property, they were refurbishing the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, and used many of the same ornate decorations in their home.

The home opens to a three-story rotunda set off by a double staircase and crowned by a grand chandelier.

“Ivana did a lot of renovations,” real estate agent Tamar Lurie, of Coldwell Banker, said when she listed the property for sale in 2015 for $54 million. “Decorwise, it was all gold leaf — all of this was gold leaves all over the place. It was kind of dramatic.”

When the couple divorced in 1991, Ivana was awarded the house, $14 million, and an apartment in Trump Plaza, as well as the use of the mega-mansion Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. for one month a year.

The current owners of 21 Vista Drive, Robert and Suzanne Steinberg, purchased the Greenwich home from Ivana Trump for $15 million in May 1998, according to records on file at Town Hall.

“For 1998, that was a very big sale,” said Lurie, who added the current owners immediately began a massive renovation, which includes a tennis court, as well as a 4,000-square-foot addition, built in 2000.

The Steinbergs listed the home for sale for $54 million in 2015, relisting it a few times at a reduced price over the years. They still own the waterfront property, according to land records.