Donald Trump is reportedly plotting his return to politics, and that means he and Melania Trump could potentially be headed back to the White House. While no one can be sure how the former first lady felt about leaving, insiders did repeatedly say that she was happy to move out and leave the controversy and headline-making mysteries behind.
The couple’s differing outlook on a life in politics has only served to fuel the rumor mill, which has been reporting trouble in paradise for years. Donald and Melania’s relationship has been closely analyzed, sparking plenty of speculation over how Melania really feels about Donald. There have been numerous moments during Trump’s presidency in which it was easy to assume that the Trumps were having marital trouble (like when she failed to smile during a photo op with her husband or when she publicly refused to hold his hand in 2020), but are they really headed for a split? We take a closer look at why some people think Melania Trump may divorce Donald and whether or not there’s any merit to the speculation.
Melania Trump reportedly reworked her prenup after the 2016 election
Divorce rumors have plagued Melania and Donald Trump for years, and the first murmurs that something was awry began circulating in June 2020. That’s when The Washington Post reporter Mary Jordan published a book titled “The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump,” in which she claimed that the first lady had renegotiated her prenup soon after her husband was elected president.
Remember, following the inauguration, Melania and then-10-year-old Barron remained in New York for five months before joining Donald Trump in the White House in June 2017, per BBC. According to reports, including a November 2016 tweet from NBC News White House Correspondent Kelly O’Donnell, Melania was simply waiting for Barron to finish the school year, but Jordan didn’t buy that excuse. Rather, she claimed that the real reason why Melania remained in New York for so long was that she was busy working on an updated prenup. According to Jordan’s book, Mrs. Trump used her newfound leverage as FLOTUS combined with all of the scandals unearthed by the presidential campaign (like Donald Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood hot mic tape) “to amend her financial arrangement with Trump.” In the book, which was previewed by The Washington Post, Jordan wrote that Melania also “wanted proof in writing that when it came to financial opportunities and inheritance, Barron would be treated as more of an equal to Trump’s oldest three children.” As Jordan claimed, Melania revealed “personal ambition similar to Trump’s.”
Is Melania Trump 'counting the minutes until divorce'?
Omarosa Manigault Newman may have been a “3-time ‘Apprentice’ loser” (via Vox), but that didn’t stop Donald Trump from hiring her at the White House. As CNBC noted, she was “one of Trump’s most prominent African-American supporters during the campaign,” and, per USA Today, she was hired to work “on public outreach as an assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison.”
She put her devotion to the president on full display during an interview with PBS’ “Frontline” (via Variety), saying that “every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump.” But things took a turn in December 2017 when she was fired by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly for “some pretty serious integrity violations” (via Intelligencer). After that, Trump and Newman’s relationship disintegrated as they flung insults at one another. She called him a racist, he called her a “dog,” and, in November 2020, she aimed at his personal life, saying his 15-year marriage would soon be over. Speaking with Daily Mail, she claimed, “Melania is counting every minute until he is out of office and she can divorce.”
It wasn’t the only time Newman went after Donald and Melania’s union. In October 2020, she told British talk show, “Lorraine,” per People, that theirs is “a very strange marriage,” claiming, “what I’ve observed over the last 17 years [is that] sometimes they like each other and other times she’s repulsed by him.”
Melania and Donald Trump's marriage has been dubbed 'transactional'
In September 2020, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Melania Trump’s former friend and adviser, and the author of “Melania and Me,” sat down with BBC to explain why she believes the Trumps married for reasons outside of love. “I do believe it’s a transactional marriage,” Winston Wolkoff proclaimed, saying that while “Donald got arm candy,” Melania got the modeling career of her dreams. “The Vogue cover legitimized Melania, which legitimized Donald as well, and Melania got two dynamic decades,” she continued, adding, “I mean, she was a young model, striving, she didn’t have success yet. She met Donald. She married. She had a son. She became an American citizen. And 10 years after that, she’s the First Lady of the United States,” she said, concluding that the Trump union “was a made-for-TV moment.”
Touching on the same theme, Lady Nadia Essex, a former dating expert on British reality TV show “Celebs Go Dating,” told the Daily Star in February 2021 that it’s “only a matter of time” before Melania and Donald divorce because “there is zero chemistry between them and her body language towards him is very hostile. She clearly does not want to be in his company and often is seen bashing his hand away when he tries to hold hers,” she said, claiming, “I don’t believe either of them are happy in the relationship. I believe they live apart already and are only really married by name.”
Was Melania Trump advised to dump Trump during his impeachment trial?
In January 2021, brand and reputation management expert Eric Schiffer told Daily Star that the future of Melania and Donald Trump’s marriage was likely reliant on what would happen to Donald during and after his second impeachment trial. According to speculation from Schiffer, if Donald were to be slapped with any more charges related to his presidency, it would serve as the “trigger” Melania needed to file for divorce because “an indictment for Melania will be neither cool nor fashionable to her acquired tastes.” He also alleged that Melania’s advisers would likely urge her to “move fast” in order to ensure he could “pay out” the over $150 million that would reportedly be owed to her before his assets were potentially frozen in a legal battle.
Schiffer’s interview was published just days after a number of stories renewed speculation that the couple was indeed headed for divorce. One source told CNN that while Melania slept in the White House bedroom used by presidents and their spouses, “Donald Trump slept in his own bedroom, which was previously a study or den during other administrations.” Also sparking rumors of a split was a viral video of Melania walking away from her husband as soon as they landed in Florida on inauguration day. “That’s a divorce move haha” one Twitter user quipped (via Daily Star) while another wrote, “Melania is totally done. She already quit posing.”
Would Melania Trump choose New York over her husband?
We all know that Melania Trump took her time moving from New York to Washington, D.C. following her husband’s inauguration, and now that the family calls Florida home, could her love of the Big Apple cause a rift between her and Donald Trump? As first lady historian Katherine Jellison told USA Today in November 2020, following Trump’s election loss, Melania was likely trying to “convince her husband to return to New York as their official residence — and continue the kind of life she led before the White House.” But while it was eventually decided that they would set up shop in Florida, CNN noted in December 2020 that the family wasn’t cutting all ties with New York, reporting that Melania spent her time “determining what to put in storage, what goes to Trump’s New York City digs, and what should be tagged for shipment to Mar-a-Lago.”
What’s more, as Nicki Swift previously reported, the president’s 2018 financial disclosure form revealed that his wife had actually purchased a one-bedroom apartment of her own in NYC’s Trump Tower. The unit, 33H, cost a reported $1.49 million and was bought in January 2016 via an entity called “721 33H LLC.” After reviewing property records, The Real Deal confirmed that the condo was sold to Melania by the building’s condominium board, “which typically buys such a unit from the sponsor for use by a live-in superintendent or resident manager.” This would sure make a potential return to New York even easier.
Melania Trump began looking for an office outside Mar-a-Lago
Rumors of Melania and Donald Trump splitting flared up yet again in late January 2021 when it was reported that the former first lady was looking to set up an office outside Mar-a-Lago. According to CNN, Melania decided to “maintain” her anti-online bullying Be Best initiative, and although her staff was working out of the exclusive club, as well as remotely, she was ready for new digs in Palm Springs. As the outlet learned, Melania’s team was comprised of just three people — Hayley D’Antuono (her former director of operations and trip supervisor), Mary “Casey” Finzer (a former “low-level staff assistant in the East Wing office”), and Marcia Kelly, (a formerly “unpaid senior adviser”) — so it’s safe to assume they could easily set up a comfortable HQ at Mar-a-Lago.
It’s why family mediator Louisa Whitney told Daily Star there might be more to the move than meets the eye. “Melania’s wish for a separate office could well be preparatory steps for explaining to Donald that she’d like to separate,” she reasoned, adding, “It can be hard I think for anyone separating to establish themselves as just that person rather than part of a couple.” Relationship expert Tina Wilson agreed, but noted that while Melania was on a mission to “forge her own path,” the move could simply showcase “her strive for independence and freedom” and so, only “time will tell whether this is just for her career or if there is more behind the scenes going on.”
Melania Trump fired off a 'warning shot'
A CNN report critiquing Melania Trump’s post-White House schedule was the last straw for the former first lady. The article, which appeared in February 2021, cited a source claiming that Melania “goes to the spa, has lunch, goes to the spa (again), and has dinner with Donald on the patio. Rinse and repeat. Every day.” The outlet also claimed that Melania was “bitter and chilly” towards her husband for tarnishing her reputation by denouncing election results and refusing to meet Joe Biden for a traditional hand-off of power.
Melania wasn’t having it. Her office took everyone by surprise by tweeting an official response, writing, “Mrs.Trump is no longer First Lady. She is a private citizen, mother, & wife. Sources in this article are not affiliated [with] her nor have insight into her thoughts or daily life.” They added that “CNN’s FLOTUS Correspondent choosing to publish false gossip illustrates the media’s unhealthy obsession.”
British life coach Carole Ann Rice speculated to the Daily Star that Melania likely kept quiet in the past “out of decency and integrity to protect her man who is in the White House,” but now felt free to speak up. “With this ex-toxic friend, [Stephanie Winston Wolkoff], she’s thinking ‘enough is enough now’ … it could also be a warning shot where she could start to get lawyers in on this,” she noted. “This could be her way of nipping it in the bud … and it also warns others to keep away.”
Are Melania and Donald Trump actually the perfect match?
Despite appearances and ongoing rumors of an impending divorce, some believe that Melania and Donald Trump are actually perfect for one another. As Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, told The Washington Post in November 2020, the Trumps wouldn’t divorce because Melania is “very willingly complicit in his schemes and holds his beliefs as her own. Those two deserve each other.” Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Melania’s former friend and author of “Melania and Me,” agreed, telling People that Melania “knows who she married” and noting, “People need to wake up. They are not different.” She added that the Trumps’ bond is a strong one, revealing, “Melania is there for Donald. She is his legitimacy. She tones him down. She is the only one who can tell him how she really feels. And she does,” she added.
In January 2021, the couple celebrated their 16th wedding anniversary on inauguration day, and The Times conceded that a divorce “now seems unlikely.” While one source told the outlet that they’re a good match because “they don’t believe in the lovey-dovey-type stuff,” another noted that “the likelihood is 99.99% they will stay together.” That’s because “she grew up in a pseudo-communist difficult life. When she married, she wanted stability, romantic stability, financial stability, and through it all the one thing still standing is that marriage.” In the end, life coach Carole Ann Rice hit the nail on the head, telling Daily Star, “Only [Melania] and Donald Trump know the truth.”
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