The Fairy-Tale Way Donald Trump and Marla Maples Fell in Love and the Scandalous Affair That Started It All

All the talk about Donald Trump’s marriage to Melania Trump may have you wondering about his other wives. Who were they? How did they meet? What ended it? One marriage you might not know much about is his relationship with Marla Maples. Here’s the fairy-tale way Donald Trump and Marla Maples fell in love and the scandalous affair that started it all.

A chance meeting

Marla Maples smiling as she holds a bag over her shoulder.

He actually got out of his limo to talk to her. | Carlo Allegri

Marla Maples and Donald had crossed paths several times throughout the years. However, the pair formally met one day on New York City’s Madison Avenue. Donald decided not to take his limo that day. When he spotted Marla, he stopped her and asked if he knew her, reported Vanity Fair. “I had seen him at different places throughout the years and just said hello. I was just somebody he shook hands with,” said Maples.

Falling in love

Marla Maples smiling in a white jacket.

They chatted up quite a bit. | Gene Blevins/Getty Images

Maples told New York magazine she met Donald Trump in 1985. Marla said they were both aware they had a connection, but the timing wasn’t right because he was married to Ivana Trump. “We’d spend a lot of time on the telephone with each other without ever being out together in public. By ’88, I knew I truly loved this guy,” Maples said in the New York magazine interview.

Mr. Charm

Marla Maples and Donald Trump being photographed together.

She was smitten with Donald. | Diane Freed/Getty Images

Marla Maples found Donald Trump irresistible. It seems as if she was swept off her feet. Maples said The Donald was a charming man, and she had trouble saying no to him. “I was romanced; I had Mister Charm all over me, and it was very hard to say no. When that man wants something, he’ll stop at nothing to get it. And I also believed in the good of him,” Maples told New York magazine.

Keeping their love a secret

Marla Maples smelling a red rose.

They tried to stash their love affair away from the public. | Craig Barritt/Getty Images

Donald and Marla tried to keep their romance a secret from everyone. They were trying to avoid the media storm that would surely come once it was made known Trump had moved on. However, as time went on, their romance became less of a secret. Vanity Fair reported that by the summer of 1989 Trump moved Marla into his yacht, the Trump Princess.

Marla was forced into hiding

Marla Maples poses for a photo with her daughter Tiffany.

It was then time to go into hiding. | Theo Wargo

Once news broke of the alleged affair and Marla’s identity was revealed, she had to run for cover. The media was thirsty for news and everyone wanted to learn more about Donald’s new love. Many were surprised Donald would risk his 12-year marriage to Ivana, especially after raising three children together. It was reported Marla hid for a week at her friend Larry Russo’s Southampton beach house right after the affair was made public. Marla told New York magazine she even left the country for month, fleeing to Guatemala.

Marla became an instant celebrity

Tiffany Trump and Marla Maples walk through central London.

The affair put her on the map. | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Life changed rapidly for Maples. She became a celebrity almost overnight once her relationship with Donald Trump was revealed. Paparazzi were now following her around and people were coming up to her for autographs. The tabloid magazines and newspaper gossip columns couldn’t get enough of Marla, either. Each day, there was a new headline about their relationship as well as developments concerning his divorce from first wife, Ivana.

The interview

Marla Maples at a fashion show.

She said some surprising things in the interview. | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

About two months after the media frenzy, Marla decided to talk about her relationship with Donald Trump with host Diane Sawyer on ABC’s PrimeTime Live. The former model told Sawyer she wasn’t the reason Trump left Ivana. She also said she had no plans to try to profit from her whirlwind romance with the real estate tycoon.

Love, marriage, and divorce

Tiffany Trump stands at a podium in a blue dress.

Their daughter Tiffany spends more time with Marla than with Donald. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

The couple tied the knot in 1993. Donald and Marla eventually divorced in 1999 after six years of marriage and raising one child together (Tiffany Trump). Maples told Access Hollywood the two were very different and often didn’t see eye-to-eye. “Well, he and I … were so different, as you could probably imagine… I think you always hope in a marriage that you can bring the best out in each other. But after many years, we realized we weren’t,” said Maples.

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