Stories about people discovering long lost siblings are not uncommon. For Melania Trump, an estranged sibling is all too real. Her seemingly perfect life has a few secrets. Her father’s love child is one of them. Here’s what we know about Trump’s not-so-familial relationship with her brother, Denis Cigelnjak.
She’s the daughter of a wealthy businessman
Some say that the reason Trump’s marriage to her husband works is because her father, Viktor Knavs, and Donald Trump have quite a few similarities. Knavs was a very successful businessman when he lived in Slovenia. He had a strong pull in politics and the courts, too, which helped put up a front against his biological son. Plus, when people first realized who he was, they couldn’t help but notice the striking resemblance between Knavs and Melania’s husband.
Before her parents were married, her father had an affair
More than 50 years ago, Knavs was working as a driver and had not yet created a name for himself. He met a woman named Marija Cigelnjak, and the two dated briefly in 1964. She got pregnant, and Knavs offered to marry her. However, he took it back, and asked her to have an abortion. She did not comply, and things spiraled for the former couple.
Melania’s father denied his son’s existence
When Knavs realized his former girlfriend would not abort the baby, he decided that he would pretend it was not his. He refused to pay child support, and the issue landed him in court. He exploited the details of his sexual relationship with Marija Cigelnjak as a means of justifying why he could not be the father. Eventually, the court ordered that a blood test be done to determine paternity. It proved that Knavs was Cigelnjak’s father. Knavs was ordered to pay child support, and he fought it but was unsuccessful.
Cigelnjak and Trump have never met
To this day, Knavs has never acknowledged his son. As a result, Cignelnjak and Trump have never met. Cigelnjak is now 52 and resides in a small town in Slovenia where his mother worked for years. In an interview with GQ, Cigelnjak said he does not ever remember meeting his father. His father paid child support until he was 18, but that was it. He claimed he never wanted to disturb the Knavs family, so he never reached out.
… but he says he does want to meet his sisters
Now, he wishes he had reached out, but he feels like it’s too late. Cigelnjak has two sisters, Trump and Ines Knavs, that he would love to meet. He also said he would not mind meeting Donald Trump as well. However, he admitted in an interview that he was not even sure if his sisters knew of his existence. He also made it clear that he was not seeking anything from his own father or the Trumps; he just wants to meet his long lost family.
At first, Trump said he wasn’t real
When Trump was first asked about her brother, she denied him. However, when Julia Ioffe, the woman who conducted the GQ interview, sent court documents Trump’s way, Trump wrote to her and admitted she was aware of this. “I’ve known about this for years,” she said. However, there was no indication that she was ready to meet her brother or that she wanted to meet him.
… but she blamed her father’s ‘private life’ for the reason she denied it
When Ioffe pushed further, Trump said, “My father is a private individual. Please respect his privacy.” Since then, articles have come out about the suspiciously silent past that Melania seems to have rid herself from. Her sister stays out of the spotlight, and for years her brother was nowhere to be found. From Cigelnjak’s side, he was happy when Donald Trump won the election; he was happy for his sister. But Trump has never had much to say about her estranged brother; neither good nor bad.
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