Secrets Behind the Tension-Filled Relationship Between Ivanka Trump and Marla Maples

Ivanka Trump was only 8 years old when her father left her mother, Ivana, for Marla Maples — a scandal of Trump proportions. And Ivanka was fiercely close to her mother during the divorce, which might provide clues as to why there’s no love lost on her end.

Ivanka and Marla have differing views of their relationship, as Marla recalls being close to her stepdaughter Ivanka (page 5). But Ivanka views it differently (page 6). Here’s how their relationship developed over the years.

Marla Maples was the ‘other woman’

Marla Maples and Donald Trump

Marla Maples was Trump’s mistress first. | Diane Freed/Getty Images

During what may have been considered a mid-life crisis, Donald Trump dumped Ivanka’s mother for Marla Maples, Newsweek reported. Not only did Trump leave first wife, Ivana, sources said he was neglecting his three children, Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric. And Ivana was too busy with her children and helping to run the Trump empire to notice that her husband went astray.

Next: The press might have made an uncomfortable situation worse.

Media wanted to know what Ivanka thought of her father’s sex life

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner

She was asked the uncomfortable questions as a child. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

Young Ivanka was asked to comment on a New York Post headline about “the best sex” her father had with Marla, Vanity Fair reported. At the time, Ivanka was only 9 years old and wrote, “One idiot reporter even had the temerity to ask me if Marla Maples’s claims were true. What type of person would ask a nine-year-old girl that kind of question?”

Next: The divorce devastated Ivanka.

The divorce was hard on Ivanka

The divorce was traumatic on the family. | Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images

According to Ivana, Ivanka was crying and upset all the time. Cosmopolitan featured this quote from Ivana, saying, “The children are all wrecks. Ivanka now comes home from school crying, ‘Mommy, does it mean I’m not going to be Ivanka Trump anymore?’ Little Eric asks me, ‘Is it true you are going away and not coming back?'”

Next: The Trump children were a no-show at Donald and Marla’s wedding.

Ivanka did not attend her father’s wedding to Marla

Donald Trump and Marla Maples at their wedding

The Trump children didn’t go to the wedding. | Bob Strong/AFP/Getty Images

Ivanka gained a stepmother but did not attend the wedding, according to Vanity Fair. The children said they preferred to stay at home with their mother rather than attend the nuptials, The New York Daily News reported.

Next: Marla recalled fond memories with Ivanka.

Marla recently posted a throwback photo with the Trump girls

Ivanka Trump, Tiffany Trump, Marla Maples | Marla Maples via Instagram

Marla Maples shared an old photo of her posing with a young Tiffany and her teenage sister Ivanka in Telluride, Colorado. The caption said, “Appreciating moments with these two special girls” along with #sisterlove, The Daily Mail reported. The trio looks happy and carefree in the image, as they were likely on a ski vacation together.

Next: But Ivanka insisted she is not close to Marla.

Ivanka sees her relationship with Marla differently

Ivanka Trump insists the two were never close. | Marla Maples via Instagram

Despite the sunny image Marla posted, Ivanka insists she and Marla are not close. People magazine asked Ivanka whether she and Marla were tight, and she responded, “I’m not. She was out in California and really my relationship is with Tiffany.”

Next: But she maintains a relationship with Tiffany.

Ivanka and Tiffany appear to be close

Tiffany and Ivanka Trump at their father's inauguration

The two appear to be close. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Despite comments about Marla, Ivanka seems to truly love and share a bond with her younger stepsister, Tiffany. Although Tiffany was raised in California, Ivanka told People, “She’s my little sister! I’ve been close to Tiffany her whole life, and I really love her.”

Next: What about Marla and Ivana?

Marla wants to make up

Marla Maples watches a fashion show.

Marla Maple’s apology was not accepted. | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Surprisingly, Marla told People she wants to make up with Ivana. After more than two decades, she is ready to extend an olive branch and make peace with her ex-husband’s first wife. However, Ivana is not ready to let bygones be bygones. “[Marla] asked to apologize to me in the Daily Mail in London. They asked if I accepted the apology and I said no. Why should I? She broke my marriage!” Ivana said to the New York Post.

Next: Time to move on

Ivana has moved on

Ivana Trump gives the 'peace' sign on a red carpet.

She seems very happy now. | Francois Durand/Getty Images

Ivana says she and Donald are now on good terms. She mentioned in a CBS Sunday Morning interview that she and the president speak once a week. She also said she has encouraged him to continue using Twitter. Furthermore, Ivana said she was offered the post of ambassador to the Czech Republic (where she was born) but turned the offer down, saying she already has a perfect life.

Next: What is Ivanka’s relationship like with Melania?

Melania thinks of herself as Ivanka’s friend

Melania Trump sits at a table.

She plays a role in their lives. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Melania revealed a glimpse of how she views her relationship with her stepchildren to Harper’s Bazaar in 2016. “They are grown-up, I don’t see myself as their mother,” she said. “I am their friend, and I’m here when they need me.”

Ivanka thanked Melania for her “support and friendship” in her most recent book, Women Who Work. She also said the first lady had a “heart of gold,” so there is solid evidence that the two are on good terms.

Next: Friends? Not so fast.

They’ve experienced their fair share of tension

Melania Trump, Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump posing together.

Have they always been on good terms? | Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for IMG

According to Vanity Fair, two sources close to Ivanka and Melania in the fashion and media industries “observed a frostiness between the two.” No one elaborated on what could have caused the tension between the two.

Some speculated Ivanka “playing the first lady” during Melania’s absence from the White House could have caused the aforementioned frostiness, while others called Ivanka’s role in the White House a clear obligation.

Next: Melania and Ivanka’s relationship gets labeled as “fine.”

 ‘Their relationship is fine’

Melania and Ivanka Trump at a debate.

They seem to be on good terms. | Rick Wilking/AFP/Getty Images

Another source told Vanity Fair their relationship is “fine.” Melania’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, vouched that “Ivanka and Mrs. Trump have always shared a close relationship, and that continues today.” While we don’t have extensive evidence of the statement, a 2012 Huffington Post blog offered similar insight.

Nicole Bryl, Melania’s former makeup artist, wrote: “All the Trump’s are quite family dedicated actually, they are a seriously close-knit family.”

Next: Here’s what Ivanka has to say about their relationship.

Ivanka has called Melania an ‘inspiration’

Ivanka Trump smiling and clapping her hands.

She looks up to Melania. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Ivanka called Melania “an unbelievable mother” and offered her praise for the first lady’s ability to balance parenting and politics. “It’s pretty uncommon for wives of candidates to not be on the campaign trail every day. And she made a decision I totally respect. … My father’s traveling so frequently, and she is an unbelievably consistent, loving and reliable figure in Barron’s life,” Ivanka told People.

“She takes [Barron] to school every day, picks him up every day. It’s a really remarkable thing and she’s a great inspiration to me as I raise my own children in terms of family first and having the right priorities.”

Next: Here’s the real scoop on their relationship.

It’s probably … complicated

Ivanka Trump standing with Melania Trump.

Things might not always be easy. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Every mother-daughter relationship is multifaceted — sometimes great, sometimes horrible. Factor in two ex-wives, stepchildren, a divisive political climate, and throw it all into the White House, and complicated probably doesn’t even begin to cover it.

We can analyze the official and candid photographs of the two, dissect their every interaction, and keep hoping for a tell-all interview. But, for the time being, “complicated” may be as good an explanation as we can get.

Additional reporting by Sheiresa Ngo and Emma Bleznak.

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