When Donald Met Melania: The Unexpected Ways Trump and Other U.S. Presidents Met Their Future First Ladies

Have you ever wondered how Melania ended up with Donald Trump? What brought the Clintons together? What’s the story behind the presidential couple who has been married for over 70 years?

Here’s how some of the best-known U.S. presidents met their future wives.

Jackie and John F. Kennedy

John F Kennedy and Jackie

The Kennedys met in Washington. | Keystone/Getty Images

John F. Kennedy was a congressman in Washington, D.C. in 1951, where Jackie worked as a political photojournalist for the Washington Times-Herald. Their courtship was short — they were engaged to be married by mid-1953.

Next: This couple met in law school.

Hillary and Bill Clinton

The Clintons met at law school. | Tim Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Both were students together at Yale Law School in the early 1970s. Where one went, the other followed — Hillary stuck around after graduation until Bill finished his degree. He bought a house for them in Arkansas, where they decided to get married.

Next: They fell in love at a school dance.

Barbara and George H.W. Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush poses with his wife Barbara and his brother Bucky in the 1940's.

The Bushes have been married for over 70 years. | /AFP/Getty Images

George H.W. Bush met Barbara at a holiday dance when the two were still teenagers in high school. One of George’s friends introduced them. As of 2018, these two hold the record for the longest-lasting presidential marriage. They wed in January 1945.

Next: He asked her to marry him on their first date.

Lyndon and ‘Lady Bird’ Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson

Johnson proposed to Lady Bird on their first date. | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Lyndon Johnson and his future wife met by chance in 1934, in Texas. At the end of their first breakfast date, he proposed. She made him wait 10 weeks, and many letters and telegrams later, she finally agreed to marry him.

Next: She’d just left an abusive marriage.

Andrew and Rachel Jackson

Rachel Jackson portrait

Rachel Jackson died before her husband took office. | White House Historical Association

The two apparently met in 1788 after Rachel attempted to escape a miserable, likely abusive marriage. They ended up eloping two years after they met, since it was extremely difficult and controversial for a woman to divorce her husband in that era.

Next: He promised to marry her the first day they met.

Richard and Pat Nixon

The Nixons met doing community theater. | Rmm413c via YouTube

Pat and Richard were both auditioning for a production in their local California community theater when they met. He told her that same day that he knew he would marry her, even though they’d just met. They wed in June 1940.

Next: They met by chance in France.

John Quincy and Louisa Adams

louisa adams portrait

Adams met Louisa when they were children. | Office of the President of the United States

When he was 12, John Quincy Adams accompanied his father on a diplomatic mission to Europe. It was there that he met his future wife, Louisa, who was 4 at the time. They would never have crossed paths if he hadn’t traveled overseas.

Next: They were technically cousins.

Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt with their dog

The Roosevelts were cousins. | Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The two are technically fifth cousins, so their family ties brought them together in the early 1900s. Eleanor’s mother wasn’t pleased with their relationship, but the two married anyway. Theodore Roosevelt walked Eleanor, his niece, down the aisle.

Next: Sunday school brought these two together.

Harry and Bess Truman

Harry and Bess Truman (here with daughter Margaret) met in Sunday school. | Central Press/Getty Images

Harry and Bess Truman first met when they were six and five years old, respectively. They were both attending the same Sunday school class at their Missouri church. They eventually married in 1919, after spending most of their school years together.

Next: She was a journalist; he was a politician.

Nancy and Ronald Reagan

The Reagans met at a business dinner. | Ronald Reagan Presidental Library/Getty Image

Ronald and Nancy Reagan first met at a business dinner in 1951. They agreed to get married while dining at one of their favorite restaurants in 1952. She was not his first wife — Reagan was first married to┬áJane Wyman.

Next: They met over cocktails.

Gerald and Betty Ford

The Fords each had different proposal stories. | PBS Newshour via YouTube

We may never know for sure when Gerald Ford actually asked Betty to marry him — the two claim very different accounts. But they first met at a cocktail party in 1947, and officially announced their engagement in 1948.

Next: These two met at a fashion party.

Melania and Donald Trump

Donald Trump and Melania Knauss 2002 NBA Finals

Trump met Melania while on a date with another woman. | Mark Mainz/Getty Images

Trump had already been through two wives before Melania came along. He was actually on a date with another woman when the two met at a fashion show afterparty in 1998. At first, she refused to give him her phone number.

Next: She accidentally saw him through a window.

Calvin and Grace Coolidge

Grace Coolidge fell for her future husband’s quirky habits. | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Maybe you don’t believe in love at first sight, but it worked for Calvin and Grace Coolidge. She spotted him while watering flowers outside the school where she worked. He was standing in front of a boarding house window, shaving while wearing a hat.

Next: She didn’t believe they should date.

Michelle and Barack Obama

Barack and Michelle Obama Inauguration

The Obama were co-workers first. | Ron Sachs/Pool/Getty Images

In the summer of 1989, a recent Harvard Law School graduate shared a Chicago law firm office with a new intern named Barack. Even though Michelle thought dating a co-worker sounded like a terrible idea, she eventually agreed to go out with him.

Next: They grew up together and ended up in the same place after graduation.

Laura and George W. Bush

The Bushes depart the White House in 2009

The Bushes met at a barbecue. | Mike Wilson/AFP/Getty Images

Both Laura and George W. Bush grew up in Midland, Texas, but weren’t officially introduced until 1977. They met at a barbecue because they’d both ended up moving to Houston after graduating high school and lived in the same building.

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