Ivana Trump's life celebrated at funeral Mass on Upper East Side

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, July 20, 2022
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Ivana Trump was celebrated at a funeral Mass in New York City Wednesday following her death last week, with former President Trump in attendance.

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Ivana Trump, an icon of 1980s style, wealth and excess and a businesswoman who helped her husband build an empire that launched him to the presidency, was celebrated at a funeral Mass in New York City on Wednesday following her death last week.

Former President Donald Trump paid respects to his first wife, joining their three children -- Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric -- and his current wife Melania.

"A very sad day, but at the same time a celebration of a wonderful and beautiful life," the ex-president wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social, before heading to the funeral Mass. "This will not be easy!!!"

Ivana's three children and their families followed the gold-colored coffin into St. Vincent Ferrer Roman Catholic Church on the Upper East Side.

"She was tough, she was strong, but she was an angel to people," former publicist Todd Shapiro said. "The employees loved her. She was ahead of her time."

Tiffany Trump, the daughter of the former president and his second wife, Marla Maples, also attended the service, as did family friends including Jeanine Pirro, co-host of Fox News' "The Five," and Charles Kushner, a real estate developer and the father of Ivanka Trump's husband, Jared Kushner. Fashion designer Dennis Basso, a longtime friend of Ivana Trump's, was also among the mourners.

"She was such a role model to me, because I thought she had it all," mourner Maria Duchon said. "She had intelligence, she had grit, she had charm, she had charisma, she gave energy."

Ivana, 73, died last Thursday inside her Upper East Side home.

The medical examiner determined she died from injuries sustained from falling down the stairs. Her death was ruled accidental.

The Trump family released a statement confirming her death last week.

"It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Ivana Trump," it read. "Our mother was an incredible woman -- a force in business, a world-class athlete, a radiant beauty, and caring mother and friend. Ivana Trump was a survivor. She fled from communism and embraced this country. She taught her children about grit and toughness, compassion and determination. She will be dearly missed by her mother, her three children, and ten grandchildren."

Ivana Trump married Donald Trump in 1977, and though at times she appeared to be overshadowed her celebrity husband, she was very much one-half of the 1980s power couple, serving by his side in the Trump Organization as vice president for interior design.

She also managed the Plaza Hotel, one of the family's top properties.

Their troubled marriage and divorce became the subject of worldwide public interest, as Donald Trump's affair with Marla Maples became public, and their split was finalized in 1992.

Her divorce made her heroine for spurned wives everywhere, garnering her a cameo in the 1996 film "The First Wives Club," where she told the characters, "Don't get mad, get everything."

Ivana Trump married four times, once before Donald and two times after.

Following the divorce, she developed her own lines of clothing, jewelry, and beauty products.

She was the author of several books, the latest called "Raising Trump," and also wrote an advice column.

Before the release of "Raising Trump," she spoke with ABC News and said she still spoke to her former husband about once every two weeks and that she had a "direct number" to the White House.

"I (don't) really want to call him there, because Melania is there," she said at the time, referring to first lady Melania Trump. "And I don't want to cause any kind of jealousy or something like that, because I'm basically first Trump wife. OK? I'm first lady."

The book documented her journey from growing up under Communist rule in former Czechoslovakia to marrying a future U.S. president and raising their three children together.

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