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Part 3: Melania marries The Donald


Melanija knew she wasn’t the only girl Mister Trump was seeing. She knew, from the newspapers, that he was married to a woman named Marla. She also found out that he was very famous—not just the owner of a modeling management company, but a bigtime real estate developer, and something of a celebrity man-about-town.

Melanija wasn’t particularly attracted to Mister Trump, physically. Her type was Hercule: young, well-built and masculine. Mister Trump, by contrast, was not young, and he was fat. Sometimes, at night, after he had finished with her, he would waddle off, naked, to the bathroom, and she would look at him dragging a large, saggy butt behind him, and gag. But she kept her mouth shut and was sweet to him. He was rich; that’s all that counted.

In 1999, when Mister Trump divorced Marla after a scandal in which he had been linked to porn stars, Melanija saw her chance. He was now single. They were together one night, in his pied-a-terre. She’d had a couple dry martinis; Mister Trump, who was a teetotaler, only sipped a diet coke. And he told her: “I’d really like to get married again. Sometimes I feel my age (he was then 53), and I think I should settle down, maybe have another kid or two, and focus on what I really like.”

Melanija and he were curled up in bed. She ran her fingers through his poufy orange hair. “What do you really like, Donald?” she purred.

“Politics.” Now, Melanija had a very jaundiced view of politics. In Slovenia, all politicians were by definition crooked. They stole money from the public purse and put it in secret bank accounts in Switzerland or the Maldives. So she was shocked to hear Mister Trump say he would like to be a politician.

“I’ve always had a thing for politics,” Mister Trump continued. “Politics is really no different than business. In business, you make deals: you figure out your opponent’s weaknesses, and exploit them. And if someone gets in your way, you crush them.”

Melanija liked Mister Trump’s ruthlessness. She was a tough bird herself, but she’d never had the power or money to enforce her will on the world. She’d had to compromise and give in at every turn, and it angered her. Here, by contrast, was a man who never gave in, never gave up, who could afford to nurse grudges and extract vengeance on his enemies. She admired that in him: it was a power she’d heard about but never experienced up-close. And Melanija realized she wanted that same power.

The only way she would ever get it, she realized, was to marry Mister Trump and become Missus Trump: chatelaine, mistress of the castle, arbiter of everything and everyone that came into her orbit. And so she gave herself a fulltime job: make herself indispensable to Mister Trump. Make him fall in love with her. Make him need her so much that he would propose marriage to her. It took her six more years—six long, tortured years, during which she sometimes wondered how much longer she could bear him. But patience was its own reward, and, in January of 2005, Melanija—now officially Melania—and Donald J. Trump were married, in a lavish affair at Mar-a-Lago whose guests included Rudy Giuliani, Barbara Walters, P. Diddy, Heidi Klum, Tony Bennett, and the former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, and his wife, Hillary. Later, in her suite, Melania, in a soft silk nightgown, sat at her armoire and brushed out her long hair, while through the window the palms shushed in the warm Florida night: and she thought, “I am Missus Donald J. Trump. All that I see is mine.” And she smiled before knocking on the door that separated her room from her new husband’s.

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