In Zlin, Czechoslovakia, neighbours are giving tours of her humble birthpalce. In Sydney, Australia, her ex-husband is selling his memories for $10,000 per tabloid run. Her onetime ski coach in Czechoslovakia is also asking for bucks to spill secrets. Ladislav Staidi, the brother of former lover, is readying a short film about her for American television, while publishing house Caroll & Graff plans to produce “a very unauthorized biography.” Clearly, after being unceremoniously bounced by billionaire Donald Trump last month, spurned wife Ivana is poised to bounce back. Though she remains in ladylike seclusion, she’s a hot property, and Ivanamania has gripped the globe.
In Washington, society hairdresser Robin Weir, who once coiffed Nancy Reagan, now has Ivana wannabes standing in line. One woman just Shelled out $2,800 to bleach her shorter-than-shoulder-length brown hair and to have extra human hair bonded on to her tresses to get the Trump look. In New York, Ivana’s own colorist, Louis Licari (who bleaches her roots monthly at $75 a shot), has been pelted with request for imitations of Ivana’s “golden blond” mane.
Though the Trumps bowed out of a Revlon “unforgettable couple” ad when the separation was announced, Vogue quickly scheduled a photo session of Ivana alone. And Bob Mackie, who gets a lot of business from Ivana, has loyally nixed the printed suggestion that he design a gown for Alleged Other Woman Maria Maples’s planned April 5 appearance at the opening of Trump’s Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City.
People end up choosing sides in every split, and this one has the sexes split down the middle like a seventh-grade dance. An informal poll in a Palm Beach barber shop showed that 100 percent of the male customers would gladly dump their wives if they only had to shell out 1.5% of their total worth. But women everywhere echo the anonymous socialite who said, “Everybody likes Ivana, but Donald is kind of a pill.” He may own half the earth, but on the popularity front, it’s Ivana’s world.
And a rather strange world it is, too…
Can She Live on $25 Million?
Newly revealed details of the Trumps’ prenuptial agreement (last updated—Merry Christmas!—on Dec. 24, 1987) show that The Donald is willing to give her not only $25 million, plus the 47-room house in Greenwich, Conn., but also $350,000 a year for herself and $100,000 for each of the three children until they turn 21. Ivana gets a free month at the Palm Beach mansion, Mar-a-Lago, each March. If she leaves the three-story, 100-room Trump Tower apartment before the divorce is final, he’ll toss in an extra $4 million.
What Ivana wants, says her lawyer Michael Kennedy is an unspecified bit more: “Her fair share of the jointly earned assets.” Failing that, says Santa Monica lawyer-writer Emily Card, who specializes in the finances of wealthy women, “Ivana will go from unattainable wealth to being a rich person—and not even a very rich person. It’s difficult both psychologically and emotionally.” Can Ivana handle it? Psychologically, yes.
Iron Curtain Ivana
Ivana has known tougher times than these. Born in the factory town of Zlin, the only child of Milos Zelnicek, a construction designer, and Marie, a telephone operator, Ivana is described by childhood friends as “enviably beautiful and hardworking.” At 21, while studying physical education at Charles University in Prague, Ivana was in love with fellow skier Jiri Syrovatka, who helped her arrange a quickie wedding in 1971 to an Austrian friend, Alfred Winklmayr, to get an Austrian passport and a ticket to freedom. “Any girl who wanted to travel did the same thing,” says a Czech source. Syrovatka emigrated to Canada in 1971; Ivana stayed behind to complete her schooling in Prague (she was already earning money as a model). She also had an affair with Bohemian poet Jiri Staidl, who died in a car crash in 1973 with another woman by his side. Right after his funeral, Ivana emigrated to Canada to join Syrovatka. (She also divorced Winklmayr that year. He is now remarried and sells real estate in Sydney.) While working as a model, she met Trump at a Montreal party in 1976. Nine months later, they were married.
Ivana, East Side Matron
At first, the Trumps were mere yuppies. Donald, who took over a $20 million real estate empire from his father, was on the brink of buying his first hotel, and they lived in an eight-room co-op apartment on Fifth Avenue. For seven summers, they rented an East Hampton house from Michael Kennedy, now Ivana’s divorce lawyer. “They walked on the beach holding hands,” says a friend of those early summers. Later, “She would pick blackberries and make her own jams.”
But Ivana’s world was expanding. She bore three babies (Donald once said he wanted six), and Donald Jr., 12, Ivanka, 8, and Eric, 6, are now at three different private schools. Ivana apparently knows how to cook but stopped making fancy sauces in 1979 because, she has said, “Donald only wants steak and potatoes.”
As Donald’s fortunes grew, Ivana’s world got complex and very, very expensive. In 1984 the Trumps bought the Greenwich weekend house for $3.7 million. They would arrive at the waterside retreat in either a stretch limo or red convertible with an IVANA license plate. “This is where they come to lead a normal family life,” says a neighbor. In spite of the presence of three guards and two nannies, “the kids can fish and ride bikes. They go to McDonald’s.”
The next year, while Ivana was commuting to Atlantic City three days a week to manage the Trump Castle, they picked up Mar-a-Lago, the former Marjorie Merriweather Post estate, for $10 million. The quasi-Moorish architectural white elephant, which has 58 bedrooms and 33 baths, requires a million dollars in annual upkeep and a staff of 32 in season. In happier days, says a Palm Beach visitor, “there were children, and a puppy running through the drawing room. The house has a lived-in feeling.”
For a city dwelling, The Donald took the top three floors of his Trump Tower upon its completion in early 1989, polishing it off with an 80-foot living room and a wall-sized waterfall backed with translucent onyx. The apartment is also worth $10 million. In the exercise room, where a satin chaise rests on two-inch-pile carpeting, Ivana receives her personal trainer at 7 A.M. three times a week, at an estimated $100 each visit. She does low-impact aerobics and lifts 11-pound weights to keep her perfect size six.
Afterward she has a cup of herbal tea, and another for lunch with perhaps some soup, unless she’s lunching out. “I like that hungry, mean feeling,” Ivana once told a health magazine.
After dressing and making up (Ivana does her own makeup and never leaves home, or stays home, without it), she works a 10-to-5:30 day at the Trump-owned Plaza Hotel, helps her kids with homework, then eats dinner with them. If she’s going out, she eats twice. “Ivana doesn’t pick and nibble,” says jewelry designer Kenneth Jay Lane.
Executive and Fashion Plate
When The Donald put Ivana in charge of the Plaza in 1988, fashion became her business as well as her pleasure, and not just because she collected all but $1 of her annual salary in dresses. During her first year behind her guarded office door, Ivana persuaded 12 American designers to hold their shows in the hotel. “She makes it easy,” says Boaz Mazor, an Oscar de la Renta exec. “Mr. Trump should keep her there regardless of the separation.”
As a gesture to the American fashion industry, Ivana stopped her Concorde flights to the European shows (where she admits to dropping $25,000 on a single dress) and began to buy American, often at wholesale. At Oscar de la Renta, Mrs. Trump’s gowns now cost an average of $3,500 each, plus $200 an hour for fitting, but she also frequently relies on Victor Costa knockoffs of European designs ($300 plus fabric). Costa has also made dresses to complement various pieces of her jewelry collection, which is more colorful than “important,” a Palm Beach matron advises. “I don’t see her weighed down in a king’s ransom.” Like all those who swirl past society photographers, she can’t wear a gown repeatedly. After a dress appears two or three times, she has said, “I put it to sleep for a year with tissues, or else I give it to my mother to give to my friends in Czechoslovakia.”
Ivana, Raving Beauty
“I never intend to look a day over 28,” Ivana once said, “but it’s going to cost Donald a bundle.” So it’s unlikely she’ll cut corners on personal grooming: Beauty has always been one of her biggest bargaining chips. But with a younger look, Ivana doesn’t need her hair styled as often—once a month, at $75, does it. A bigger expense are her regular exfoliating body peels (an estimated $55), monthly facials ($60), daily massages ($50) and Retin-A ($49 per prescription) to ward off wrinkles.
If Ivana had a surgical makeover last year—which, of course, she has never admitted—common upkeep includes weekly hydrating treatments (about $65 each) and an annual skin peel (around $495). Top-of-the-line makeup is a minimal expense. But mascara isn’t the only thing that enhances her soulful glances: Ivana owns at least two sets of contact lenses that change her greenish brown eyes to azure and emerald. They cost $225 a pair.
Ivana Disports Herself
Ivana give up skiing? Never! A week of skiing in Aspen for Ivana, the kids and the nannies comes to more than $20,000 a week, plus airfare, since she will no longer have the family 727 at her disposal. After the Aspen run-in with the Alleged Other Woman (whom she aptly misaddressed as “Moola”), she may want to take the kids to Austria instead. In March, she’s set at Mar-a-Lago, but in the summer, Ivana might want to rent a chateau in southwest France, which would run $5,000 a week. Most places she goes, she’ll want to bring along at least one security guard, which costs $60,000 a year.
Ivana’s Career Future
“Women who stay home with their children,” Ivana once said, “just stare at the ceiling. Children have lives of their own.” Ivana has never stared at a ceiling, except to contemplate redecoration. She already has a solid, $25,000-a-week invitation to work as lunch and dinner hostess at Frankie and Johnnie’s, a popular but downscale restaurant on Manhattan’s East Side. “It’s a lotta money,” says co-owner Frank Zaravelis, “but she’s got a great personality, and we’re sure she’s gonna fill up the place.”
Celebrity broker Marty Ingels could definitely get her some endorsement work. “She’s ideal for anything that shows strength, like automobiles or credit cards. If the Army were to do a commercial now about women being able to do more, she would be ideal.”
Ivana might earn the biggest bucks, plus push all of The Donald’s buttons, by signing up as a spokesperson for rival Atlantic City casino owner Merv Griffin. Says Griffin: “When can she start?” Since Medea, has ever woman scorned been in better position to exact revenge?
The Last Word
Once Ivana pulls out of her blue period, she owes it to the women of the world to continue the long, hard trek toward the ranks of Living Legends. In no time flat, the 12 years she spent boosting her husband’s career will seem like a blip. Nobody’s worried, least of all Ivana. “When you ski down a mountain 100 miles an hour,” she once said, “you are your own salvation. You must look out for yourself. That’s how I live my life.”
Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.
—Louise Lague, Sue Carswell, Alexander Connock, Karen Schneider in New York City, Linda Marx in Palm Beach, Jonathan Cooper in Prague