Inside Ivanka Trump's Surprising Bond with Chelsea Clinton: 'Our Friendship Has Never Been About Politics'

The daughter of presidential candidate Donald Trump weighs in on being friends during an "intense" election cycle

Photo: Christian Witkin

In an expansive two-part interview with PEOPLE this week, Ivanka Trump is opening up about balancing her many businesses, raising three children with her husband Jared Kushner, and dealing with the demands of her father Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Despite the chaos of the election that is pitting Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton for the presidency, Ivanka Trump says she and Hillary’s daughter Chelsea Clinton are still friends.

“We are [friendly],” Ivanka tells PEOPLE, before conceding, “There’s certainly tremendous intensity around both of our lives right now.”

Similar in age – Ivanka is 34, Chelsea, 36 – the pair had bonded over the years when their parents were friends. (Clinton was a guest at Trump’s 2005 wedding to Melania.)

As the presidential election heated up, however, tensions threatened to complicate their friendship, when Trump slammed Clinton as the “worst secretary of state in the history of the U.S.” and dubbed her “crooked Hillary” on Twitter. Clinton fought back, telling CNN that Trump “laid out the most dangerous, reckless approach to being president … I think we’ve ever seen.”

As Trump closed in on the Republican nomination in March, he told PEOPLE he and Clinton had only ever been fair-weather friends.

“No we’re really not [friendly anymore],” he told PEOPLE. “I was friendly with her when I was a business person because it was to my advantage to be friendly. When you are in business you have to be friendly with everybody. Republican, Democrat, Secretary of State. But no I haven’t spoken to her in a long time,” he said, adding, “the last person Hillary wants running against her is me because I’m going to beat her.”

But Ivanka says that, counter to what many may think, she and Chelsea have remained close.

“We’re both incredibly supportive of our parents, as we should be,” Ivanka tells PEOPLE. “But we also continue to have great respect for one another.”

Last fall Chelsea told PEOPLE, of her relationship with Ivanka: “Friendship is always more important than politics. I learned that growing up, watching my parents be friends with people across the political spectrum in Arkansas.”

For more from Ivanka, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now

Both new moms – Ivanka has Arabella, 5, Joseph, 2, and Theodore, 3 months and Chelsea has Charlotte, 22 months, and Aiden, 1 month – Ivanka says the pair haven’t seen each other since welcoming their babies this spring, but that they plan to remain friends despite the election.

“Our friendship has never been about politics,” she says. “I don’t expect it will be about politics in the future.”

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