There really is no such thing as a ‘normal’ upbringing, with every family unit different in their own way – however, one family in which any sense of normality is scarcely found is the family of 45th US President Donald Trump.
The son of a real estate mogul, Trump himself was raised within one of New York’s most affluent families, taking the helm of his father’s business and renaming it to The Trump Organization in 1971. In the years following, Trump would become one of America’s most prominent businessmen, making millions of dollars a year from his business endeavours and amassing a vast wealth that ensured his five children – Donald Jr., Eric, Ivanka, Tiffany and Barron – would grow up in luxury that many only dream of.
However, Trump is one of the world’s most famously controversial figures, with scandal having followed the business mogul and reality TV star around long before he made his first moves into the world of politics. There has rarely been a period in the last few decades when Trump – and, by association, the rest of the Trump family – hasn’t been subject to scrutiny by the public and the media.
Given their father’s fame, his children have, themselves, given their fair share of interviews over the years, with their childhood being one of many subjects that they have discussed with reporters on several occasions. So, in the words of his own children, what do we know about life growing up in the house of Trump?
The Beginning Of The Trump Dynasty
One of the most revealing interviews with Trump’s children remains, to this day, the interview granted to New York Magazine by his three eldest.
Speaking to reporter Jonathan Van Meter in 2004, Donald Jr., alongside siblings Ivanka and Eric, revealed plenty about their home life growing up. Aged 26 at the time, Donald Jr. spoke fondly of his childhood years, despite revealing that his parents had been fairly absent for much of them. The three of them were the children of Donald and his first wife, Ivana, who was herself fulfilling major roles within The Trump Organization, meaning that the bulk of the childcare duties were outsourced to the children’s two nannies and to Ivana’s parents, Milos and Maria.
For the most part, the status of their parents doesn’t appear to have bothered them all too much. Donald Jr. spoke of terms at boarding school broken up by summer vacations spent in Prague with Milos and Maria, reminiscing weeks spent fishing, hunting and boating. He says that his grandfather was his source of much of the ‘paternal attention attention that a boy wants and needs’, though Van Meter noted that this was recalled by Donald Jr. ‘without a trace of bitterness’.
From birth, the Trump children had to get used to living their lives within the public eye and being faced regularly with stories about their parents splashed across the front pages of US newspapers. They explained that they had been able to cope with this fairly well until the media storm surrounding their family grew exponentially overnight in 1990.
During a family ski trip to Aspen when Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric were just 12, 8 and 6 respectively, the news broke that their father had been having an affair with actress Marla Maples. This was the beginning of one of the 1990s biggest celebrity stories, as the two became embroiled in a bitter alimony battle that Donald eventually won – it was also the beginning of a difficult period within the children’s lives, as they lost their beloved grandfather Milos, uprooted and moved away from NYC with their mother and saw their father move on with his mistress, Marla Maples.
Marla, who went on to be the children’s first stepmother, then gave birth to their first half-sibling, Tiffany. In the New York Magazine interview, published shortly after Donald’s engagement to his now-wife Melania, the three seemed to hold onto a certain amount of resentment regarding this era of their formative years. They had little to say about Marla – and little to say about Tiffany, too.
The ‘Other’ Trump Heiress
Trump’s 1993 marriage to Marla Maples was short-lived and ended six years later in very much the same way as his first marriage – in a bitter public alimony row.
The story, once again, played out across the pages of tabloid newspapers and glossy magazines, with endless questions asked by reporters regarding who might come out on top, what Ivana might think of it all and whether or not the alimony row was a sign that Trump was in deep financial trouble, amongst other such speculation. However, there were four key figures within the story that seemed to go largely forgotten by the press – Donald Jr., Ivanka, Eric and 6-year-old Tiffany.
Since her childhood and perhaps even more so during her adulthood, Tiffany has been regarded by the press to be the ‘other’ Trump child. Unlike her older siblings and now her younger half-brother Barron, Tiffany was raised away from the Trump household, with her mother relocating to California following the divorce. While Trump may have been distant from the day-to-day lives of his eldest children, he was altogether absent when it came to Tiffany, leading to the now 27-year-old having a famously strained relationship with her father.
Their relationship was challenged further by Trump’s presidential bid and eventual four-year term as the leader of the United States. Press noticed early on that Tiffany was rarely seen out on the campaign trail, with many pointing out that her partner was an outspoken democrat and speculating over whether a difference in political views had put even more strain on their relationship.
One rumour that has followed Tiffany around throughout her life and particularly since her father’s political engagements is that Donald simply doesn’t feel as though Tiffany matches up to her sister Ivanka.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed by the public that Donald and his eldest daughter are obviously very close – the former president came under fire in 2016 after a series of objectively unsettling remarks he’d made about Ivanka resurfaced in the press. These included comments about Ivanka having ‘the best body’, agreeing with radio presenter Howard Stern when he referred to her as ‘a piece of ass’ and famously telling hosts on The View that ‘if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her’.
Granted, we’re sure Tiffany isn’t exactly disappointed that such remarks haven’t been made by her father about her, though it is undeniably just another sign of Donald’s long-rumoured favouritism towards Ivanka. While Tiffany herself and Ivanka do seem to get along on the face of things, sources close to Trump’s youngest daughter have previously described their ‘distant’ relationship and explained that she has previously felt unwelcome at family functions with her father and siblings.
Trump’s Teenage Heir
Following his third marriage to Melania, Trump became a father for the fifth time, this time to now 15-year-old son Barron.
Barron, aged just ten at the beginning of his father’s presidential campaign, has arguably spent more time with the eyes of the world on him than his elder siblings, yet he’s rarely in the news for his own activities – he’s simply in the background while his family take the spotlight.
Perhaps this is why Melania has seemingly taken steps to keep Barron out of public view wherever possible since Trump left office, choosing to split her time between the Trump’s residence in Manhattan and in their home in South Florida, close to where Barron attends school.
With an age gap of 12 years between him and his next-youngest sibling and an age gap of 28 years between himself and eldest sibling Donald Jr. – not to mention being the only Trump sibling who hasn’t found himself at the centre of a bitter, high-profile divorce battle – he’s understandably grown up with very different experiences to his brothers and sisters. However, his early life has been anything but ordinary.
After all, very few people can say they have grown up with a President for a father – on of the world’s most controversial presidents, at that.
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