They exit and the lunch crowd rises as one to watch from the deck. “He clicks into his skis and you could tell that she’s looking at him, like, ‘Really? You’re going to try to ski away from me?’ ” He tries, but she is fast on his tail. Back at the Little Nell, Ivana hurls her husband’s clothes and Rolex watch out of the windows of their suite and into the snow.
Next comes the unthinkable, at least for Trump. Everyone seems to side with her.
If the new tabloid media is born with the Trump divorce, it grows through the all-access rise of the new Ivana. “She’s exactly like Donald in that way,” someone tells writer Bob Colacello for his 1992 VF story. “They live for publicity. It’s like a drug for them. A lady getting a divorce—a lady—doesn’t get photographed for getting a divorce…. Ivana did the cover of Vogue!”
Trailed by paparazzi and Trump’s “killer lawyers” in the midst of her bloody divorce, she rushes breathlessly into the studio of the photographer Patrick Demarchelier, who is waiting alongside famed hairstylist Maury Hopson, makeup artist Vincent Longo, and creative director André Leon Talley—all gathered to style and shoot Ivana for the May 1990 cover of Vogue.
Hopson knows Ivana’s hair. Everyone does. It’s been emblazoned on the cover of every tabloid for weeks: blond and worn down in the “teased flip” favored by the East Side ladies of the day. As Ivana sits before the mirror, Hopson grabs a handful of her lustrous blond hair and holds it aloft, letting some of her blond tendrils fall down around her face. “We all looked in the mirror and agreed, Well, that’s it.” In that moment, Ivana Trump’s famous new hairstyle is born. Soon it will be imitated worldwide.
“You don’t have to put down the second name,” she commands a writer for The New York Times. “Ivana is what the people call me…. They say, ‘Hi, Ivana! ”
The name becomes emblematic for women around the world who love her because she won. She and her legal team go to war over the $25 million stipulated in Cohn’s prenup, fighting Trump’s fire with fire. In a deposition, she states that Trump, infuriated over a scalp reduction, raped her in 1989. (Trump repeatedly denies the allegations. Later, when the deposition is referenced in the book Lost Tycoon by Harry Hurt III, the publisher will insert a statement by Ivana at the beginning saying that it wasn’t rape in “a literal or criminal sense.”)
When she walks away with both her millions and sole custody of her three kids, the crowds cheer. Best of all, her rise is concurrent with Trump’s early-’90s financial decline and the bust-up of his marriage to Maples after six years. Ivana launches two companies: Ivana Inc. sells “my books, advice columns, commercials, appearances, and lectures,” and House of Ivana handles her fragrances, clothes, and jewelry.
The TV studio lights beat down upon her now famous hairstyle as she butchers the King’s English and sells a king’s ransom in downmarket clothes and costume jewelry to Home Shopping Network viewers in the US, UK, and Canada. “Ahb-so-LUTE-ly fahn-TAS-tic!” she seems to say of each and every item, from the $49.95 hoop earrings to the $280 Ivana women’s tuxedo that smashes HSN records.
“If you went down the street with her, I guarantee you that women of all sizes will stop and say, ‘Look how good I look! I’m wearing your jacket!’ ” says her friend Vivian Serota.
Ivana is now a mogul in her own right, spending money as fast as she makes it. She buys her seven-story town house on East 64th Street in 1992. There’s also a 12,000-square-foot hacienda in Palm Beach, which she names Concha Marina (Spanish for seashell), and a 98-foot, four-stateroom yacht, which she christens the MY Ivana (probably with a bottle of Cristal, the bubbly she promotes as its US spokesperson).
One summer day in the late 1990s, Ivana is sunbathing on the bow of the MY Ivana off St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat when a helicopter crashes into the bay. “Let’s go rescue whoever is in there!” Ivana’s captain, Alberto Batani, remembers her telling him. They jump into the tender and race to the scene, where they pull two bobbing pilots into their little rescue boat. Upon regaining their senses, the men look at their swimsuit-clad rescuer and shriek, “Ivana Trump!”
In October 1990, Ivana’s beloved father, Milos, dies of a heart attack. The Donald flies with her to Czechoslovakia for the funeral and tries to win her back, according to Vivian Serota. “On the grave of Milos he said to her, ‘I still love you. I don’t want a divorce. Let’s get back together again.’ ” As for Maples, whom Ivana refers to only as “the showgirl,” he says, “We’ll take care of it.”
“And if she wasn’t so brokenhearted, maybe they would have stayed married,” Serota says.