The Tragic Truth About Donald Trump's Ex-Wife Marla Maples

Donald Trump and Marla Maples' ill-fated relationship started on a controversial note and ended contentiously with a nasty and bitter court battle. The couple had been together for two years when Maples fell pregnant with their daughter, Tiffany Trump, something that, by all accounts, Donald was less than thrilled about.

Still, they married in 1993, two months after Tiffany's birth. In 1997, it was Maples' turn to be less than thrilled when Donald announced things were over. The real reason Maples and Donald divorced is clouded in mystery, for the most part. However, Donald offered insight into their marital woes in his book "Trump: The Art of the Comeback." Donald blamed their different priorities in life: Maples wanted to spend time with her husband and daughter, while he preferred hanging out in skyscrapers with his business buddies. "Sadly, like so many couples these days, we drifted apart," he wrote. "Our lifestyles became less and less compatible. We wanted different things."

Donald bounced right back following the split and it was business as usual for the self-professed billionaire. The ink was barely dry on his and Maples' divorce papers when he set his sights on Melania Knauss in 1998. They married in January 2005. Meanwhile, now a single mom, Maples struggled to rebuild her life post-Donald. She moved to California with Tiffany, and unlike her ex-husband, she initially shied away from dating again. This is not surprising, given the tragedies Maples suffered before, during, and after her marriage to The Donald.

Marla was subjected to vicious media attacks

Donald Trump was married to Ivana Trump when he started dating Marla Maples. Despite Donald's marital status, Maples never considered herself a "mistress," but she did regret the hurt caused by their affair. "Do I wish more than anything that we could have had this relationship after the divorce papers were signed? Absolutely. With all my heart," Maples admitted on the podcast "Journeys of Faith with Paula Faris" in December 2018.

Once news broke of Donald and Maples' affair, she found herself splashed on the front cover of every tabloid, with sensationalist and fabricated headlines, such as: "Trump Mistress Close to Suicide" and "How Suite It Was! Secret hotel romps of Donald & Marla." Paparazzi hounded Maples and her family around the clock. Reporters splashed serious cash to dig up dirt from her past. And, because misogyny is still alive and well, Maples was painted as a femme fatale who wrecked Donald's marriage, seemingly without any help from him.

"The media has portrayed Marla as a disorganized shapely bimbo, and that is not what she is," her publicist Chuck Jones told Vanity Fair in November 1990. Jones compared the media assault on Maples to his time serving in Vietnam, claiming, "This was like a war, too — like being in combat again." Meanwhile, Maples couldn't stop gushing about Donald, calling him "a genius, adorable, with a little-boy quality — I mean, he knows when he's being too cute, and he laughs at himself about it."

Marla raised Tiffany as a single mom

Ivana and Donald Trump managed to make peace following their messy break-up, and she remained a constant presence in his life along with their three children, Eric, Ivanka, and Donald Trump Jr. However, it was a totally different story for Marla Maples. After her 1999 divorce from Donald, she became persona non-grata in the Trump inner sanctum.

Maples, determined to start afresh, relocated to Calabasas, California. Despite the irreparable nature of her relationship with Donald, she hoped he would play a significant role in their daughter, Tiffany Trump's life. However, while Donald was generous with child support, his visitations were infrequent. Tiffany remained resilient, though, maintaining occasional contact with her father through infrequent telephone calls and sporadic visits during school breaks, as reported by People.

Tiffany often seems like an afterthought for Donald. In a 2004 interview with New York magazine, he highlighted the close bond he has with Ivanka Trump. But Tiffany? Not so much. "You know, I have another daughter, with Marla, named Tiffany? She's just a beautiful, great kid also," Donald said. "But it's very separate. When you have separate wives, it's sort of... separate." However, Maples is diplomatic when discussing Donald's absenteeism from their daughter's life. "Her daddy loves her, of course, but ... I was the parent," she told US Weekly in April 2016. "I was the parent that was there in the flesh [and] with her all the time."

Maples struggled with loneliness since childhood

Following Marla Maples' divorce from Donald Trump, she never married again. Instead, Maples focused on raising their daughter, Tiffany Trump, away from the Trump family circus. "She moved us out of New York to get out of the spotlight and let me grow up and find my own identity versus being in the shadow of a name or growing up very young with all that pressure," Tiffany told People in July 2016. "So, she wanted me to have a chance to have a normal childhood. As normal as possible. I think that she did well in that."

With Donald a rare presence in Tiffany's life, Maples was the full-time caregiver, and they grew extremely close. So, Maples felt forlorn when Tiffany flew the coop, leaving her mom companionless. However, it turns out that loneliness wasn't a new feeling for Maples; she's struggled with it since childhood.

"I've spent a lot of time alone in my life. Most often a choice," she shared in a December 2021 Instagram post. Maples continued, "I started out the day feeling a bit lonely, so I decided to put 1 foot in front of the other and open my heart to new experiences." The former beauty queen, known for her radiant smile in school, admitted, "Sometimes I would smile out of insecurity or trying to hide an emotional pain." Maples said she combats loneliness by "[opening] my heart to bring forth new love & new manifestations of light."

Marla never got over her love for Donald

When Marla Maples married Donald Trump in 1993, she truly believed they would be together forever. Maples had a religious upbringing; her father was a church deacon, and Bible study was part of everyday life. However, her parents divorced when she was 15, leaving her brokenhearted and fearing for her father's soul. "I told him, 'Dad, the Bible says you shall not inherit the kingdom of God if you divorce,'" Maples told the Tampa Bay Times in August 1990. Ironically, Maples also admitted to condemning a friend for dating a married man because "It's a betrayal. To me, marriage is forever. I had no respect for any man who would ever think of cheating on his wife."

Clearly, Maples had a change of heart regarding betrayal and cheating when she met Donald. However, she remained steadfast in believing that wedded bliss should last forever. "I want my marriage to be solid until the day I die," she told the Times. Unfortunately, life — and Donald — had different plans.

Still, Maples remained committed to Donald even after their divorce was finalized in 1999. In fact, she confessed to Oprah in 2013 that she continued to harbor strong feelings for her ex. "I still love Donald," Maples admitted (via the Daily Mail), confessing she also adored her former step-children too. "We watch 'The Apprentice' and I cry when I see the kids on it. I'm crazy! I'm that emotional person," she disclosed.

Marla was terrorized by a crazed stalker with a shoe fetish

After her marriage to Donald Trump ended, Marla Maples moved to California with their daughter, Tiffany Trump. The divorcée swapped coasts with the hope of living a quieter life, out of the spotlight and away from the grind of Manhattan life. Maples managed to do just that for years, staying out of the media glare and living a regular life — well, as regular as possible for an ex-wife of Donald Trump.

However, everything changed in May 2012 when her former manager/publicist, Chuck Jones, turned bunny boiler and began bombarding Maples with disturbing and threatening emails. "I hope your Easter basket catches fire and burns your house to the ground ... Now shove an egg in your slimy mouth and choke," a criminal complaint alleges he wrote, according to the New York Post. "I hope you choke on an Easter bunny."

It wasn't Jones' first stalker rodeo. He filed a barrage of baseless lawsuits against Maples, and in 1992, he stole 70 pairs of her shoes, claiming at trial that he had a "sexual relationship" with the footwear. Per the New York Daily News, a judge sentenced Jones to 60 days in jail in 2014 and ordered him to steer clear of Maples and Tiffany. "It's time to let go and move on with my life," Jones announced as he exited the court.