Socialite Ivana Trump initially gained national recognition as the first wife of billionaire Donald Trump, to whom she was wed from 1977 to 1992. Born Ivana Marie Zelnickova in 1949, she grew up in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia, just south of Prague, and established herself as a champion skier at an early age. After earning her masters in the dual arenas of physical education and languages, Ivana spent a number of years professionally coaching ski racers with then-paramour George Syrovatka in Montréal, Canada, then shifted gears and moved into modeling for the Audrey Morris agency during the 1970s -- a line of work that inadvertently brought her to New York City and introduced her to Donald Trump in 1976. The two married within a year and had three children: Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump.
As Mrs. Trump, Ivana worked for many years as vice president of interior design for the Trump Organization. Following their much-publicized and ballyhooed divorce (an event that occupied an inordinate number of tabloid pages and headlines), she established two of her own companies, Ivana, Inc. and Ivana Haute Couture; graced numerous print advertisements for a plethora of brands; and significantly (like her ex-husband) moved into work as on-camera talent, as the subject of her own Lifetime network biography special, Intimate Portrait: Ivana Trump (2001) and the host of her own reality television special, Ivana Young Man on the Oxygen Channel. The program traveled behind the scenes to witness Trump guiding an affluent young socialite into marriage with the proper suitor.