Amalija Knavs, Melania Trump's Mother, Dead At 78

Former first lady Melania Trump's mother, Amalija Knavs, died at age 78 on January 9, 2024, Melania confirmed. In addition to Melania, she leaves behind another daughter, Ines Knauss. Amalija was reportedly married to Viktor Knavs up until her death. Melania released a statement via X, formerly known as Twitter, announcing the news, saying, "Amalija Knavs was a strong woman who always carried herself with grace, warmth, and dignity. She was entirely devoted to her husband, daughters, grandson, and son-in-law. We will miss her beyond measure and continue to honor and love her legacy." The statement did not confirm the cause of death.

We first learned of Amalija's ill health when an insider explained to Fox News that Melania was a no-show at the Trump family's 2023 Mar-a-Lago Christmas festivities and remained absent from their holiday card because she was spending the holiday with her mother. Former President Donald Trump confirmed the news of her declining health when he addressed the crowd at their 2023 New Year's Eve Bash at Mar-a-Lago. He explained that they wouldn't be graced with Melania's presence because she was in Miami caring for her mother. After sharing that he had spoken to Melania a few moments ago, he continued, "Hopefully, that'll be OK, but it's a tough one, a very tough one" (via X).

Melania Trump and her mother shared a love for fashion

In 1966, Amalija Knavs met her future husband, Viktor Knavs, in their small town of Sevnica in Slovenia. Back then, Viktor served as a mayor's driver and she worked at a children's clothing factory. The couple continued to make ends meet, but things started looking up for them when Viktor got a better job opportunity as a car salesman. 

Speaking to The New York Times, Nena Bedek, a childhood friend of Melania Trump's, offered insight into their family dynamic, "Melania was closer to her mother than her father. Viktor was often away, and [Amalija] and the girls were often alone." It's safe to say Amalija bonded with her daughters over their shared love for fashion. Per GQ, Amalija didn't seem overly affected by the country's dire financial state because she always donned the finest clothes. A close family friend noted that Amalija didn't wear the normal store-bought clothes everyone else did. 

While Melania often drew her dream clothes, her mother made them a reality by using her factory experience to piece them together. Viktor and Amalija first visited the US in 2004 and were granted US citizenship in 2018 due to family-based immigration. Although it's common to spot the Knavs joining the Trumps on their private planes, GQ reported that they stayed close to their homeland by paying yearly visits to Sevnica and retaining the ownership of their first home.