Inside Melania Trump's relationship with Ivanka

Most people know that Melania Trump is Donald Trump's third wife — what they may not be aware of is that the couple has been together for over 20 years, making this the longest union Trump has had, per Insider. The perhaps-unlikely couple met in 1998 when then Melania Knauss was just 25 years old, but they would not wed until 2005. Consider that at the time, Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka was in her early 20s. According to E! Online, that places the two women just 11 years apart. 

E! Online notes Melania Trump and Ivanka seemingly have plenty in common on the surface: They are poised, fashionable, and of course, they share a large family. By many accounts, the women enjoy a very good relationship. But other sources contend there is enough tension between the First Lady and Trump's oldest daughter to cut with a knife. The truth is only Melania Trump and Ivanka know for sure.

A new book says Melania Trump clashed with Ivanka when Donald Trump became President

In the tome The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump, which was published in June of this year, author Mary Jordan claims the election turned the tide on the women's once-good relationship. The problem, allegedly, stems from the fact that Melania is not as comfortable in the spotlight as her stepdaughter clearly is (via The Washington Post). One source said about Melania, "At the core, I think she's a private person who's spent a lot of time adjusting to public life."

The book notes that Trump's wife stayed in New York with their son Barron when Donald moved to the White House after the election. Meanwhile, his daughter Ivanka was ready to get involved right away in Washington. According to the controversial book, in Melania's absence, Ivanka went so far as to suggest renaming the "First Lady's Office" the "First Family Office." Allegedly, Melania was not a fan of this unconventional idea.

Meanwhile, a year before the book was written, a source told CNN that White House life might be putting stress on the stepmother and stepdaughter relationship, saying the two women are "cordial, but not close."

Inside sources deny there is tension between Melania Trump and Ivanka

A spokeswoman for Melania Trump, Stephanie Grisham, counters rumors the two ladies are not close, saying they "always shared a close relationship and still do today." But CNN contends it is possible Ivanka and Melania's roles as highly-visual presidential family members places them in natural competition. After all, Ivanka has always played a key part in her father's businesses, long before he became the leader of the free world. Once Donald Trump moved into the White House, his eldest daughter was appointed as a senior advisor, per CNN. 

But Grisham clarified no one is confused about the separate roles of First Lady and in Ivanka's case, a West Wing advisor: "The office of the first lady is focused on her initiatives and works independently, but we often collaborate on a variety of projects with the West Wing and have a very positive working relationship" (via The New York Times). Separately, a White House official told The Times, "The first lady and Ivanka have a great relationship. As strong independent women, each has their own unique portfolio but they always support each [other] personally and professionally."

What Melania Trump and Ivanka say in their own words

Rumors can abound, but it's worth considering what the women have actually said about one another in their own words. Here is what Ivanka wrote in the dedication to her 2009 book, The Trump Card, about her stepmom: "To Melania: Thank you for your continued support and encouragement." She also told People in 2016, "Melania is an unbelievable mother." The mom of three went on to tell the outlet, "It's a really remarkable thing and she's a great inspiration to me as I raise my own children in terms of family first and having the right priorities." Ivanka also added, "Melania is very smart, she's very warm, she's got an incredible heart."

Meanwhile, Melania is not as free with the interviews, seemingly. But it is worth noting most of what has been said about her relationship with Ivanka is completely unconfirmed. As Grisham told Vanity Fair about Jordan's book, it's "yet another book about Mrs. Trump with false information and sources. This book belongs in the fiction genre."

Of course, no matter what is written or said, some will contend Melania Trump and Ivanka despise one another. Perhaps we will never know the real story.