US President Donald Trump is up against it in the race to the White House, as Democrat rival Joe Biden boasts a commanding lead in the polls. If Mr Biden is victorious on November 3, it will also bring an end to Melania Trump’s tenure as First Lady. The 50-year-old met her real estate mogul husband in 1998, two years after moving to New York, when she was working as a model.
They got married in 2005 – one year later their son Barron was born and Melania became a naturalised US citizen.
However, Melania had an intriguing life and career before meeting the future President.
She was born Melanija Knavs in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, and grew up in Sevnica with her father Viktor, mother Amalija and sister Ines.
Viktor managed car dealerships while Amalija was a patternmaker.
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Melania attended high school in Ljubljana and studied at the university there for one year before dropping out to pursue modelling full-time.
Her ex-boyfriend, Jure Zorcic, met Melania in the summer of 1991 when she was 21 years old.
He said: “We met each other like in a movie. It was a hot summer day, in between wars in Slovenia.
“It was the beginning of a new political era for us, the city was empty, blocked by the army.
Melania and Donald Trump
“I was on my motorbike, and she was walking down the street.
“As I passed by her, I had a moment and thought, ‘Wow, who is this girl? She is so beautiful, I must turn back and follow her.’”
Mr Zorcic explained how he stopped his motorbike and started talking to Melania, before taking her for a coffee.
He said she was wearing “the most fashionable piece” he had ever seen, while referring to a full leather number she wore.
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Melania and Donald Trump
The couple dated for several months and spent summer days by the Croatian sea with friends.
He said: “It was a bit of a shock when I met her. She is very special, that’s the truth.”
Melania is now a style icon, with her looks being imitated by people around the world.
According to Mr Zorcic, speaking to ABC News in 2016, she has always been a very beautiful and fashionable woman.
He said: “I was impressed by her beauty from the very first moment. She was very nicely dressed and her behaviour was classy.
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“She was tall, had long hair across her face, I could hardly see her eyes – such style!”
He added: “She wanted to live abroad, in Italy, France, a life of fashion. She was very fashionable.”
Melania ended up fulfilling this dream – living a jet-set life of a model flying between Paris and Milan for a time.
She eventually decided to move to the US after she met Metropolitan Models co-owner Paolo Zampolli, a friend of her future husband, on a scouting trip in Europe.
When Melania moved to Manhattan, Mr Zampolli arranged for her to share a flat with photographer Matthew Atanian in Zeckendorf Towers in Union Square.
But according to Mr Zorcic, she had no dreams of moving to the Big Apple when she was a young woman.
He said: “I think it was very far from our minds at that time.”
Mr Zorcic said he was surprised when Melania suddenly left Slovenia, saying: “She told me she had an offer with a hair care company, for a campaign – that’s why she left.”
When the pair reunited in 2000, Mr Zorcic said he was taken aback when she spoke to him in English rather than Slovenian.
He told ABC: “I asked her: did you forget that you are Slovenian?
“She told me she spent her time travelling between New York and Fort Lauderdale in Florida and that she would never go back to Slovenia.”
Commenting on her marriage to Mr Trump, Mr Zorcic said he believes it was “fate”.
He said: “Nobody believed 20 years ago that she would live at the top of the world, on Fifth Avenue in Trump Tower – even her!”