First Lady Melania Trump has an older sister, Ines Knauss, who also lives in New York City and has been able to maintain a low profile while her sister has been thrust into the spotlight.
According to the New York Post, the sisters are best friends and the 46-year-old First lady considers Ines, 48, to be a confidant.
“They are very close,” Palm Beach philanthropist Audrey Gruss told the Post, who met Ines in 2005 during a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago. “She struck me as a lovely person, and extremely creative.”
Here’s what you need to know about Melania Trump’s sister, Ines Knauss:
1. Ines Knauss Was Born in the Small Town of Sevnica in Slovenia
Ines Knauss and her sister, Melania, were born as Ines and Melanija Knavs in the small town of Sevnica in Slovenia, according to The Guardian.
Their father, Viktor, was a member of the local Communist Party and was a salesman at a state-owned car dealership, according to a GQ profile. Their mother, Amalija Ulčnik, worked in a factory developing patterns for children’s clothing. Ines posted a photo of their parents on Facebook, which you can see above.
Ines has posted several family photos on her Facebook page, including one from her childhood with Melania. They can be seen in the photo below walking on a runway during a youth fashion show in Slovenia:
Their parents are still alive and living in Slovenia. They also have a half-brother, Denis, whom they have never met, according to GQ.
When asked about him, Melania told the magazine, “I’ve known about this for years. My father is a private individual. Please respect his privacy.”
2. She & Melania Left Slovenia Together in the 1990s to Pursue Careers in Fashion in Milan
Melania and Ines Knauss later moved with their father and motehr to Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital and largest city, the New York Times says.
They attended the university there.
“Melania and her older sister, Ines, also stood out, for their looks, their wardrobe and the makeup they put on whenever they left the apartment,” according to the Times.
Ines Knauss has also had a career in the fashion industry, according to the New York Post. She left Slovenia with Melania in the early 1990s to move to Milan, Italy, where she hoped to be a designer. She has also worked as a model, like her younger sister.
They changed their last name to Knauss, from Knavs.
“She really wanted to be in fashion but didn’t know how to break in,” photographer Ale de Basseville told the Post. “Ines wasn’t like the other girls you would meet there, who behave like queens. She was really polite and very mellow.’
3. She Lives in a $2-Million Park Avenue Apartment Owned by the Trump Organization
Ines Knauss lives in a $2 million one-bedroom Park Avenue apartment owned by the Trump Organization, the New York Post reports.
She has been spotted over the years at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort during fundraisers and other events, but maintains a low profile.
Ines has not spoken out about her sister since she became First Lady. She also didn’t speak out during the presidential campaign.
But she was following along, her Facebook shows, proudly posting photos of Melania alongside Donald Trump, and posting about the results of the Republican primaries and November election.
The First Lady has also been living in Manhattan, in Trump Tower, with her son, Barron, while President Trump lives in the White House.
Melania and Barron plan to move to D.C. after the school year, the Washington Post reports.
4. She Was the Maid of Honor at the First Lady’s Wedding to President Trump
Ines Knauss was the maid of honor at First Lady Melania Trump’s wedding to President Trump, according to People Magazine.
Like her sister, Ines wore a Vera Wang dress during the 2005 ceremony at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
There were no other bridesmaids in Melania’s wedding party.
5. Ines Is Said to be ‘Protective’ of Her Sister & ‘Very Dedicated to Her
According to those who know the sisters, Ines Knauss is said to be “protective” of Melania, the New York Post reports.
She defended her sister on Facebook and Twitter from rumors spread by ex-boyfriends in Slovenia during the election.
“Ines is a very dedicated sister,” fashion designer Luisa Beccaria told the Post. He said he saw the family support Melania gets from Ines after Barron Trump was born in 2006.
“I realized that Melania was very close to her family when I saw them all there supporting her after Barron’s birth,” Becarria told the Post. “Melania had all the professional help she needed at that point, but it was her sister she trusted.”