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But much remained unfinished. Trump described the library as "very rich and traditional," but the shelves were still empty. "We have to buy a lot of books," he said. "I really respect books." And of the bare walls: "We have great art too."
Now, with the apartment only weeks away from completion -- the main thing still missing is the park to be built on the roof -- Trump is pleased with his creation. "You will not believe this," he says as he leads the same reporter through the door. And it is true: even Judith Krantz would find it a little hard to believe. Even Liberace. If anyone would like a living room 80 ft. long, Trump now has one. With bronze-edged floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Central Park. And a 12-ft. waterfall set against a backdrop of translucent onyx.
"There has never been anything like this built in 400 years," says Trump (he is thinking of the Vatican, ignoring, say, the Palace of Versailles) as he points to the hand-carved marble columns and the walls lined in Italian gold onyx and the ceiling moldings of 23-karat gold. When his eyes rise to that ceiling, where various mythological heroes have been painted "in the Michelangelo style," Trump feels himself a Medici. "If this were on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel," he says, "it would be very much in place in terms of quality. This is really what you call talent, more talent than the schmucks who go around throwing paint on the canvas."
Sharing in all this domestic magnificence is Trump's wife Ivana, 38, a svelte and highly polished blond who runs the Plaza Hotel for what Trump has described as "a salary of $1 a year and all the dresses she wants." Ivana was raised in Czechoslovakia, the child of an electrical engineer, and she liked to engage in ski races. "Sports gave me the competitiveness and discipline that have been important for my success," she says. After graduating from Charles University in Prague, she moved to Canada and became a model.
"We met at the Montreal Summer Olympic Games in 1976," Trump recalls. "I'd dated a lot of different women by then, but I'd never gotten seriously involved with any of them. Ivana wasn't someone you dated casually. Ten months later, in April 1977, we were married." They were married, incidentally, by Norman Vincent Peale, the prophet of Positive Thinking, and then Trump put his bride right to work supervising the interior decor for all his projects. (There are also three children, Donald Jr., 11, Ivanka, 7, and Eric, 5.)
Some of Ivana's ideas of decoration were a little odd, like sending to London for fur hats to bring a touch of Buckingham Palace to the doormen at Trump Tower. But she worked hard, and the Donald, as she sometimes calls him, kept giving her new responsibilities. When she ran his Atlantic City casinos, she was the boss of 4,000 people. "I run my operations like a family business," she says. "I sign every check, every receipt. I'm not tough, but I'm strong. You can't be a pussycat." This was, in a way, a necessity. "If Donald was married to a lady who didn't work and make certain contributions," Ivana says, "he would be gone." And as an afterthought: "Show me success without ego."