Ivana Trump's Ex-husband Opening a Pizza Place Near Mar-a-Lago
CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 3/6/2017, 6:48 a.m.
By Betsy Klein
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- President Donald Trump has a modern American family tree: a wife, five children from three marriages, two daughters-in-law and a son-in-law, eight grandchildren and two ex-wives.
Family is important to Trump -- made obvious his clan's frequent presence on the campaign trail, his sons Eric and Donald Jr.'s control of the Trump Organization and his daughter Ivanka's and son-in-law Jared Kushner's playing key roles in the West Wing.
And then there's Rossano Rubicondi, the Italian ex-husband of ex-wife Ivana Trump (one of four), who is launching a pizza place less than four miles from Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
Rubicondi met Trump's first wife and the mother of Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric, during the 2004 taping of "Ivana Young Man," a reality special that ultimately aired on Oxygen in 2006. They began dating.
Now, he's hoping to capitalize on the Trump family's connection to media and television with his own reality show about running the pizza business, currently under development.
In April 2008, Rubicondi, then 35, and Ivana, then 59, married at Mar-a-Lago in a lavish "Midsummer Night's Dream"-themed ceremony that included a 12-foot-tall wedding cake flown in from Germany, People magazine reported. Donald Trump attended the wedding, which was officiated by his sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry.
But the marriage was short-lived; Trump and Rubicondi separated months later, in December 2008, although they have continued to see each other.
In April, she told the New York Post she has three boyfriends and does not plan to marry again.
"If you are a married woman, you usually follow what the man wants to do. I can do whatever what I want," she told the Post. "I'm not getting married again. But I like companions."
Rubicondi is still a companion of Trump's, and he very much considers himself part of the extended Trump family.
He says he still has a relationship with the President, and he speaks with Trump on occasion.
"If I have something important to say, yes," Rubicondi said, adding that he saw the President in Washington after the inauguration.
The White House declined to comment on Rubicondi.
Born in Rome, Rubicondi was an entrepreneur long before he got the idea to open "Rossano To Go," a fast-casual takeaway, near Mar-a-Lago, where the President has spent four weekends since assuming office.
Rubicondi has been in the United States for 20 years, lately splitting his time between Palm Beach, New York and Europe. He has a visa, but says he has no intention of becoming an American citizen.
Rubicondi described his relationship with the Trump family as "nice," adding that he hasn't spent time with Don Jr., Ivanka, or Eric recently, but he and Ivana get together "when we can."
Rubicondi also occasionally drops by Mar-a-Lago with Ivana, noting that his name is emblazoned on a plaque at its tennis club from a 2008 tournament victory.
Asked whether he is concerned that a connection to Trump could be bad for his burgeoning business given Ivanka Trump's brand losing business at Nordstrom and other retailers, Rubicondi shrugged.
"I'm not worried," he said. "There will be someone on the way that will criticize my operation or will criticize whatever because I'm linked to [the Trumps]. That's part of the reality that we live in today that Donald has become President ... There is not much you can do about it.
To Rubicondi, Ivana is a great source of inspiration to the President.
"They're on the phone all the time during the campaign," he said of his ex-wife and the President. "They're very close, very supportive to each other. They built it. They did it. And they still represent the American dream, regardless if you like it or not, since the '80s."