Over three and a half years into Donald Trump’s presidency, we have learned a great deal about his wife, Melania Trump.
We often see Melania’s parents accompanying her on vacation, and there has been some press on Melania’s sister Ines, with whom she is very close.
But what we just discovered is that Melania also has a brother, a half-brother to be exact, and the first lady has never met him, nor does she want to speak about him. His name is Denis Cigelnjak, and he’s the son of Melania’s father.
Some say that the reason Melania’s marriage to her husband works is that her father, Viktor Knavs, and Donald Trump have quite a few similarities. Knavs was a very successful businessman when he lived in Slovenia. He had a strong pull in politics and the courts, too, which helped put up a front against his biological son. Plus, when people first realized who he was, they couldn’t help but notice the striking resemblance between Knavs and Melania’s husband.
More than 50 years ago, Knavs was working as a driver and had not yet created a name for himself. He met a woman named Marija Cigelnjak, and the two dated briefly in 1964. She got pregnant, and Knavs offered to marry her. However, he took it back and asked her to have an abortion. She did not comply, and things spiraled for the former couple.
When Knavs realized his former girlfriend would not abort the baby, he decided that he would pretend it was not his. He refused to pay child support, and the issue landed him in court. He exploited the details of his sexual relationship with Marija Cigelnjak as a means of justifying why he could not be the father.
Eventually, the court ordered that a blood test be done to determine paternity. It proved that Knavs was Cigelnjak’s father. Knavs was ordered to pay child support, and he fought it but was unsuccessful.
To this day, Knavs has never acknowledged his son. As a result, Cignelnjak and Melania Trump have never met. Cigelnjak is now 54 and resides in a small town in Slovenia where his mother worked for years. In an interview with GQ , Cigelnjak said he does not ever remember meeting his father. His father paid child support until he was 18, but that was it. He claimed he never wanted to disturb the Knavs family, so he never reached out.
Now, he wishes he had reached out, but he feels like it’s too late. He also said he would not mind meeting Donald Trump as well. However, he admitted in an interview that he was not even sure if his sisters knew of his existence. He also made it clear that he was not seeking anything from his own father or the Trumps; he just wants to meet his long lost family.
When Melania Trump was first asked about her brother, she denied knowledge of him. However, when Julia Ioffe, the reporter who conducted the GQ interview , sent court documents Melania Trump’s way, Trump wrote to her and admitted she was aware of this. “I’ve known about this for years,” she said. However, there was no indication that she was ready to meet her brother or that she wanted to meet him.
When Ioffe pushed further, Trump said, “My father is a private individual. Please respect his privacy.”
From Cigelnjak’s side, he was happy when Donald Trump won the election; he was happy for his sister. But Trump has never had much to say about her estranged brother…neither good nor bad.