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“I believe I have a purpose and that there is a reason we’re together,” she insists. It’s a really good, trusting love.” No wonder her mother, her agent, and her best friend in New York, not to mention Marla herself, all believe that she will become the next Mrs.
Donald Trump.“When you marry Donald, will you keep your own name or be known as Marla Trump?
”“That could become a bit of a point of argumentation,” Marla says. Getting to know Marla Maples is akin to pressing your thumb on an aerosol can and watching mountains of Reddi Wip flow out.
“But, you know, I always promised my daddy I’d keep my name. I said, Daddy, don’t you worry, so I don’t know, maybe Marla Maples Trump.”Can’t help it. Always there is the charming chatter, the winsome eagerness to please—the legacy of growing up Barbie-doll-perfect in the Magnolia Belt, the adored little princess of parents with unrealized dreams.
She had kept herself hidden for a long time (although less and less so since the summer of ‘89, when Trump moved her onto his luxe yacht, the ). Naturally, the response from the tabloids was lightning-quick: “Now the Donald Will Squeeze His Peach in Public,” shouted the . Like the real-estate tycoon who babbled reassuringly to her as she left the tennis stadium, “You know, Donald thinks the world of you, he really does. On the third finger of her left hand she wears a gold Cartier braided band, a present from Donald. Just the sort of talisman to get her through things like the Going to Meet His Parents hurdle.
He thinks you’re just great.” Marla melted him with her big baby blue-greens cast shyly downward, but later she said, “I hate it when these guys start talking to me like that. I have to stand there and hear from him that Donald thinks I’m great. “It was just like going over to my grandparents’—very solid, very relaxed.” Marla’s persevering publicist says that he “heard from Donald that Donald’s parents were very impressed with Marla.” No doubt they were, for Marla Maples projects intense southern sincerity.
RELATED VIDEO: 32 Celebrities Struggle to Describe the Color of Donald Trump’s Hair“To me, Marla’s visibility is an asset at this point, but it’s not something that guarantees her success,” explains Chuck Jones, Marla Maples’s personal publicist and confidant of several years, who bears a striking resemblance to Bill Murray if Murray were playing a press agent. Her friendship is the biggest present I have.”Chuck Jones has been protecting Marla almost since she first arrived in New York in 1985 and walked into his office with her mother. She needed someone she could talk to, because if Marla meets some guy on the street who claims he’s a producer, who’s she gonna call? ”“In the annals of celebrity reporting there has never been a story like this,” says Liz Smith. “Remember, this was a couple who lived in print, who created themselves through publicity.”Poor Marla. people,” says Liz Smith, who has an antagonistic relationship with Trump.
Jones has been Marla’s general in the War of the Trumps and is also in charge of promoting the professional side of her life. She thinks that the Trump breakup and Marla Maples story “was the most extraordinary thing I ever witnessed next to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Out of nowhere more visible than a Delta Air Lines billboard she posed for years ago, a few seconds in a Stephen King movie where she was crushed by watermelons, and a brief appearance on , she was suddenly caught in the middle of the hottest gossip story of the year, right between the attacking husband and wife. “He wouldn’t take any advice and he wouldn’t shut up.” Chuck Jones’s strategy was to have Marla run away from the media fire storm and hope it would all blow over. Once she was discovered to be Trump’s girlfriend, Marla’s absence from the scene only titillated more.
When Marla was just sixteen, for example, she and her mother were approached by people were very depressed because I was too young.” But Daddy, Stan Maples, a small-time subdivider, a deacon in the Baptist Church with a golden tenor, and a regionally famous Elvis imitator to boot, felt otherwise, even though he and Marla’s mama were getting divorced at the time.
That’s what makes me feel uncomfortable—I forget I have this body.
I’m just a little girl.”So getting involved with Donald Trump, a man she calls “a genius, adorable, with a little-boy quality—I mean, he knows when he’s being too cute and he laughs at himself about it,” is sort of a case of puppy love. Events steamrolled out of everybody’s control.” Events were helped along by two of the three principals involved, long used to fighting, who “got into responding to every little thing and then thinking, This is it, I’ll say this and then it’ll be over, I’ll have the last word.” It never was and the story continued to run and run and run.
Graff is one of Donald Trump’s two executive secretaries.
She had gotten used to Marla calling the office with her special code name, but now the constant waving to people in the rows above and the paparazzi changing film in the Paine Webber box just below were giving Graff an anxiety attack.