Last week, we reported that Ivana Trump, the ex-wife of former President Donald Trump, had died suddenly at the age of 73 after falling down the stairs of her Manhattan townhouse. Now, a close friend of Ivana’s is speaking out to say that she was “like an angel,” and that “she could’ve been saved from death.”
Zach Erdem, the owner of the 75 Main restaurant in Southampton that is featured in the TV show “Serving the Hamptons,” told People Magazine that Ivana was an “incredible mom” who “raised incredible kids” with the former President Trump.
“She was always supporting charities and everything,” Erdem said. “She was like an angel. Whoever needed help, she would be there. She didn’t care about any politics or religion or whatever, she was ready to help whoever needed it.”
“I don’t really usually get close to people, but when you find good people, you’re always attracted to good people,” he added. “And I always said she was kind of like a mother to me.”
When Erdem met Ivana back in 2003, he was a busboy at a fancy restaurant in New York City, and he didn’t speak much English.
“One day I’m sitting in my restaurant with a couple friends and this lady walks in, I get up, I hug her before even saying any words,” he recalled. “It was like, so crazy. I saw her like, I missed her. I hadn’t seen her in a couple years. And I hugged her very strong like you’re missing your mom. She was like, ‘Darling, I heard that you own this place. Let’s sit down.’ We sat down and had a great time.”
Erdem and Ivana proceeded to exchange numbers, and they were friends ever since. He last spoke to her just a few weeks before her passing.
“For the first time, she’s like, ‘I don’t know if I can make it to the Hamptons this summer,'” he said. “And she was very excited to go to Europe. She hadn’t gone to Europe for a couple years. She loved Saint-Tropez, that’s her favorite place in the world. And I think her ticket was for Friday, or Saturday or today, she was supposed to go there. But then she was like, ‘I want to get back. I’m coming back to see you and I can’t wait to see you.'”
Erdem was told of Ivana’s death by someone at his restaurant.
“[The person] comes back like, ‘I know you loved Ivana. I know she loved you. But she’s dead.’ I was having coffee and dropped the coffee on my shirt and I started crying,” he said. “I just spoke with this lady two weeks ago. She was excited to go to Europe and come back to the Hamptons. I Googled it and I saw the news all over. I was really heartbroken. It’s really unexpected.”
Erdem remembers the stairs at Ivana’s townhouse being “tight” and narrow.
“When we were walking on the street, she used to get on my arm. She was like, ‘Darling, slowly, slowly, I’m not a 20-year-old anymore.’ I mean, we were going like really slow, so I had to go extremely slow for her to catch up with me,” he remembered.
Erdem went on to say that Ivana had an assistant who she saw as her best friend.
“She’s the only person who was with Ivana all the time. She was like kind of her assistant, her cleaner, her care, the lady was her everything,” he said. “If she was home early, she could have saved her. That was another upsetting thing. If there was someone there she may not have died. She would be alive right now.”
In the end, Erdem will always remember Ivana as an incredible woman.
“She was kind, she was an incredible mom. She raised incredible kids, and was a great wife for Mr. Trump and she helped him,” he said. “I wish I could have learned more from her. I was joking with her that I want to be a Trump. ‘Can you make me Trump as well?’ And she was like, ‘I’m working on it.'”
Ivana leaves behind the three children she raised with the former President Trump: Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. May she rest in peace.