Which Presidents Have Been Divorced? It's Not A Long List
Running for president comes with high expectations. Not only are candidates expected to have political experience and forward-thinking ideas, but having a strong family dynamic never hurts a campaign. Traditionally, most presidents have had the support of a spouse while running for president and while in the White House — but not all of them. So, you might be wondering, which presidents have been divorced? Only two, and one of them is in office right now.
According to The Huffington Post, only one president before Donald Trump has been divorced — and that was 40th President Ronald Reagan, who divorced his first wife, actress Jane Wyman, in 1948. The divorce was apparently amicable, and per The Washington Post, both ex-spouses refrained from talking about each other publicly afterwards, with Wyman saying in 1968 that it was in "bad taste" to talk about your ex. However, Trump is the only president whose been divorced multiple times, seeing that he's now on his third marriage, to first lady Melania Trump.
In recent years, marital status hasn't been a huge make or break factor when electing candidates, but it used to be a huge influence on voters in the past. In their book Presidential Selection, political scientists Alexander Heard and Michael Nelson wrote that the growing acceptance of divorce made it easier for candidates to run for office despite previous marriages. So, that was definitely good news for Reagan and Trump.
"Society’s tolerance for divorce had grown so great during the 1960s that it no longer was a barrier when candidate Reagan encountered it," Heard and Nelson wrote in their book.
Well, growing acceptance or not, divorced presidents are clearly still not commonplace in the United States.
In case you're curious, here's some background on Trump's previous marriages. In 1990, Trump's first wife Ivana divorced him after his affair with model Marla Maples was revealed. Trump later married Maples in 1993, three months after she gave birth to their daughter Tiffany Trump. The couple was married for four years until they separated in 1997. That brings us to first lady Melania Trump, previously Melania Knauss, who met Trump at a party in 1998. The couple dated for six years before tying the knot in 2005. Melania gave birth to their son, Barron, nearly a year later.
Since entering the White House in January 2017, the relationship between Trump and Melania has led Twitter users to suspect all's not well in paradise. In September 2017, a video surfaced of the first lady introducing her husband to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Prince George's County, Maryland. While the introduction was relatively standard, it was what came after that had many people scratching their heads. Following Melania's introduction, Trump thanked his wife by shaking her hand before stepping to the podium. Um, have y'all met before?
A viral hashtag penned #FreeMelania also surfaced in 2018, following Twitter's suspicions that the first lady isn't exactly having the best time in the White House. It started in January 2017 during Trump's inauguration, when a video clip showed the soon-to-be first lady standing behind Trump and smiling while speaking to him, but then immediately frowning and looking away once he turned his back to her. Truth be told, it is a bit chilling.
Of course, Trump and the first lady's relationship drama is all speculation, and there's been no proof whether they're on the rocks. So, Twitter can believe what they want.