Mon. Sep 26th, 2022

One of Ivana Trump’s best friends always worried that Ivana might slip on what she called the beautiful but “treacherous” staircase at her opulent Manhattan home.

“I was always so upset about that staircase,” Ivana’s close friend, Nikki Haskell, who first met her in 1976, told The Post. “I hated those stairs. They were so treacherous. We worried about her falling. Her townhouse was four stories high and while there was an elevator, she never used it. It’s a beautiful staircase but I wouldn’t want it. It’s so steep and deep. Friends used to say to me, ‘Why don’t you stay with Ivana when you’re in New York?’ But you couldn’t pay me to hang out there and go up and down those stairs.”

Trump, 73, who had trouble walking and was not in the best health, was found at the bottom of the stairs this week after either falling or going into cardiac arrest, authorities said. The city Medical Examiner’s office has deemed her death accidental.

Ivana often posed in her luxurious, multi-million dollar townhouse on East 64th Street with the staircase in the background. Gossip columnist Rob Shuter said Friday night on News Nation that he had visited the apartment — and also called the staircase “treacherous.”

“(The apartment) wasn’t as renovated and up to speed as you’d think,” Shuter said. “Those stairs were always dangerous. The carpet on those stairs were a little bit worn too.”

Haskell, who had dinner with Trump not too long ago, said that in recent years Donald’s normally outgoing and social first wife had become “reclusive.”

Ivana Trump's Townhouse during Exclusive Photo Shoot with Ivana Trump - September 27, 1994 at Ivana's Townhouse in New York City.Ivana Trump’s best friend, Nikki Haskell, feared “she would fall” on the “treacherous stairs” of her Upper East Side home.Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

“The past couple of years, she became very reclusive… She had a big townhouse and she was really afraid of getting the virus, much more so than anybody I know. She didn’t want to go anywhere, she didn’t want to travel… She took it very, very seriously. She was afraid of getting sick.”

But Trump was reportedly about to rejoin the world, according to Haskell, and had been prepping to leave New York for St. Tropez where she had a home.

“She finally decided, ‘Okay, I’m going to go…’ She stayed in New York that whole time. She never left at all, and she was by herself and I am sure it was much more trying than I could even imagine.”

The city Medical Examiner's office declared there was no foul play involved in Ivana Trump’s death.The city Medical Examiner’s office declared there was no foul play involved in Ivana Trump’s death.ZapatA/MEGA Ivana Trump previously posed by her large staircase at her Upper East Side home on October 4, 2017.Ivana Trump previously posed by her large staircase at her Upper East Side home on October 4, 2017.Brian Zak

Haskell said Ivana’s family and friends worried about her stubborn insistence that she live alone in the enormous townhouse.

“I begged her to sell it and move to the Pierre,” Haskell said. “But she said, ‘No, I’m never leaving here.’”

Trump had a housekeeper who came every day and a secretary who came three days a week. “Otherwise she was all by herself in that huge place.” She usually rose at 5:30 or 6am every day and Haskell said she hopes that the fact that Ivana was found with a coffee cup nearby means she had not fallen the night before but the day of her death.

Ivana was married to Austrian Alfred Winklmayr years before tying the knot with Donald, and went on to wed two more times after her divorce from Trump  — marrying Italian businessman Riccardo Mazzucchelli and later, Italian actor Rossano Rubicondi, 49.

Until his death from complications related to melanoma in October, Ivana spent most of her time with Rubicondi. 

Gossip columnist Rob Shuter also called Ivana Trump’s staircase “dangerous” because of its worn out carpet.Gossip columnist Rob Shuter also called Ivana Trump’s staircase “dangerous” because of its worn out carpet.Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

The two were divorced but Rubicondi came by every day and they often had lunch or dinner at Ivana’s favorite local spots like Nello’s and Cipriani’s, Haskell said.

“I didn’t care for him,” Haskell said. “But it was none of my business. They had a bond. I think that’s why we stayed friends for so long. I didn’t judge her or question her decisions and she didn’t with me either.”

Haskell said she was concerned about Ivana in the months following Rubicondi’s death.

“I asked her if she was depressed. She said, ‘No, I’m sad.’”

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Her reported mobility problems stem from her past as a champion skier in Czechoslovakia, as well as a fall she took at Avra restaurant a few years ago when she caught her foot in the strap of someone’s purse and fell, Haskell said.

“I think she was extremely depressed that Rossano died,” Haskell added.

But Haskell said despite Ivana’s nearly 15-year relationship with Rubicondi, he was not her most important relationship.

“Donald was the love of her life,” Haskell said. “I think she was always in love with Donald. They were very close and she had great respect for him.”

In recent years, Ivana was closest to her son, Eric, because he stayed in New York when the rest of the Trumps went to Washington in 2017.

“But she remained close to all her family,” Haskell said. “Her mother is 96 and lives with Ivanka and Jared in Florida.”

Haskell said a funeral service for Ivana is set for July 20 at St. Vincent’s Church at 869 Lexington Ave.

A steady stream of well-wishers and mourners visited outside Ivana’s townhouse Saturday.

Carol Dyner, 86, a retired social worker stopped by to leave a bouquet of red carnations. 

Ivana Trump previously posed by her large staircase at her Upper East Side home on October 4, 2017.Nikki Haskell says Ivana Trump was about to travel before her death.Brian Zak Ivana Trump previously posed by her large staircase at her Upper East Side home on October 4, 2017.Ivana Trump “became very reclusive” at her home during the pandemic because she feared catching coronavirus, according to gossip columnist Rob Shuter.Brian Zak

“Every day I passed and she got her dog and she talked to me and she was wonderful,” Dyner told The Post. “I said, ‘Hello Darling.’ I pet Tiger, you know and I always said, ‘Never forget what you did. You raised the children by yourself, you ran his empire, gorgeous, not a hint is scandal about you. We don’t forget. We know. She’d say, ‘Thank you.’  She was wonderful. She died too young.”

Dyner added that she recalled seeing Rubicondi, coming around despite their divorce.

“In October the young fellow died,” Dyner said. “I used to see her taking him around. She took care of him until the end.”

June, 63, a dentist who did not want her last name used, came with her golden retriever, Apollo. She knelt with her dog and said a prayer.  She said “it was shocking” when she heard the news of Ivana’s death.

“I knew her indirectly,” she added. “Everybody followed her on the news. She was a force. I saw all the newspapers and the scandal  but she was really graceful, she never duked it out. She was classy.”

Additional reporting by Georgett Roberts


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