UPDATE (10/17/20 @ 11:29 a.m. ET): Stephanie Winston Wolkoff has responded to Melania’s comments with a statement. “Yesterday, in response to my book Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady, Melania Trump made a statement that said: ‘she hardly knew me.’ I find it puzzling that the First Lady of the United States asked someone she ‘hardly knew’ to attend her nuptials, join her for countless lunches, help plan the presidential inauguration, stay over at the White House and Mar-a-Lago, and act as her senior advisor,” Stephanie said in the statement obtained by HollywoodLife. “I wrote this book to share with the public my experience of working with Melania, our fifteen-year friendship, and her ultimate betrayal. This portrait is not all flattering but it’s the truth and Americans deserve the truth about the occupants of the White House,” she added.
Melania Trump has fired back at ex-friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff for publishing what she calls “idle gossip” in her bestselling tell-all book. The First Lady, 50, penned a personal essay published to the White House site on October 16, lamenting that Winston Wolkoff’s book, Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady, drew attention away from her Be Best initiative — and the “pettiness” of the media for apparently allowing that to happen. But rather than focus on the impact of Be Best, Trump instead rallied against Winston Wolkoff, also her former advisor and her so-called “salacious claims.”
Trump branded Winston Wolkoff in the essay as “someone who clung to me after my husband [Donald Trump] won the presidency. This is a woman who secretly recorded our phone calls, releasing portions from me that were out of context, then wrote a book of idle gossip trying to distort my character.” Winston Wolkoff, Trump alleged, “only cared about [her] personal agenda — not about helping others.” While Trump claims that Winston Wolkoff was merely a “contractor” who worked in the East Wing, the author of the bombshell tell-all paints a much different picture about a 15-year friendship beginning when the First Lady was still a model named Melania Knauss.
Their friendship continued when the Trumps headed to the White House. Winston Wolkoff even planned the January 2017 inauguration ceremony, and served as an unofficial advisor to the First Lady. Winston Wolkoff, according to Melania and Me, helped craft Trump’s White House image — even advising on the Be Best initiative the First Lady claims she ruined in her essay. The two had a falling out in February 2018, when The New York Times reported that the Trump inaugural committee allegedly paid Winston Wolkoff $26 million. Winston Wolkoff has repeatedly denied The New York Times‘ allegations.
Winston Wolkoff recorded conversations with Trump throughout her time at the White House, and has released several tapes. When I wrote Melania and Me I knew that every word of it would be subject to potential scrutiny, so I made sure everything in the book was not only accurate, but fully provable,” she told HollywoodLife in a statement. She explained that she could “not sit back and allow the First Lady’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, continue claiming I am [dishonest] to discredit the veracity of Melania and Me.”
Winston Wolkoff released one of her tapes EXCLUSIVELY to HollywoodLife on October 4. The tape, which she later shared on Michael Cohen‘s podcast, Mea Culpa, reveals that the First Lady called Stormy Daniels a “porn hooker” in 2018 when she discovered that she had been shot by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue. Though Trump was on the cover of Vogue in 2005, she had not been asked to appear in the magazine since becoming First Lady — but the woman who allegedly had an affair with her husband did.
HollywoodLife reached out to Stephanie Winston Wolkoff for comment but did not hear back as of press time.