The divorce rumors that picked up speed earlier in the week involving President Trump's eldest son were confirmed Friday. In a joint statement, Donald Trump Jr. and wife Vanessa confirmed their decision to divorce. The two released a statement that read:
After 12 years of marriage, we have decided to go our separate ways. We will always have tremendous respect for each other and our families. We have five beautiful children together and they remain our top priority. We ask for your privacy during this time.
President Trump, then a businessman and soon-to-be reality TV star, first introduced the pair in 2003. Vanessa was at a fashion show and Trump Sr. introduced her more than once to his son there, apparently forgetting he'd already done so. According to The New York Times, neither Trump Jr. nor Vanessa initially remembered one another when they were introduced, yet again, several weeks later at a birthday party.
Trump Jr. and Vanessa wed at Mar-a-Lago in 2005. Their five children span from ages 3 to 10. An unnamed source told People that Vanessa is "crazy about her kids, and she prides herself on being an incredibly hands-on mom. She may not even have a nanny.”
That concern for their children is evident in the statement released by the couple, naming their kids as the "top priority" in navigating divorce.
There have been reports that Trump Jr. has struggled to adjust to life after taking over the Trump Organization from his father following the 2016 election. A friend of both Trump Jr. and his brother Eric told People that the two were not enjoying life as a first sons.
"They never wanted this," the friend told the magazine. Another source described Trump Jr. as "miserable" in his job, since the status of his father now means all potential deals will be "overly scrutinized."
Page Six's Emily Smith cited sources Wednesday saying the couple was in trouble. Smith wrote that "friends say they have been living separate lives." Another source told Smith that Trump Jr.'s frequent travel had contributed to problems in the marriage.
"Vanessa is a devoted mother, but she is increasingly lonely and alone in the house with the children," the person said.
Another strain on the marriage cited by Page Six is Trump Jr.'s behavior. Sources referenced his tweeting, including when he liked two tweets promoting a conspiracy theory about one of the Parkland shooting survivors. Trump Jr. "appears to have changed," a source said.
Sources also told Page Six that Vanessa didn't like the constant intrusion of media — and even Special Service — into their family life. Trump Jr. requested the 24-hour Secret Service surveillance be suspended for his family in September 2017. Prior to that, the Secret Service agreed to allow Trump Jr. to travel unaccompanied to the Bahamas, despite sources telling CNN the agency had "strongly pushed back" on the plan.
Shortly after his initial request to remove Secret Service from their 24-hour role, they were reinstated.
In February, Vanessa was taken in an ambulance after she opened a letter addressed to her husband and discovered white powder inside. Her mother, who was with her, was also tested for precautionary reasons, along with two other unnamed individuals. Investigators later confirmed the substance was corn starch. A similar letter containing corn starch was sent to Eric Trump in March 2016.
A source told Page Six the incident had shaken Vanessa. "It was terrifying for Vanessa, who is naturally worried for the safety of her children.” her Twitter bio definitely backs up this assessment, reading: "I'm a Mother of 5 amazing kids. My children are my life!"