NewsElections Melania Trump: What to know about the first lady By Nicole Brown email@example.com Updated June 12, 2017 9:39 AM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email First lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump's third wife, was put in the spotlight more than she may have liked since the start of the 2016 campaign. She has been described as quiet and reserved, but her marriage to Trump has forced her to make public statements and be scrutinized by the media. Recent reports have questioned whether Melania really wants to be first lady, but her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham denies those accusations. “Mrs. Trump has always been supportive of all her husband’s endeavors,” Grisham told Vanity Fair. In a statement to the Huffington Post, Grisham said the first lady is “an independent woman who believes in our country, and continues her plans to serve as first lady with integrity and dedication.” Here are six things to know about the first lady, who turned 47 on April 26, 2017. Get the latest NYC news: Sign up for our breaking news emails. Born in Slovenia, then Yugoslavia Photo Credit: Getty Images / Alex Wong Melania was born on April 26, 1970 in Novo Mesto, in what was then Yugoslavia. After 1991, it became Slovenia. Her birth name, Melanija Knavs, was changed to Melania Knauss when she came to the United States. As first lady, she is the first to be born outside the United States since Louisa Adams, who was born in London. She has an older sister, Ines Knauss. She also has a half-brother, who she has never met, according to a GQ profile. Melania's father was a member of the Communist Party, according to the biography "Melania Trump: The Inside Story, from a Slovenian Communist Village to the White House." She attended the University in Ljubljana for a year Photo Credit: AFP Getty Images / Robyn Beck Melania began her modeling career at age 16, but she said her goal at the time was to become a designer. She attended a university in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana to obtain a degree in design, but only stayed for one year. She decided to continue her modeling career and moved to Milan, Italy. She worked primarily in Milan and Paris, and then moved to New York in 1996. At the Republican National Convention in July, the program said Melania had earned a degree from the university, but media quickly called out the error. She wouldn't give Donald her phone number when they first met Photo Credit: Getty Images / Carlo Allegri Melania Knauss, at the time, met Donald Trump in 1998 at a party in Manhattan hosted by Italian businessman Paolo Zampolli. Despite having a date, Trump approached Knauss and asked for her number. She refused to give it to him, taking his instead. A week later, she called him and they began dating soon after. The two married in 2005 at Mar-a-Lago, Donald's Palm Beach, Florida, resort. Their son, Barron, was born a year later on March 20, 2006. She became a U.S. citizen in 2006 Photo Credit: Getty Images / Peter Kramer To debunk reports that she may have immigrated to the United States illegally, Melania released a letter from her attorney that explains the steps she took to immigrate legally. When she first came to New York in 1996, she had a visitor visa, her attorney said. Shortly after, she received an H-1B visa, which authorized her to be a model in the United States. She was issued five of these visas between 1996 and 2001, the letter said. Her attorney said she earned a green card in 2000, and was admitted as a permanent resident in 2001. She then became eligible for citizenship in 2006. Her RNC speech sounded familiar Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Alex Wong, Paul J. Richards Parts of Melania's speech at the Republican National Convention in 2016 were criticized for being very similar to former first lady Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. Initially, the Trump campaign denied that the speeches were alike, but later, a Trump Organization staff writer took the blame for the similarities. She has stood by Donald during controversy Photo Credit: Getty Images / Joshua Lott After the release of a 2005 audio of Donald Trump describing how he gropes and kisses women without their consent, Melania said the words were "unacceptable and offensive," but she accepted his apology. She later said in an interview with CNN that her husband was "egged on" by Billy Bush, at the time an "Access Hollywood" co-host. She also defended her husband after several women accused him of kissing and/or groping them without consent, saying the allegations were "organized from the opposition." "Did they ever check the background of these women? They don't have any facts," she said. Many NYers weren't thrilled about her living in NYC Photo Credit: Getty Images / Alex Wong Melania Trump and her son, Barron, 11, stayed in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue for almost five months of Donald Trump's presidency. Hundreds of thousands of people signed a petition in March calling for the first lady to leave or pay for the expenses related to security at the building. According to the NYPD, it costs an average of $127,000 to $146,000 per day to protect Melania and Barron. Additionally, the FDNY said it will cost a total of $4.5 million each year to station firefighters and medics 24 hours a day at Trump Tower. Melania and Barron eventually moved into the White House on June 11, 2017. She says her platform as first lady will focus on cyberbullying Photo Credit: Getty Images / Win McNamee The first lady said she will focus her platform on cyberbullying among children, but she didn't do anything publicly for that platform in the first several months of Trump's presidency. Grisham said she "continues to work on building her agenda in a thoughtful way," in a statement to Vanity Fair in May. "She likes things to be done right, and doing things right takes time," Grisham continued. By Nicole Brown firstname.lastname@example.org Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic Trump's family tree: Who's whoFrom his five children to his five siblings, get to know Team Trump. Trump's accusers and their allegationsTrump has repeatedly slammed these claims as false. Fast facts about Donald Trump Jr.Donald Jr. tweeted an email that mentioned Russia's support for his father. Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.