White House Celebrates Trump Wedding Anniversary Amid His Impeachment: Look Back at the 2005 Ceremony

Sean Neumann

Late on Jan. 22, 2005 — surrounded by friends, family and an array of celebrities from TV, music, sports and more — Apprentice star Donald Trump wed model Melania Knauss at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida.

Hillary Clinton, Katie Couric and Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos were among those in attendance. Paul Anka, Tony Bennett and Billy Joel all performed. Shaquille O’Neal was there, too, as were Kathy Lee Gifford and Star Jones — and Simon Cowell and Barbara Walters.

“It was quick but beautiful and perfect,” Cowell told PEOPLE at the time. “I give it a nine.”

Exactly a decade and a half later, a lot has changed for the Trumps: He’s gone from real estate mogul and reality TV personality to president of the United States — and one of the most polarizing politicians on Earth, now on trial in the Senate. She, a former model born in Slovenia, is the first lady who is supporting a campaign about children’s welfare. His three oldest kids, Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka, who joined them at the 2005 nuptials, have become either top government aides or advisers.

As ever, the Trumps remain the subject of intense attention. Just for very different reasons.

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In the years since 2005, President Trump, 73, transformed more and more into a conservative firebrand — culminating in a bitter election against Clinton, who’d attended his wedding — with many in Hollywood estranged by Trump’s politics. (He infamously described some Mexicans as “rapists” in announcing his presidential bid in summer of 2015. NBC responded by cutting his ongoing ties with the network.)

Wednesday marked the 15th anniversary of President Trump’s marriage to Mrs. Trump, 49. While Democratic lawmakers were in the Senate making their case for his removal from office over the Ukraine scandal, he was returning to the White House after attending the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Through a gauntlet of controversies since 2005, one thing that hasn’t changed is Mrs. Trump’s place next to her husband — sometimes quiet in words, but louder in action.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in England in December. | Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump celebrate the Fourth of July together in 2019.

Mrs. Trump notably arrived separately from her husband at the State of the Union two years ago after they hadn’t been seen publicly together for a month. Multiple times throughout the presidency, it’s appeared as if she’s swatted or resisted President Trump’s hand while they walked together in front of the media.

Mrs. Trump has used her public appearances, or the lack thereof, to chastise her husband, according to a recent biography. When news broke of his alleged affair with Stormy Daniels, the first lady iced him out.

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“Trump, by several accounts, is desperate for her approval, and he relies on her — her punishing coldness in the wake of the affair headlines and rumors took a toll on him,” author Kate Bennett wrote.

The Trump marriage has endured numerous allegations that he was either unfaithful or, more seriously, a serial sexual predator, all of which he has denied. Trump notoriously bragged on tape about sexually assaulting women while he was on the set of Access Hollywood, which leaked just before the 2016 election.

According to journalist Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House, Mrs. Trump refused to appear on TV alongside her husband after his offensive comments became public. (The president claimed to The Daily Caller the book was inaccurate.)

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in France together in June 2019. | IAN LANGSDON/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arriving in England in June 2019. | Leon Neal/Getty

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On Wednesday, the White House marked the couple’s wedding anniversary with a photo of them dancing together as a stringed band played in the background.

“Happy 15th anniversary, President @realdonaldtrump and @flotus! ❤️” the White House’s post read. Neither the president nor Mrs. Trump noted the occasion on social media themselves and a White House spokeswoman did not answer questions about how they celebrated.

In 2005, the then 58-year-old reality star and his 34-year-old bride danced together while Billy Joel made up a song off the top of his head about Trump to the tune of “Lady is a Tramp.”

The new groom, with two marriages already behind him, told PEOPLE at the time that he had no jitters ahead of his 2005 wedding.

“If I didn’t have a great woman, I would be much more nervous,” he said, adding, “I think it will be very successful.”