March 2, 2020 / 9:42 PM / a month ago

Partly false claim: Photo shows Melania Trump with her sister and mother

A photo shared on social media has been accompanied by posts that claim it shows Melania Trump with her mother and sister. The photo, portraying Melania Trump and two women at a party, has been shared at least 10,400 times on Facebook (see example here and bit.ly/2wR7f7r) and has over 662 retweets on Twitter (See example here and here as of February 28, 2020.

These claims are partly false. This photo (see original here) does portray Melania Trump (center) and her sister Ines Knauss (left) but the women in the white suit (right) is not their mother, Amalija Knavs, as suggested.

The photo, taken for Getty Images by Lucien Capeheart is from Mar-a-Lago taken in 2005. According to Getty, it shows Melania and her sister with American philanthropist Audrey Gruss at a Valentino Fashion Luncheon benefit for the Boy’s Club of New York.

Audrey Gruss is the Founder and Chairman of the Hope for Depression Research Foundation, an organization dedicated to the funding of scientific research on depression and emotional disorders. She has been publicly seen with Melania Trump a few times (some examples here)

Ines Knauss is Melania Trump’s older sister. Aside from this picture, Ines is not often photographed in public. Reuters could not find any other recent photographs of Melania and Ines. Photographs on her Facebook (www.facebook.com/iknauss) and Instagram (here) accounts appear to confirm Ines’ identity and she often references her sister, Melania.

Melania’s mother, Amalija Knavs, has been filmed and photographed in public several times. A Reuters video showing Melania’s parents in 2018 is visible here A photo of Knavs taken in 2006 (closer to the claimed photograph’s date) is visible here

Another post on Facebook misleadingly claims Audrey Gruss to be Melania’s sister. See example here Melania Trump has only one sister.

The claim might have come from the fact that several media outlets have used this photo to illustrate their stories on Melania’s family (examples here and here).

VERDICT

Partly false: this photo does portray Melania Trump and her sister, Iness Knauss, but the woman in white is not their mother, Amalija Knav, but American philanthropist Audrey Gruss.

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