KEY POINTS

  • Melania Trump wanted to be both rich and "known," says biographer Mary Jordan
  • Jordan said the former model is "like a chess player" who stays silent before coming out with her moves
  • Journalist Nina Burleigh said Trump has one important quality that separates her from her husband's previous wives

Melania Trump's biographers have opened up about what they have observed and learned about the former first lady over the years.

In a new People report, four of Trump's biographers who collectively covered her for decades, Kate Bennett, Kate Andersen Brower, Nina Burleigh and Mary Jordan, shared their thoughts on the former model from Slovenia after hundreds of interviews and years of research. While their views on Trump sometimes differ, they all agree that Trump is "tough" and smart.

The biographers also said that the former first lady knows exactly what she wants out of life and out of her marriage with former President Donald Trump.

Jordan, author of "The Art of Her Deal," told People that Trump's goals weren't limited to becoming wealthy. 

"I think a lot of people thought she just wanted to be rich," the Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post reporter, whose book was called "fiction" by the Trump White House, said. "And she wanted not just to be rich — I heard that several times from key people: 'You don't understand, she wanted to be known.'"

The author also noted that while Trump is a private person and is known for staying silent, this doesn't mean that she doesn't make moves.

"When I was in Slovenia, it kept coming up — also in Italy, when I was talking to people — she acts like a chess player," Jordan said. "Several people would say that she's there, doesn't say anything and then comes out with her moves."

As for her relationship with her husband, Burleigh, author of "The Trump Women," said that the former model has understood since they began dating in the late '90s that "all you do is butter [Donald Trump] up and make him feel like a man all the time because that's what this kind of guy needs."

She believes this is what separated Melania from her husband's previous wives, Ivana Trump and Marla Maples.

"You have to toe the line in terms of this sort of toxically masculine person at the center of it all and make him feel secure as a man. That's what [Melania Trump] has been good at from the very beginning. That was her special superpower," Burleigh claimed.

As for her social circle, Bennett, author of "Free, Melania," told People that the ex-FLOTUS "doesn't necessarily have a significant circle of friends. We used to get sightings of Michelle Obama out with her girls when she was first lady … But we've never had one of those with Melania Trump."

According to Bennett, Trump's inner circle includes her parents, her older sister Ines, her stylist Hervé Pierre and designer Rachel Roy.

One former member of Trump's circle, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, earlier said that the former model, like her husband, values fealty and her personal brand and claimed that her staying silent is part of her game.

"She is not an enigma. She is not mysterious," Trump's former friend and adviser, who published her tell-all book "Melania and Me" last year, previously told People. "That's why it's so important — the perception people have of her. That iron curtain around her, that slapping of [her husband's] hand, it's all part of the game. It's all part of keeping her mysterious."

Following their White House departure in January, Trump has focused on enjoying the spa at her husband's private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, raising her only child, Barron Trump, and spending time with her parents, People reported, citing unnamed sources.

First lady Melania Trump WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 22: First Lady Melania Trump walks to the South Lawn to depart the White House on October 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump travels to Nashville, Tennessee for the final debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The Commission on Presidential Debates changed the format this time, muting of microphones to start each of Thursday's debate segments. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) Photo: Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images