Move over, Stormy Daniels. There’s a new alleged Trump mistress making headlines.
Fresh off his October exposé on Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual misconduct, journalist Ronan Farrow has turned his attention to President Trump‘s personal life. On Friday the New Yorker published Farrow’s interview with former Playboy Playmate of the Year Karen McDougal, who is alleged to have started a nine-month affair with the future POTUS in June 2006. The White House has denied the allegations.
Though a contract with National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. (AMI), to whom she sold the exclusive rights to her story, prevents McDougal from expressly discussing or confirming the alleged affair, her handwritten journal entries obtained by Farrow reference intimate dinner dates, sexual encounters, and run-ins with his two eldest sons, Donald Jr. and Eric. Barron Trump would have been just a few months old when the alleged relationship started, about 18 months after Donald Trump, then the host of The Apprentice, married Melania Trump.
There’s a lot to unpack in Farrow’s investigation, which picks up from a Nov. 4, 2016, Wall Street Journal report that AMI paid McDougal $150,000 for her story in order to bury it. The preelection bombshell didn’t prevent Trump from taking the White House, but will it make waves now? And just who is the onetime Playmate who could topple the presidency?
Born in Indiana in 1971 and raised in Michigan, the 46-year-old McDougal is a former high school cheerleader, student athlete, and four-time Michigan state champion clarinet player.
After graduating from high school — where she had the nickname of “Barbie” — in 1989, she spent two years studying elementary education at Michigan’s Ferris State University. She then went on to teach prekindergarten in Detroit for another two years before embarking on a modeling career.
Having been scouted at a swimsuit competition, McDougal made her Playboy centerfold debut with the December 1997 issue. Hugh Hefner named her Playmate of the Year 1998 the following May. She subsequently appeared in numerous Playboy projects, including a 2005 swimsuit calendar, a Playboy-themed shoot for Vogue Italia in 2004, and a limited-edition doll made in her likeness.
McDougal also has various acting credits and TV appearances under her belt, including cameos in films like Charlie’s Angels and Joe Dirt, guest-hosting roles for E!’s Wild On!, a role in the 2001 Roger Corman-produced gladiator film The Arena, and an appearance as a contestant in the 2004 WWE Diva Search special.
McDougal has also done extensive fitness model work and has described herself as a motorcycle enthusiast and animal lover. She told Farrow that she is a Republican who has “found God” in recent years.
According to Farrow’s article, McDougal met Trump at a pool party at the Playboy Mansion in June 2006. He reportedly asked for her number, and her journal entries from the time describe a first date at the Beverly Hills Hotel, which included sexual intercourse. According to the journal, Trump offered McDougal money, which she declined.
Farrow’s report says that McDougal’s relationship overlapped with Trump’s alleged affair with Stormy Daniels, who is also said to have been paid off for her story. Both women were present at the same events, and both are said to have had dates with Trump at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Though she’s never been married, McDougal has been linked to one famous man besides Trump: actor Bruce Willis, whom she reportedly dated in 2008.
That’s about a year after she is said to have broken up with Trump, according to friend John Crawford’s comments to Farrow. In Crawford’s words, McDougal ended the alleged affair in April 2007 because “she couldn’t look at herself in the mirror anymore.” Her renewed spirituality left her feeling guilty about seeing a married man, while sexist comments allegedly made by Trump also put her off.
Of her AMI contract, McDougal insists she took home just $82,500 of the $150,000 payoff. The agreement, she told Farrow, was meant to include hosting opportunities for AMI publications, but, aside from a few columns, those never panned out. In her Twitter profile, however, she describes herself as an “OK!/Star Magazine and Radar Online columnist.” Indeed, one fitness story by her appeared in a June 2017 issue of OK! featuring the first lady on the cover.
The model had her breast implants removed in January 2017 following a period of ill health. She told Farrow she credited her renewed health and the #MeToo movement as motivation to address her relationship with Trump, despite being bound by her AMI contract.
“As I was sick and feeling like I was dying and bedridden, all I could do was pray to live,” she told Farrow. “But now I pray to live right, and make right with the wrongs that I have done.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- Meet Stormy Daniels, the adult-film star Trump allegedly paid $130K in hush money
- Americans are paying for Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Sanders to have their makeup done
- Donald Trump just misused the word ‘consensual.’ Really.