Karen McDougal, the former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Donald Trump just over a decade ago, told CNN Thursday that she was in love with Trump and that Trump was in love with her.
“He always told me he loved me,” she told Anderson Cooper.
McDougal said she met Trump, then a Manhattan real estate developer and reality TV host, in 2006 during an event at the Playboy Mansion.
“He said hello and then throughout the night it was clear there was an attraction form him to me,” she said.
McDougal said that Trump had given her his number and the two met soon after for a date at the Beverly Hills Hotel in June of that year, where the two became intimate.
In one of the more salacious moments of the interview, McDougal said that Trump once tried to offer her money after they had been intimate, a snippet CNN released earlier in the day to tease its exclusive.
“After we had been intimate, he tried to pay me, and I actually didn’t know how to take that.”
Cooper asked if Trump tried to hand her money, to which McDougal answered: “He did.”
“I don’t even know how to describe the look on my face,” she said. “It must have been so sad.”
“That’s not me,” she added. “I’m not that kind of girl. And he said, ‘Oh,’ and he said, ‘You’re really special… it hurt me that he saw me in that light.”
McDougal also said that Trump once compared her to his daughter Ivanka.
“He’s very proud of Ivanka, as he should be,” she said. “He said I was beautiful like her.”
She said she did not find it strange.
“I brag about my daughter that much,” she said.
Asked what she would tell Trump’s wife, Melania, who had just given birth to their son, Barron, when the alleged affair happened, McDougal said: “What can you say except I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I wouldn’t want it done to me. I’m sorry.”
McDougal said she was extremely uncomfortable when, during a visit to his Manhattan apartment, Trump showed her Melania’s room. She said she met the future first lady during an "Apprentice" party later.
Cooper held up a photograph showing Melania Trump, Ivanka and several other women, including McDougal.
“I tried to keep my distance,” McDougal said of the photograph. “I felt guilty.”
“Do you think she knew?” Cooper asked.
“Maybe,” she said. “I don’t know. It was told to me that they were arguing that night and I said, ‘Why?’ and somebody had said: ‘Probably because of you.'”
Thursday’s interview with CNN was the first time McDougal has spoken about her relationship with the president since filing a lawsuit Tuesday to get out of her 2016 nondisclosure agreement. McDougal is the second woman in two weeks to accuse the president or his allies of trying to bury news about a Trump extramarital affair.
McDougal is suing American Media Inc., the National Enquirer’s parent company, which, according to the Wall Street Journal, paid her $150,000 to buy her story — but never ran it. The Enquirer’s chief executive, David Pecker, is a friend of Trump’s.
Porn star Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, said in a lawsuit filed March 6 that her “hush agreement” with Trump is invalid. Trump attorney Michael Cohen agreed in October 2016 to pay her $130,000 to keep her from talking about an extramarital affair she said she had with Trump just over a decade ago.
Trump has repeatedly denied both affairs.
In her lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, McDougal claims that Michael Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, was in talks with American Media behind her back and that both AMI and her lawyer at the time misled her about the deal.
Speaking to the New Yorker last month, McDougal said that A.M.I. “warned” that her breach of the nondisclosure agreement could result in “considerable monetary damages.”
McDougal’s lawyer, Peter K. Stris, told the Times that A.M.I. was engaging in “a multifaceted effort to silence” his client.
McDougal filed her suit just as Clifford is about to make her “60 Minutes” debut, also conducted by Cooper, on Sunday.
Trump’s team is seeking $20 million from Clifford, arguing she violated her non-disclosure.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that A.M.I., one of the country’s largest tabloid news providers, is known to buy damaging stories about allies for the sole purpose of burying them, a practice known as “catch and kill.”