Karen McDougal had her time in the spotlight in 1998 when she was named Playboy Playmate of the Year, but now the model is being thrust back into the news after reports that she carried on a long-term affair with Donald Trump while he was married to Melania.
The story of Trump’s alleged affair came from the Wall Street Journal, which claimed that Karen McDougal was planning to come forward with details of her 2006 relationship with Trump. The news outlet found that McDougal agreed to a $150,000 deal with the American Media, the company that owns the National Enquirer, but that the media outlet killed the story instead.
The Wall Street Journal claimed that McDougal expected to see her story published, but that American Media never intended for that.
“Mr. Trump and American Media Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David J. Pecker are longtime friends,” the report noted. “Since last year, the Enquirer has supported Mr. Trump’s presidential bid, endorsing him and publishing negative articles about some of his opponents.”
— Rose A. Valenta (@rosevalenta) November 5, 2016
American Media claimed that it had paid McDougal for fitness columns and appearances in the magazine as well as any information she had about affairs with then-married men, denying that it killed any story to help Donald Trump.
Trump’s campaign denies the claims as well, Politico noted, with spokeswoman Hope Hicks saying that the story is “totally untrue.”
The scandal comes after a series of women had come forward to claim that Donald Trump had acted in a sexually inappropriate manner. The wave of women spoke out after the release of a 2005 video from Access Hollywood in which Trump appeared to brag about sexually assaulting women. Trump said the video was just locker room banter, and has denied the charges of the women claiming he sexually assaulted them.
The news about Donald Trump’s alleged affair, released late on Friday, led to a wave of attention for Karen McDougal, as many people searched for pictures and background information about the model.
There were no further details available about Karen McDougal’s alleged affair with Donald Trump, but the timeline would show that the two entered their relationship sometime around the birth of Trump’s son, Barron. But the Wall Street Journal claimed that McDougal told several friends about the affair, which lasted a total of 10 months.
As the report also found, McDougal was represented by the same attorney representing another woman who was set to unveil details about an affair with Donald Trump.
“[Keith] Davidson also represented Stephanie Clifford, a former adult-film star whose professional name is Stormy Daniels and who was in discussions with ABC’s Good Morning America in recent months to publicly disclose what she said was a past relationship with Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the talks. Ms. Clifford cut off contact with the network without telling her story. She didn’t respond to requests for comment.”
In the hours after the story was first published, social media was flooded with pictures of Karen McDougal, including multiple occasions where she and Donald Trump were seen together.
— The Smoking Gun (@tsgnews) November 5, 2016
— RiotWomenn (@riotwomennn) November 5, 2016
The story of the alleged affair with Karen McDougal comes at a particularly difficult time for Donald Trump. With just three days until Election Day, the Republican Party’s candidate had appeared to put his month-long Access Hollywood scandal behind him and was closing fast in polls against Hillary Clinton. Trump had taken the lead in polling in a series of key swing states, though still looked to need more of a late push to take an electoral college lead. It’s not yet clear how the Karen McDougal affair allegations could impact those numbers.
[Featured Image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]