Vanessa Trump may have questionable taste in men, but you can’t knock her taste in tomato sauce. According to Page Six, Donald Trump Jr.’s ex-wife is reportedly a sauce heiress, and she’s not making her millions off just any Barilla or Prego. No, the former Trump (born Vanessa Haydon) is profiting off a sauce dynasty: Rao’s.
Rao’s is to tomato sauce what Trump was to real estate: New York elite. It’s the best of the best in a city that might be more famous for its pizza than the country of Italy itself. Rao’s 10-table restaurant in East Harlem is harder to get into than it is to find an open treadmill at Equinox on Jan. 2. Being a celebrity isn’t enough to get you in: There’s a quite literal monopoly on the tables, and apparently the Haydon family has had the corner booth on lock for years.
According to Page Six, Vanessa’s late father Charles Haydon was a good friend of the late Frank Pellegrino Sr., the owner of Rao’s, and Ron Straci, a founder and co-owner of Rao’s Specialty Foods. The restaurant came around first, and in 1992, the business followed in order to sell their signature marinara sauce. It has since expanded to include different sauces, olive oils, and dressings, but the plain marinara sauce is what you’ll really write home about.
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Haydon apparently invested about $1 million in Rao’s Specialty Foods way back when, giving him a 30 percent stake in the company. So when the company was sold in 2017 for a cool $415 million, the Haydon family came into a lot of cash. InStyle has reached out to representatives of Vanessa and Rao's for comment.
Cut to March 2018, and Vanessa Trump files for divorce from Donald Jr. It’s uncontested, which means she wasn’t fighting him for money. Now, Donny’s looking to find out exactly how much his ex is worth. According to the New York Daily News, on April 27, a “defendant’s demand for statement of net worth” was filed on behalf of Donald Jr. in Manhattan Supreme Court. Basically, he wants to know just how much money his ex-wife has.
Maybe he’s looking to get in on that special sauce.