Of all the column inches dedicated to Donald Trump over the past decades—so many that they’re best measured in units of length longer than the height of Trump Tower—one headline stands above all others in the memory: the 1990 New York Post front page with the now-president’s second wife claiming he’s the “best sex I’ve ever had,” next to a photo of his beaming, proud face.
A former New York Post journalist, Jill Brooke, spilled the beans Thursday about how one of the most famous tabloid headlines in U.S. history came to be—and the backstory is just as ridiculous as you imagined.
In a column for The Hollywood Reporter about her run-ins with Trump and his three wives as a New York Post journalist over the years, Brooke recounted when Trump was going through a divorce with first wife, Ivana, who was winning the PR war against him, much to his chagrin.
One day, angered by a particularly sympathetic New York Daily News front-page story on Ivana, the aggrieved real estate mogul called the New York Post office. “Those fucking bitches,” Trump allegedly bellowed over the speakerphone in Post editor Jerry Nachman’s office, referring to rival Daily News: “I want a front-page story tomorrow.”
Nachman, a wily veteran, explained to the future president that you can’t just demand a front-page report whenever you want one—there has to be a story to go alongside it. When Trump asked what would warrant a front page, Brooke recalled how the New York Post editor explained further that it would usually be something to do with “murder, money or sex.”
Brooke remembered Trump immediately snapping back: “Marla says with me it’s the best sex she’s ever had,” and Nachman, already picturing his perfect headline, said that would make a great story if Trump could provide some form of corroboration.
According to Brooke, Trump then shouted to the nearby Marla Maples: “Didn’t you say it’s the best sex you ever had with me?”
A faint “yes, Donald,” was heard in the background and the headline wrote itself to become part of history.
Brooke said it was only later she discovered Trump was prone to impersonating associates on the phone, and so she is now unsure if Trump’s second wife ever said any such thing.
Whether or not it was true, Brooke wrote: “The Post scored with that headline. So did Trump in the PR war. Shameless and wily, he instinctively knew even then how to steer the media conversation.”
Maples has previously denied that she said the infamous words in the headline, which lends weight to Brooke’s suspicion that Trump may have actually impersonated his second wife.
Speaking about it this February, Maples said: “I never said that, someone else said that. Is it true? I’m not going to talk about that. The truth will come out, just not here.”
She also said to Access Hollywood in 2011: “Let’s put it this way—I think [Donald] had an opportunity to [take] that story out of the papers and he chose not to. That was pretty awful at the time. Now it’s funny to look back on, but at the time it was so humiliating!”
If Trump did impersonate his second wife, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s pretended to be someone close to him.
In 2016, The Washington Post uncovered a recording from 1991 in which Trump appeared to pose as his own spokesperson. The newspaper also reported a publicist calling himself “John Miller” or “John Barron” was known to call journalists from Trump’s office during the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s—and sounded suspiciously like the man himself.
Asked about the impersonations, Trump denied it, saying: “I don’t know anything about it. You’re telling me about it for the first time, and it doesn’t sound like my voice at all. I have many, many people that are trying to imitate my voice. You can imagine that. This sounds like one of the scams, one of the many scams. Doesn’t sound like me.”
However, a voice analyst insisted it was Trump all along.