Donald Trump’s Wife Melania Told Him to ‘Tone It Down’ During Debates

GOP frontrunner and wife sit down with ABC’s Barbara Walters for their first interview together since he entered presidential race

Last Updated: November 20, 2015 @ 7:45 PM

Donald Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, has been mostly out of the public eye since her husband announced he was running for president.

But that all changed when she sat down with Barbara Walters for an interview with ABC News’ “20/20” on Friday.

“It’s my choice not to be there [on the campaign trail],” Melania, 45, told Walters. “I support my husband 100 percent, but … we have a 9-year-old son together, Barron, and I’m raising him,” she said, adding, “This is the age he needs a parent at home.”

Melania told Walters she discussed her husband’s presidential aspirations with him at length and even pushed him to run.

“I encouraged him because I know what he will do and what he can do for America,” she said. “He loves the American people and he wants to help them.”

Even though she’s been absent from the campaign trail, Melania insisted that she’s involved in her husband’s presidential behind-the-scenes.

“She’s told me a couple of times during the debate, she was very happy with my performances, if you would want to call them a performance,” Donald Trump said. “But she said, ‘you could tone it down a little bit on occasion,’ which I understand.”

Born in Slovenia, Melania is Trump’s third wife. After his divorce from his first wife, Ivana, he married actress Marla Maples in 1993. That marriage ended in 1999. Trump married Melania in 2005.

“We have a very, very — pretty much equal relationship,” Donald said of Melania.

Melania said it’s been hard watching her husband being criticized, calling it “unpleasant.”

Asked what is the biggest untruth about her husband, she said, it’s the perception that he’s “nasty.”

“He’s not,” Melania said. “He has a big heart and [a] very warm heart. You see who he is on the campaign trail all the time and on television, and I think — you know America needs a strong leader and a tough leader and [he] knows what he’s doing.”

Walters also sat down with Trump’s children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric, his children with Ivana, and Tiffany, his daughter with Maples.

Asked whether they agreed with their father when he said he wasn’t very “present” when they were growing up, Ivanka said no.

“I would challenge him on that because he was very available to us,” she told Walters.

“When we called, he took the phone,” said Donald Jr.

Asked who is Trump’s favorite, his children said Ivana.

Watch a clip of the interview below.