McDougal recently filed a lawsuit against American Media Inc., the company that owns the National Enquirer, demanding to be released from a non-disclosure agreement that would allow her to speak about the alleged affair with President Trump.
“A.M.I lied to me, made empty promises, and repeatedly intimidated and manipulated me," McDougal said in a statement. "I just want the opportunity to set the record straight and move on with my life, free from this company, its executives, and its lawyers.”
On March 22, McDougal gave an interview to Anderson Cooper where she opened up about the affair, and even apologized to Melania Trump.
Scroll down to learn more about McDougal's personal life and career, as well as current details on the affair.
Karen McDougal was born in Merrillville, Indiana on March 23, 1971.
She has three older brothers and one younger sister, all of whom moved to Michigan when she was nine years old.
McDougal studied tap dancing and ballet as a child, eventually becoming a cheerleader and volleyball player in High School.
She went on to attend college at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, majoring in Elementary Education.
After that, she moved to a suburb of Detroit and taught pre-K.prevnext
While working as a pre-K schoolteacher, McDougal was encouraged to try out for a local Venus Swimwear swimsuit competition in Michigan, and she won.
This caught the attention of David Mecey, a Playboy photographer, who convinced the magazine to invite her to do a test shoot.
The test shoot went well and McDougal was chosen to do a full pictorial for the magazine.
Her full pictorial then was so well-received, that Hugh Hefner chose her as the 1998 Playmate of the Year. She received $100,000 and a special edition silver Shelby Series 1 convertible with a custom license plate that read: "PMOY 98."prevnext
After her work with Playboy, McDougal began to do more fitness modeling.
In 1999 she became the first woman to appear on the cover of Men's Fitness magazine.
She would go on to pose for other fitness and body building magazines, such as Muscle & Fitness, Physical, and Iron Man.prevnext
In 2001, McDougal tried her hand at acting, appearing in the Roger Corman-produced, direct-to-video movie The Arena.
The Arena co-starred McDougal and fellow Playboy model Lisa Dergan as "Amazon slaves forced to be gladiators in a Roman arena."
Interestingly, this remake of a 1974 of the same title, which starred Margaret Markov and Pam Grier, was directed by Timur Bekmambetov, who would later helm Wanted (starring Angelina Jolie), Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and Hardcore Henry.
McDougal also guest-hosted Wild On! on E!, and had cameo roles in films like Joe Dirt, Charlie's Angels, and The Girl Next Door.prevnext
McDougal tried out for the WWE Diva Search in 2004, winning the local competition in Los Angeles and moving on to the next stage in New York City.
She reportedly donned a black bikini and made it through two rounds.
The special was televised by Spike TV, but unfortunately McDougal was eliminated before the final 10.prevnext
Alleged Trump Affair
Around 2006 is when McDougal and Trump reportedly began an extramarital affair that would last a little under a year.
In her interview with Anderson Cooper, she claimed that Melania Trump was pregnant at the time, and that Trump offered her money for sex.
"...I don't even know how to describe the look on my face, it must have been so sad, because I never have been offered money like that number one, and number two, does he think I'm in this for money, and that's why I'm here tonight? Or is this a normal thing. I don't know," McDougal said.
"I looked at him and said, that's not me, I'm not that kind of girl. And he looked at me and said oh, and he said you're really special. And I said thank you. So I left, and I got into the car...and started crying. I was really sad. It really hurt me, but I went back," she later added.
She ultimately revealed that she ended the relationship out of guilt.prevnext
Relationship with Bruce Willis
Shortly after her relationship with Trump ended, McDougal began casually dating iconic Hollywood star Bruce Willis.
The two were photographed on an exotic yacht vacation, which was reported by numerous outlets at the time.
The relationship does not seem to have lasted long, as just two years later Willis married model and actress Emma Heming.prevnext
In addition to her modeling and acting ventures, McDougal is also a business owner.
She bought into Pharmore Alternatives, a company that sells " various health and wellness supplements," in 2010.
The following year she turned up at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo to promote the company's products.prevnext
Trump Affair Exposed
While McDougal's self-confessed affair with Trump happened more than a decade ago, the reports of it only recently surfaced.0comments
The Wall Street Journal reportedly was the first to reveal details of the alleged affair in November of 2017, with The New Yorker writing a story jus a few months later.
"I can tell you we saw each other a minimum five times a month, up to bigger numbers per month," McDougal said of the relationship, while appearing on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Thursday evening. "I was just feeling so guilty. It was just digging inside me."prev