Melania Trump has made her first public appearance in almost a month at a reception for Gold Star families at the White House on Monday evening.

Entering the event alongside President Trump, the first lady appeared well as she was videoed walking in, despite the White House saying no press coverage of the event would be allowed.

She was wearing a black dress and six-inch black heels, several attendees told the

Melania stayed for the whole ceremony, which was nearly an hour long. She didn't speak but sat in the front row as the president spoke, attendees said.


Diana Pike of Phoenix, Arizona, said the first lady looked "beautiful" and as "put together as she always does". And that she wore "crazy high black heels".

Nancy Wilson said the first lady spoke to families in the room.

In a statement, Melania said it was a "privilege" to welcome the families to the White House.

"It was a privilege to welcome Gold Star families to the White House today to recognise our nation's fallen heroes and their families. To all those who have lost loved ones in service to our country, our nation grieves with you," she said.

"Thank you to those who joined us this evening and to the men and women currently serving overseas and to their families, thank you for your service. We send our prayers to all of those in harm's way, and may God bless the United States of America."

Speculation has been rife about the whereabouts of Melania Trump ever since she went in for an operation on her kidney on May 14.

Laughing off the rumours that have spread around Washington like wildfire, President Donald Trump refuted speculation the couple have split, saying it was a no-go, "Isn't that right, honey?"

According to Daily Caller reporter Jena Greene who was in attendance as a Gold Star daughter, Trump also spoke about his wife's surgery and said Melania "had a little problem" a few weeks ago, but "wouldn't miss" this event "for anything".


Her attendance was listed on President Trump's official schedule that came out Sunday night.

The reception was listed as closed to the press, meaning the media weren't allowed inside to document her appearance.

First lady Melania Trump speaks on her initiatives during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Photo / AP
First lady Melania Trump speaks on her initiatives during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Photo / AP

Melania has since shared three photos of the event on Twitter. It's unknown if the White House will release further photographs of the occasion.

The event honoured military families. Gold Star families are those who have lost a loved one in a war. The White House held a similar reception last year.

Roberta Lyons Nolan, of Pennsylvania, said it was a very emotional ceremony where the names of the deceased were read and a candle was lit for each one.

Sunday marked the 24th day Melania Trump had not been seen in public since she underwent a kidney procedure.

It's unknown when her next appearance will be after her Monday night emergence.

The first lady will not accompany President Trump to the G7 summit in Canada on Friday or to his historic summit in Singapore on June 12.

She will not attend either of the prominent international events, her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told the

"She will not attend the G7 and there are no plans for her to travel to Singapore at this time," Grisham said in a statement on Sunday evening.

The first lady, 48, was a notable absence on Friday when the Trump family - Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr, and Tiffany Trump - joined the president on his trip to Camp David.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump return to the White House in Washington. Photo / AP
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump return to the White House in Washington. Photo / AP

Spouses often accompany leaders to G7 meetings. But Melania will not make the trip to Quebec on Friday, where President Trump is expected to get grief for his new tariff policy.

A year ago Melania joined her husband in Taormina, Italy, for a G7 meeting where she famously wore a US$51,000 Dolce & Gabbana jacket. She participated in public appearances with the spouses of other G7 leaders, including a formal dinner and taking in a performance by La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra at the Ancient Theatre of Taormina.

She will also not attend the historic summit with South Korean President Kim Jung Un in Singapore on June 12 where the president hopes to sign a nuclear disarmament deal.

The first lady has gone on other prominent international trips. She joined the president in Asia in November of last year and accompanied him to France in April of this year.

She also made a solo trip to Canada in September of last year to lead the US delegation to the Invictus Games, where she met with Prince Harry.

Before Monday evening, Melania Trump was last seen in public on May 10, when she joined her husband to welcome the return of three Americans who were being held captive in North Korea.

The first lady underwent an embolisation procedure on Monday, May 14, likely to remove a cyst from her kidney. Her office said it was benign, or non-cancerous.

She spent a week in the hospital recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

She returned to the White House on Saturday, May 19. Some medical professionals said the five-day hospitalisation was long for such a procedure.

She didn't join her husband at a White House sports and fitness event on Thursday, where Ivanka Trump was present with the president.

There had been reported sightings but no photographic evidence, which led to much online speculation about her whereabouts.

A CNBC reporter tweeted last week: "Not that this will deter the conspiracy theorists, but I saw the First Lady walking with her aides in the West Wing yesterday afternoon."

In a May 30 tweet, the first lady needled the media for speculating about her whereabouts.

"I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am & what I'm doing. Rest assured, I'm here at the @WhiteHouse w my family, feeling great, & working hard on behalf of children & the American people!"

However, the tweet only brought more questions, as President Trump has been known to use phrases like "working overtime" in his own tweets.

The White House has swatted down some conspiracy theories that have popped up – including one that held she wasn't even in the White House.

The blog Showbiz411 quoted a source as saying the reason the first lady hasn't been seen in public in 21 days is because her mother, Amalija Knavs, is very ill.

A source told the gossip website: "She's taking care of her mother", who is battling a pretty serious illness.

"They're all at Bedminster," the source said. "Melania, her parents, Barron when he's not in school. She's [Melania] not in the White House."

However, the first lady's office knocked down the report as "false".

"Everything about that blog is false and incorrect," Grisham told the

Viktor and Amalija Knavs moved to the Washington DC area after Trump won the election to help care for their grandson, 12-year-old Barron Trump, who is in a local school.

They are legal permanent residents of the United States and often travel with the Trumps.

Grisham told the last week that the first lady has been meeting with her staff on the Be Best initiative and working on upcoming projects like the annual White House congressional picnic and Fourth of July plans.

But the lack of photos of her at work led to multiple conspiracy theories.

Politico reported Wednesday there are a variety of them being bandied about: She's moved back to New York City, she's co-operating with special counsel Robert Mueller, she's living with the Obamas, working on a tell-all book or she had a secret nip and tuck that she's healing from.

Her next appearance may be weeks away.

No date has been set for this year's congressional picnic but last year's took place on June 22 on the White House South Lawn. The White House traditionally hosts a big Fourth of July celebration.