The National Enquirer paid $150,000 to keep a former Playboy model's 10-month affair with Donald Trump out of the news, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sources tell the Journal that Trump, while married to Melania, had an affair with Karen McDougal, 1998 Playmate of the Year, in 2006 and 2007. According to Jezebel, photos McDougal included in a "Throwback Thursday" tweet in 2015 seem to confirm anecdotes about the affair contained in the Journal's report. The Journal states McDougal appeared ready to go public with the affair, signing a $150,000 contract with American Media Inc., owner of the Enquirer, for exclusive lifetime rights to her story. But the Enquirer never ran it.
The Journal reports this is a practice called "catch and kill" that tabloids use to keep certain stories from getting out there. As part of the contact, which the Journal saw, McDougal, who sources say expected the Enquirer to run the story, was not allowed to talk about the affair with anyone else. American Media, whose CEO is friends with Trump, tells the Journal it never "paid people to kill damaging stories about Mr. Trump." It claims the contract was for McDougal to write a monthly column, among other things. The Journal reports McDougal never wrote for or appeared in any American Media publications after signing the contract. A Trump spokesperson says rumors about an alleged affair are "totally untrue."