New photo of Melania Trump reignites bizarre 'body double' conspiracy

Melania Trump (left) and her alledged "body double" (right).
Melania Trump (left) and her alledged "body double" (right). Photo credit: Left - Getty, Right - Twitter/KhiveBidenBro

A new photo of Melania Trump has reignited an online conspiracy theory that the US first lady has a body double.

The controversial photograph shows Melania smiling while boarding Marine One with husband Donald Trump on October 22.

The photo was a hot topic on social media on Sunday, where many users speculated about her uncharacteristic broad smile.

"Good luck finding any photos of Melania smiling like that," one person tweeted.

The conspiracy theory first emerged when Donald Trump was elected in 2016 where believers insisted a Melania look-alike replaced the real Melania at public events.

Users compared the "fake" Melania with the real one, saying her teeth, lips and wrinkles look different.

"Melania's are more squared...THAT AIN'T HER in the other photo," another person said.

Users also made height comparisons as people contrasted photos of Melania and "fake Melania" side-by-side.

The rumours have circulated online for years - in 2018, believers were convinced a body double exited Air Force One.

In 2019, Donald Trump responded to the #FakeMelania rumours on Twitter, calling the claims "fake news".

"The Fake News photoshopped pictures of Melania, then propelled conspiracy theories that it's actually not her by my side in Alabama and other places. They are only getting more deranged with time!"

Other users have had fun with the rumours, posting pictures of Donald Trump with foreign leaders Kim Jong-un and Boris Johnson with the hashtag #FakeMelania.

On Friday, Melania received a raft of criticism after she announced the White House's Halloween celebration would go ahead, despite COVID-19 risks. 

The conspiracy theories arrive just short of the US presidential election on Wednesday.