Through all of Donald Trump's recent birtherific media blitz--which has him tied for first place among likely 2012 candidates in national polls of Republicans--it's easy to forget that this now "credible" presidential candidate has been making headlines for years. And for one very simple reason: Trump gives good quote. And he's always been willing to fashion the narrative of his professional and private lives into whatever a desperate editor wants. Long before reality star peers like Kim Kardashian figured out how to make news by getting their beach bodies back, Donald Trump was the story that kept on giving. And giving and giving. Behold, a visual timeline of The Donald's career as a covergirl:

In 1986, The Donald assured us he'd still make big bucks after President Reagan's progressive tax code overhaul. See? He's always been interested in politics.

The 1989 stock market crash was not kind to Trump's real estate empire and his company began missing loan payments. Plus his affair with socialite Marla Maples was threatening his marriage to Ivana Trump. The New York tabloids were in love. (Scan courtesy of Robert Newman's tweet)

 

By the summer of 1990, his drama had gone national. Here's Trump facing "a mid-life crisis, then public humiliation."

By 1993, he and Maples were hitched and ready for a comeback! Here's nice-guy Trump in 1994 with his new wife Maples posing for their "family values."

When their marriage fell apart in the late 1990s, it was back to the cover of People.

And of course, Trump was a habit the New York tabloids could never give up. Here's a couple more recent (of many) headlines.

 

This, of course, only scratches the surface. Have any others laying around? Email them to us and we'll add them here.