Photos: How Donald Trump Rose to the Top

The business mogul turned presidential hopeful has had a long life in the spotlight.

Donald Trump isn't one to stay out of the spotlight. The real estate mogul first explored a presidential run in the 2000 campaign, but he didn't rise to political popularity until the current presidential race, in which his "outsider" status has been an asset.

His candidacy has been a divisive one thus far. Trump has received considerable backlash for derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants, claims that John McCain was not a war hero, and insinuations that Muslim-Americans should be tracked in a database, among other controversial remarks.

As of Nov. 22, Trump maintained his lead in the polls, trailed by former neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Donald Trump (left) was the fourth of five children, born on June 14, 1946. (Instagram/realdonaldtrump)
Donald Trump (second from left) was sent to the New York Military Academy at age 13. He graduated in 1964 and attended Fordham University before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania.  (Instagram/realdonaldtrump )
Trump graduated from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania in 1964. Pictured here, he stands next to his father, Fred Trump. (Instagram/realdonaldtrump)
After graduating from Wharton, Trump joined his father's real estate company Elizabeth Trump & Son, which he later renamed the Trump Organization. Pictured here are his plans for a proposed convention center in New York City in the early 1970s. (Instagram/Donald Trump)
Over the course of the mid-1970s and 1980s, Trump expanded his Manhattan real estate empire with a popular Grand Hyatt near Grand Central Station and Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. Pictured above, he stands next to Trump Rink in the early 1980s. (Instagram/realdonaldtrump)
Trump and his then-wife, Ivana Trump, stand together at a reception prior to the Hotel Industry Annual Candlelight Gala held at New York's Plaza Hotel in 1991. Ivana was Trump's first wife and the mother of his first three children. The two worked closely on early real estate ventures. (AP Photo/Luis Ribeiro)
In 1987, Trump published "The Art of the Deal," which topped the New York Times Bestseller list.  (Amazon )
Trump tours his Taj Mahal Casino Resort with New Jersey Gov. Jim Florio on opening day, April 5, 1990, in Atlantic City. Later that year, the real estate market declined and the Trump Organization flirted with bankruptcy, from which it later recovered. (AP Photo/Mike Derer))
Trump and Marla Maples greet the press with their newborn daughter, Tiffany, as they leave St. Mary's Hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1993. The pair married later that year, and the marriage ended officially in 1999. (AP Photo/Hans Deryk)
Melania Knauss and Donald Trump sit ringside for the Lennox Lewis-Michael Grant WBC/IBF Heavyweight Championship fight in 2000 at New York's Madison Square Garden. The couple married in 2005, and Melanie gave birth to Barron William Trump in 2006. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Trump congratulates Lynnette Cole after she was crowned Miss USA 2000 in Branson, Missouri. Trump was one of the owners of the pageant, but after his inflammatory statements about Mexican immigrants during his presidential announcement this year, NBC and Univision ended their relationship with Trump and Miss Universe. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Trump formed a 1999 exploratory committee to test a potential Reform Party presidential candidacy. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
In this Nov. 2, 2002 photo, Trump holds a driver up on the 11th green of his newly-acquired Ocean Trails Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.  (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Trump sits with Carolyn Kepcher, left, at open auditions for the second season of his reality television show "The Apprentice" on March 18, 2004 in New York.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
"The Apprentice" was a hit show for several years and saw spin-offs such as "The Celebrity Apprentice." (Instagram/realdonaldtrump)
Trump greets Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. Trump was an aggressive leader of the "birther" movement, a group that demanded President Obama's birth certificate.  (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino and Caesars Atlantic City Hotel and Casino, left back., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. In 2014, Trump filed a lawsuit to have his named removed from the Atlantic City casinos, claiming he no longer controlled them. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)
On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump delivers remarks during his announcement that he will run for president of the United States. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trump poses with his family after his presidential announcement in the lobby of Trump Tower. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trump speaks at an Oct. 29 rally. (AP Photo/Lance Iversen)