Washington: Melania Trump attended a White House event for military veterans on Monday, ending a 25-day absence from the public eye that had sent the rumor mills into overdrive.
The US first lady, known for her privacy and independence, had not been seen in public following a surgery last month.
In pictures posted on her official Twitter account, she was seen sitting next to President Donald Trump at a private reception for families of US soldiers killed in action.
She and Trump "were honored to pay tribute to our fallen heroes. Thank you to the Gold Star families that joined us in celebration & remembrance," the tweet said.
Melania, 48, had not been spotted since May 10, when she joined the president in greeting three American hostages released by North Korea.
Shortly afterwards, she entered Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for what the White House said was a benign kidney procedure.
Despite the operation's routine nature, Melania remained there for five days, returning to the White House on May 19.
On Sunday, her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham confirmed that the first lady will not accompany the president to the G7 summit in Canada or the North Korea nuclear summit in Singapore.
Her recent schedule has seen a noticeable shift from the weeks prior to the surgery, when she engaged in several high-profile events.
In April, she represented the Trumps at former first lady Barbara Bush's funeral, rolled out her "Be Best" awareness campaign to help children, and orchestrated an elaborate state dinner for the Macrons of France.
Following the surgery, Melania's absence at events where the public has come to expect her alongside the president was well documented, leading her to take to Twitter to castigate reporters.
"I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am & what I'm doing," she tweeted last week, assuring she was "here at the