Stormy Daniels: Woman at center of Trump indictment
Adult film star Stormy Daniels has built a lucrative business empire around her alleged 2006 sexual encounter with former President Donald Trump and earned legions of fans for her breezy retorts to those who cast her as an immoral woman.
Her popularity and profits appeared to get a boost with the news of Trump's indictment on Thursday in a case involving a $130,000 hush payment she received in the waning days of his 2016 election campaign.
"Thank you to everyone for your support and love!" she posted on Twitter after news of the criminal charges broke. "#Teamstormy merch/autograph orders are pouring in."
Daniels, 44, is an author, director and media personality. She launched her own reality TV show, "Spooky Babes", in which she searches haunted houses as a "paranormal investigator", and she once flirted with a US Senate bid as a Democrat-turned-Republican.
When a Twitter user asked what "the whore" was doing one day this week, Daniels responded, "Not sure why you're curious but... Just fed my horse and mucked stalls, signing photos and #teamstormy shirts and mailing them, booking crew/location for a music video I'm directing, floating in my pool and then my live show."
"Basically the usual," she added.
She is not shy about capitalizing on the attention around her connection to Trump. She points out he has done the same - but, in her view, has faced far less criticism.
"You take the opportunity," Daniels said on a Wednesday livestream on OnlyFans, an online subscription platform known for adult content, according to a report by British newspaper The Independent. "Isn't that what America is all about?"
Trump has raised more than $2 million for his legal defense since predicting on March 18 that he would soon be arrested, according to his campaign. A Trump fundraising group sent an email asking supporters for more contributions after his indictment.
After he announced his impending arrest, searches for Daniels on the website Pornhub jumped 21,655%, according to the site's research and analysis branch.
A spokesperson for Daniels could not be reached for comment.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is married to a fellow adult film star and has a young daughter and a horse farm, according to her social media profiles.
Her childhood was marred by sexual assault and poverty. Growing up in Louisiana with a single mother, "we were just trash. And my mom was a trainwreck, and my clothes didn't fit, and I was poor and I smelled," Daniels told Vice News in 2021.
Daniels said she had been a straight-A student and editor of her high school newspaper when she left home and started stripping to support herself.
She continued working in adult entertainment after graduating high school and began her career in adult films in 2002, according to the Vice News interview. Daniels soon began winning industry awards and landed roles in TV shows and films such as "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up".
Daniels has said she received the hush money in exchange for keeping silent about a sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006. Trump has denied having the affair and initially disputed knowing anything about the payment.
It is unclear what charges he will face, and he has signaled he will continue his 2024 bid for the presidency as he fights the case.
In an interview with Britain's Times newspaper on Friday, Daniels called the indictment "vindication" and referred to a vulgar comment Trump made in a 2005 recording in which he boasted about forcing himself on women.
"But it's bittersweet," she said. "He's done so much worse that he should have been taken down before. I am fully aware of the insanity of it being a porn star. But it's also poetic; this pussy grabbed back."