Stormy Daniels is a onetime porn star who has approached her growing role in US political history with character and wit -- though her feud with Donald Trump has come with a price.

The adult film actress has done battle with the former president for several years, alleging in 2018 that the two had a sexual relationship the long-ago summer of 2006.

Played out on social media and in front of television cameras, where she is often clad in her trademark pink suit and stilettos -- while behind the scenes she is advised and protected by a phalanx of lawyers.

Trump supporters routinely insult her on social media, echoing the Republican leader who infamously nicknamed her "horse face."

But the 44-year-old Daniels -- who once toyed with entering politics herself -- has largely handled the spotlight with aplomb.

"I have so many messages coming in that I can't respond...also don't want to spill my champagne," she tweeted Thursday while also plugging her #TeamStormy merchandise, after Trump was indicted over hush money paid to her.

Stephanie Clifford -- her real name, though she prefers to use her stage one -- was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and raised by her mother following her parents' divorce.

She was neglected by her family and sexually abused at age nine by an older man, she wrote in a 2018 memoir.

Despite everything, she was a good student, and passionate about horses.

To earn a living, she first turned to striptease, then the adult film industry, where she became a star actress, director and screenwriter, earning several awards.

- Fighting back -

But it was her relationship with Trump that introduced her to the wider American public.

Daniels says she first crossed paths with the real estate mogul in the summer of 2006 during a charity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, on the border between California and Nevada.


Stormy Daniels has waged a years-long feud with Donald Trump, which has played out on social media and in front of the world's television cameras / © AFP/File

The actress had just made a brief appearance in the Judd Apatow film, "The 40-year-old Virgin."

Daniels was 27 at the time and Trump 60.

According to Daniels's account, he invited her to dinner in his suite where he welcomed her in his pajamas on his sofa.

She claims they went on to have what "may have been the least impressive sex I'd ever had."

Trump has denied they ever had sexual relations, accusing Daniels of "extortion" and a "total con job."

What is known for sure is that Daniels received $130,000 just before the 2016 presidential election -- a hush payment.

That payment is at the heart of the Manhattan district attorney's indictment of Trump, reportedly on possible violation of campaign finance laws.

Once the transaction was revealed in 2018, Daniels asked courts to nullify her nondisclosure agreement with Trump and began making the rounds on television shows.

On CBS's "60 Minutes," she said she wanted to set the record straight.

"I'm not a victim," she stated flatly. And even if she was not attracted to him that night in Lake Tahoe, she said their relationship was consensual.

The actress was also clear-eyed about the promises she said Trump made regarding a possible role in the hit show "The Apprentice," in which he starred.

Did she think he was trying to lure her?

"Of course. I mean, I'm not blind. But at the same time, maybe it'll work out," she said, adding that she saw the relationship as a potential career boost.

She has since taunted him with a crude monikers of her own -- such as "Tiny," an unflattering reference to his anatomy.

Daniels, who gave serious consideration to running for a US Senate seat from Louisiana in 2010, has a daughter, and last year married her fourth husband fellow porn actor Barrett Blade.

While she sipped champagne, her attorneys took a more sober stance.

"The indictment of Donald Trump is no cause for joy," they said in a statement. "The hard work and conscientiousness of the grand jurors must be respected. Now let truth and justice prevail."