Who Is Stormy Daniels?
Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Gregory Clifford; born March 17, 1979) is a successful adult film actress, writer and director. She was a Penthouse Pet of the Month in 2007 and also works as a stripper, a career she began at the age of 17. In addition to her adult oeuvre, Daniels has appeared in mainstream fare like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up and a Maroon 5 music video. Daniels has alleged that in 2006 she slept with Donald J. Trump (Trump has denied any affair); in 2016, before the U.S. presidential election, she was paid $130,000 after signing an agreement not to discuss her relationship with the then-presidential candidate. Knowledge of this non-disclosure agreement became widely known after a January 2018 Wall Street Journal article discussing the matter, and Daniels subsequently entered the national media spotlight.
Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump
Daniels has alleged she had an affair with Trump after the two met at the American Century celebrity golf tournament in July 2006. That weekend, according to Daniels's account, the two had consensual sex in Trump's hotel room. Daniels has said they continued to keep in touch through 2007, in part because Trump had offered to have Daniels join him on NBC's The Apprentice (an appearance that did not happen). Trump, whose wife Melania had given birth to their son months before the alleged sexual encounter, has denied that any affair took place.
In 2011 Daniels spoke with a reporter about the alleged affair, though the interview remained unpublished until In Touch released it in 2018. In 2016, before the presidential election, Daniels was talking to media outlets, including ABC's Good Morning America, about sharing her story. However, instead of coming forward she decided to accept a $130,000 payment for signing an agreement not to discuss her relationship with Trump.
In January 2018, the Wall Street Journal published an article about this non-disclosure agreement and the alleged sexual encounter. After this, Daniels initially denied any such encounter with Trump had taken place, going so far as to sign a statement to this effect. However, she has since said that the alleged affair did in fact happen, and that she had been pressured to stay silent and hide the truth. Her lawyer has filed a lawsuit to have her released from the NDA, and she has offered to return the $130,000 she was paid.
'In Touch' Interview
In 2011 Daniels spoke to Life & Style, a sister publication of In Touch, about her relationship with Trump. For this she was promised a payment of $15,000. The publication also spoke to people connected to Daniels who were able to confirm some of the details in her version of events. But before any article was published in 2011, Trump's longtime attorney Michael Cohen reportedly threatened a lawsuit and the story was dropped (and Daniels did not receive the $15,000 payment).
After the 2018 Wall Street Journal story about the $130,000 payout to Daniels, In Touch published the 2011 interview. In it, Daniels says that Trump once told her she was beautiful and smart like his daughter, Ivanka. Daniels also revealed that although she'd enjoyed talking to Trump, she hadn't been physically attracted to him when she consented to have sex.
After the Wall Street Journal article, Daniels initially denied having an affair with Trump (Trump's camp also strongly denied that there was any relationship between the two). In February 2018, Cohen admitted he'd made the $130,000 payment; he also stated he'd used his own personal funds, and that neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign had been involved.
From there, Daniels began granting interviews, including an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on January 30, 2018, after Trump's State of the Union address. In February, following the terms of the NDA, Cohen went to a private arbitrator to stop Daniels from speaking about her relationship with Trump; a temporary restraining order was granted.
On March 6th, Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti (who was not representing her when the NDA was signed in 2016), filed a lawsuit to have the NDA dismissed, as Trump had never signed the contract (the agreement uses the pseudonyms Peggy Peterson for Daniels and David Dennison for Trump, and there are places marked for "Dennison" to sign). The suit also states that some of Cohen's public statements violated the NDA.
In addition to arguing that Trump didn't need to sign the NDA, Cohen's side has put forth that by accepting the payment and not contesting the contract for months, Daniels acknowledged its validity. In March, a suit was filed against Daniels calling for $20 million in damages for violating the NDA on multiple occasions (the penalty outlined in the agreement was for Daniels to pay $1 million for each breach). Trump has joined this case.
On April 5, 2018, while aboard Air Force One, Trump told reporters he'd been unaware of the payment Cohen made to Daniels for signing the NDA, and had no knowledge of where the money came from. Trump's admission may work in Daniels's favor — as the contract makes promises that only Trump himself could provide, the statement could provide grounds for Avenatti to depose both Cohen and Trump.
'60 Minutes' Interview
Daniels had an in-depth talk with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes, which aired on March 25, 2018. In this interview, Daniels alleges that she was threatened in 2011, after she'd spoken to a reporter about the alleged affair with Trump. In Daniels' account, she was with her baby daughter in Las Vegas when a man approached to say, "Leave Trump alone. Forget the story," before looking at her daughter and adding, "That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom."
During the interview, Cooper asked Daniels why she'd publicly denied the affair. She answered that she'd done so under pressure, saying she was told, "They can make your life hell in many different ways." Daniels also explained that fears for her family's safety and peace of mind had prompted her to sign the NDA in 2016. But she had now come forward because "I’m not O.K. with being made out to be a liar."
Since making her first pornographic film in 2002 (she appeared in a lesbian scene), Daniels has climbed to the pinnacle of the adult film industry; she's been inducted into three halls of fame and has received numerous awards. In addition to acting, she's a successful writer and director.
For years Daniels was a contract player with Wicked Pictures, a leading brand in adult entertainment. When she wanted to have a child, she coordinated with the studio to ensure that motherhood wouldn't overly disrupt her career: before getting pregnant she made twice as many movies than usual, which ensured new releases would still arrive during her maternity leave. In January 2018, Daniels signed with Digital Playground, another well-known studio in the industry.
Among Daniels' films are Good Will Humping and Space Nuts. She wrote, directed and starred in the award-winning Wanted, a Western epic. And she brought her equine interests into Unbridled, a film about equestrian competitions that she acted in, wrote and directed.
Daniels was 17 when she first started stripping. Already called Stormy in her daily life, it became her stage name; she sometimes went by Stormy Waters before taking inspiration from Jack Daniels whiskey to become Stormy Daniels. She worked her way up to headlining at strip clubs, then started working in pornography.
Daniels continued stripping while working in porn, and the 2018 coverage of her alleged affair with Trump enabled to increase her appearance fees for a national strip club tour. She defended this to Rolling Stone, saying, "We live in a capitalist society. I think if anyone, in any field, was approached and someone said, 'Hi! You know that job you are already doing? Would you like to do it next week for quadruple your normal pay?' Show me one person who would say no."
In addition to adult entertainment, Daniels has been seen in films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Pineapple Express. Other credits include the television shows Party Down and Dirt, and a music video for Maroon 5's "Wake Up Call."
When Was Stormy Daniels Born?
Stormy Daniels was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on March 17, 1979.
Daniels' parents, Sheila Gregory and Bill Gregory, divorced when she was a toddler. She was raised by her mother in Baton Rouge; her father had little involvement in her upbringing.
Daniels was a member of the Class of 1997 at Scotlandville Magnet High School. Though she was accepted by several colleges, she decided to become a stripper instead.
In 2009 Daniels launched a committee to explore becoming a Senate candidate in her home state of Louisiana. Republican Senator David Vitter, a social conservative who'd been involved in the "D.C. Madam" prostitution scandal, was then running for re-election; Daniels took aim at her opponent with the campaign slogan "Screwing People Honestly." (At the time, political consultants working with Daniels learned she had Trump's name among her phone contacts, and she reportedly shared details about the alleged affair.)
In 2009, during this exploratory phase, Daniels was arrested on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge, which was later dropped. She ended her campaign in April 2010, blaming campaign expenses for her withdrawal. She also vowed to "keep fighting so that one day the voices of the dishwashers, cashiers, bus drivers and porn stars will be heard just as loudly as those of the lawyer, the banker and the insurance company executive."
Daniels loved horses as a young girl, and that affection continued into her adult years. She owns several horses and is a nationally ranked equestrian.
Daniels is no longer in touch with her parents. She has been married three times, and shares a daughter with her third husband. They live in a Dallas suburb.
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