Not all the stars of Thursday night's prime-time Republican presidential debate were candidates. One of them was a moderator, Megyn Kelly, who went toe-to-toe with Donald Trump on the GOP front-runner's objectionable comments and tweets about women.

It was a heated moment. Kelly pointed out that Trump had called women "slobs," "disgusting animals" and "fat pigs" and asked whether that was the kind of temperament Americans want in their president.

Trump was not pleased. He tried to undercut Kelly in his answer, saying she's not very nice, before deflecting the charges with a riff on political correctness.

Apparently Trump was still fuming after the two-hour debate ended.

"I thought Megyn behaved very badly," he told reporters in the spin room.

[17 classy photos from Thursday's Republican debate]

On Friday, as he usually does, Trump reserved his most vitriolic comments for an early-morning Twitter rant. He retweeted supporters who called Kelly a "bimbo" and said this:

[Is Megyn Kelly Donald Trump's kryptonite?]

So who is this person taking the brunt of Donald Trump's frustrations about the debate? If you're not one of the millions of viewers already watching her show nightly, we put together a brief bio for you:


(Jesse Dittmar/ For The Washington Post.)

Name: Born Megyn Kendall

Home town: Albany, N.Y.

Birth date: Sometime in 1970

Important childhood moment: Her father died suddenly of a heart attack when she was 15. Kelly has called that moment "in many ways ... a gift."

"It's forced me to change my life when I'm unhappy," she told The Washington Post's Dan Zak in a 2013 interview.

Past jobs: She was a corporate lawyer, which Kelly said she didn't like very much: "I swung and I missed a little bit with the law — I was good at it, but it didn’t make me happy," she told Zak.

Then she got into TV, starting off as a daytime anchor on Fox’s “America Live” and “America’s Newsroom” with Bill Hemmer.

Current job: Host of "The Kelly File," a Fox News show that airs weeknights at 9 p.m. Eastern time.

"The Kelly File's" 2013 prime-time launch immediately earned rave reviews. "Its ratings among 25-to-54-year-olds have exceeded those of 'The O’Reilly Factor' six times," wrote Zak that year.

[Photo gallery: The lifestyle of Megyn Kelly]

Current ratings: Kelly's combative interview style -- she frequently interrupts her guests to ask tough questions and bluntly challenge their point of view  -- seems to have won over viewers. In July, her show had 2.3 million viewers, second only to the No. 1 show on cable, "The O'Reilly Factor," which has 2.6 million viewers.

She's catching up quickly. In June, she actually topped O'Reilly in ratings among viewers ages 25 to 54.


(Fox News via AP)

Biggest TV moments: Besides Thursday's debate, Kelly's exclusive June interview with the Duggar family matriarch and patriarch about their son Josh's child molestation scandal drew 3.1 million viewers and was the top cable news show that day.

Before the Duggars came the Santa Claus controversy. In December 2013, just a few months after her show's launch, Kelly aired a segment about a controversial Slate essay titled "Santa Claus should not be a white man anymore."

Kelly said, "For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white, but this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have  a black Santa."

She said later in the show that Jesus is white as well -- a comment she took heat for. Two days later, she said on the show that her comments had been "tongue in check" and that Jesus's skin color is "far from settled."

TV philosophy: Give voice to Fox News viewers' emotions.

“People feel validated when they hear their own emotions accurately described by someone on television,” Kelly told Zak. "I think it’s like scratching an itch, to hear someone in a position of power — somebody with a big microphone at least — give voice to what you’re feeling."

Political philosophy: Attack everyone, support no one.

Kelly's show is definitely tailored to a conservative audience -- she covered the 2013 HealthCare.gov Web site failures vigorously as "OBAMACARE FALLOUT," but she does not focus on punditry and long, opinionated monologues on her show like the Sean Hannitys and O'Reillys of the world. It's somewhat unique in that regard on Fox prime-time, a space generally reserved for more opinionated shows.

“I enjoy covering the boxing match, but I don’t back a player in the ring,” Kelly told Zak. “And that’s the truth. I’m not a political person, and I never have been.”

Haters philosophy: Try to ignore them.

After the Santa Claus controversy, she had this to say to Zak:

"The more I respond to the naysayers, the less I have of myself. I don’t have to convince anybody. And nine times out of 10 the people who are haters are not convinceable anyway."


Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly sits for a portrait in the News Corp. Building, New York in 2013. (Photo by Jesse Dittmar for The Washington Post.)