FORMER White House Dep­uty Press Secretary Judy Smith knows a thing or two about “Scandal” – she’s the real-life inspiration for Ker­ry Washington’s character in ABC’s hit show!

On “Scandal,” Kerry’s character, Olivia Pope, leaves her White House job to form a crisis management firm after having an extramarital affair with the president. Judy, who worked in the White House, has re­peatedly denied that the affair story line is based on her life, has owned the Washington, D.C.-based crisis management firm Smith & Com­pany for the past 25 years.

While working for the Bush ad­ministration, Judy report­edly played an instru­mental role handling the controversy over Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court. She also helped with communication advice on guiding the 1991 Gulf War relations with Kuwait.

Since leaving her White House position, Judy, now a married 54-year-old mother of two, has represented big-name clients – including Monica Lewinsky, Michael Vick and Paula Deen – through some of the country’s big­gest scandals.

“Judy has always been a peace­maker, so it’s no surprise that she has become one of the most

 crisis managers in the country,” a friend revealed. “She’s always the voice of reason but she is straight­forward, and you either handle it her way or get someone else to help you.”

In 2009, Judy met Hollywood writ­er/producer Shonda Rhimes, and the two developed “Scandal” together. Judy was even signed on as a co-exec­utive producer and technical adviser for the show.

The former White House staffer now has a substantial Twitter follow­ing, and she’s enjoying every minute of success that “Scandal” has brought her – even when fans ask personal questions.

“She keeps getting asked about the affair on the show, and if it was based on her and President Bush,” noted the friend. “She always laughs it off and says, ‘No.’”