Countess Stephanie de la Spirosa first appeared in Tales of Suspense #69. She is presented by Pepper Popps as a former conquest of Tony Stark.
She hadn't forgiven Tony to quit her and wanted revenge. She steals a important gadget in Stark's room while he (as Iron-Man) fights with the Titanium Man. Happy Hogan gets back Iron Man's item and permit to his boss but gets seriously injured.
Soon after, she hired the Mad Thinker in order to discover the real identity of Iron Man and force Tony Stark to come back to her. Iron Man defeated the Mad Thinker and his Awesome Andy and only punished the Countess by making her walk to her hotel on foot.
Some years later, Stephanie married (for her third marriage) Michel Dufours, a extremely rich industrialist. When he died, she inherited his company and his fortune but also had problem with a man named Andreas Kapelos. He found some irregularities in the Dufours Precision Manufacturing Corporation's accounts . So the countess called Tony Stark, who had just created Starks Solutions, to get help.
Tony Starks investigates and discovers that Andreas Kapelos was a weapon dealer. As Iron Man, Tony fights the dreadnought Kapelos sends to him. Kapelos is arrested and Stephanie decides to continue to rule her company as a widow.