How does a porn star become legendary? Take notes. Jenna Jameson has starred in dozens of adult films, been married to two porn actors/directors (Brad Armstrong and Jay Grdina) and wrote a book about “making love like a porn star.” But she’s not just known in the industry. Her name is one teenage boys can hardly say without a giggle.
“I always wanted to be a star,” Jenna told Forbes in 2005. “I’ve always embraced my hardcore roots, but becoming a household name was an important thing to me.” Jenna’s frequent TV appearances and autobiography were the main difference-makers that got her recognition in popular culture.
Her mother was a Vegas showgirl, and Jenna spent time as a young girl practicing ballet. Before she was 18 she had taken up stripping, and soon after, she made up her mind to become a porn star. Much of her work didn’t make it into the public eye, though. From 2005 to 2006 Jenna hosted Jenna’s American Sex Star, a pay-per-view TV series that had contestants competing in sexual performances, with judges including Ron Jeremy and Gene Simmons. The show’s winners received an exclusive contract with Club Jenna, Jenna’s production company. Not long after that, she vowed to “never, ever spread my legs” in the porn industry again.
Twin boys with then-boyfriend Ultimate Fighting Championship star Tito Ortiz arrived in 2009. “The best thing I’ve ever done is make my two unbelievable sent-from-heaven twins,” Jameson wrote on her blog in 2010.
In 2014, after a six-year hiatus, rumors began to swirl that Jenna was returning to the industry after appearing on video sites and at industry events. She hasn’t made a full-fledged video return, but nothing can take away the dozens of Adult Video News awards, NightMoves awards, and many others.
“I think the industry really owes Jenna a debt,” Steven Hirsch, founder and CEO of Vivid Picture, told CNBC. “She really was the first girl to push the industry into the mainstream.”