The Untold Truth Of Jenna Jameson

The following article references addiction and sexual assault.

Jenna Jameson is one of the few adult film performers to have become famous for having sex onscreen, only to become even more famous for not having sex onscreen. In the process, she also managed to launch both porn and herself into the mainstream. 

For Jameson, porn wasn't a goal so much as it was a means to an end. "When I was 17, I knew that I was going to be a star," she once told Entertainment Weekly, "and I was going to become a star one way or another. It wasn't about the money. I wanted fame." That was a goal she achieved, with adult movies serving as a vehicle toward stardom — while also pulling off the tricky balancing act of putting her porno past behind her. 

In recent years, Jameson has positioned herself in the spotlight due to an array of factors that have nothing to do with porn, ranging from motherhood to her diet to getting diagnosed with a severe medical condition that affects one in 100,000 people. Although Jenna Jameson has been part of the pop-culture landscape since the 1990s, there's a lot about her that may not be commonly known. To find out more, read on and discover the untold truth of Jenna Jameson. 

Jenna Jameson overcame a difficult childhood

Jenna Jameson had a challenging childhood, with her world thrown into a tailspin when she was just three years old. That, The Age recounted, was when her mother, a Las Vegas showgirl, died from melanoma. Her family struggled financially following her mother's death, and in an attempt to support himself and his kids, her father ended up taking a job with the Las Vegas Sheriff's Department. However, that gig only brought on more trouble for them. Per the outlet, her dad began "a one-man, anti-corruption crusade" which resulted in mobsters trying to kidnap his children. After the incident, the family moved around a lot, and Jameson started using drugs with both her brother and her father. In her teens, she was sexually assaulted twice, once by a four teenage boys who beat her until she was unconscious and "left her for dead."

"There were a lot of things that happened that would have broken anybody else," Jameson said of her upbringing in The Sydney Morning Herald. "I was able to survive. That's all that really matters."

Asked by CNN's Anderson Cooper whether her painful past contributed to her choice of career, she said, "It's something that I've thought about a lot, and I can't really say for sure if that is reasoning behind why I've gotten into the adult industry."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Her meteoric rise in adult entertainment

When she was still in high school, Jenna Jameson was so determined to land a job dancing at a strip club that she became an amateur orthodontist. As she recalled on "E! True Hollywood Story," she promptly landed the gig after she pulled the braces off her teeth using a set of pliers. She was soon raking in $2,000 a night. 

Changing her last name from Massoli to Jameson (as she shared on "THS," she saw the surname in a phonebook and it stuck), she set out for California. In the spring of 1993, she filmed her first X-rated movie. With that, her career hit the ground running. As Forbes recounted, she soon signed a contract that guaranteed her "$6,000 a month to perform in eight to ten feature films a year." She then launched her ClubJenna multimedia company, which at its peak earned tens of millions each year. That success, noted Biography, led to exposure beyond the world of porn, including popping up in animated comedy "Family Guy," lending her voice to video games "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" and "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4," and appearing in Eminem's music video for "Without Me." 

As Jameson told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper in 2004, she was proud to be one of the top stars in "a billion-dollar industry." By that point, she contended, pornography had become more mainstream than ever before. "So everybody watches porn," Jameson told Cooper. "It's just a fact of the matter."

She debated anti-porn activists and won

Jenna Jameson was invited to Britain's Oxford University in 2001 to go head-to-head with a panel of anti-porn activists. As a profile in Paper Magazine pointed out, Jameson was declared the winner. 

Looking back at the experience, she told Esquire, she wasn't exactly brimming with confidence when she was initially presented with the offer to debate. "How am I going to do this? I barely got a diploma. How do I debate against professors?" she remembered thinking. At the start of the match, she could see that "many people in the audience were against me." However, as she spoke, she realized her "passion" she had while arguing won a lot of the people in the crowd over. When an Oxford debate concludes, it's traditional for the audience to vote for the results by exiting through one of two doors, one for the pro side, the other for con. "I stood there watching nearly everybody go through the pro door," she recalled. "It was beautiful."

In 2015, The Mirror reported that Jameson's honorary membership in Oxford's Junior Common Room (JCR) was rescinded. According to the JCR's motion, which passed by a 26-22 vote, Jameson's membership "reflects badly on us as a student body," declaring that "we are not in the business of promoting an industry that is often (if not always) demeaning to women, which propagates the idea of the female body as a sex object."

She sprinkled her hit memoir with sex tips

Jenna Jameson opened up her life like never before with the release of her candid memoir "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star," subtitled "A Cautionary Tale." As the book's name suggests, Jameson leaned on her experience as an adult film star to share sex tips, while also telling the story of her life. Co-written with Neil Strauss, Jameson's book included her boast that she was "the most downloaded person online," per The New York Times.

As The Guardian pointed out in their review, Jameson's life story — to that point, anyway, considering she was just 30 when the book came out — was complicated. Even so, the outlet concluded, "Jenna Jameson's story has a happy ending, but not one that moralists will be able to stomach. She got her happy ending because of porn, not in spite of it." Without the stardom she achieved in X-rated movies, the outlet theorized, Jameson would never have become the celebrity she did, instead remaining "a Vegas biker's girlfriend content to get high on crank, perhaps still stripping at a local dive and not going anywhere."

The book proved to be a huge success. As Reuters reported (via Today), Jameson's tome spent several months on The New York Times bestseller list. This, she told Reuters, was because readers were curious about learning about the person behind the explicit onscreen sex, because "there are more facets to me besides spreading my legs."

Jenna Jameson became a Howard Stern regular

If there's any single person who could claim responsibility for bringing Jenna Jameson from the fringes of porn to a mainstream audience, it's Howard Stern. While Stern is known these days for his probing celebrity interviews, during the 1990s he had a well-deserved reputation as the king of radio raunch, and frequently welcomed porn stars on his massively popular radio show. Jameson landed on the program, noted "E! True Hollywood Story," when she sent Stern some photos and received an invitation for the first of what would be many appearances, and then a role in Stern's autobiographical movie "Private Parts." 

As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, it was all that exposure on Stern's show that "helped her develop the kind of stardom that has made her a fixture on Hollywood's A-list party circuit." Her game-changing role in "Private Parts," however, was something that Jameson had to earn. According to a story in the New York Daily News, she was one of about 25 women to audition for the role of Mandy in the movie, a part that required not just "all-out nudity," but also "seven lines of dialogue." 

Discussing her "Private Parts" role with Film Threat, Jameson recalled it was "a fun scene ... Howard kept wanting to do retakes ... We had the best time, I just skipped around the set nude, and the PAs kept wanting to give me a robe, I think they were more uncomfortable than I was!"

A shocking retirement announcement

Jenna Jameson's reign as the queen of porn came to an end in 2008. While accepting an award at the AVN Awards, a.k.a. the Oscars of smut, Jameson referenced the "crazy year" she'd been having, and all the intense tabloid scrutiny of that craziness. During her speech, she addressed an Us Weekly report at the time that she was planning to retire from the line of work that made her a star — and confirmed it was true. "Honesty is key," Jameson told the audience. "I will never, ever, ever spread my legs again in this industry — ever!" 

Jameson subsequently gave birth to twin sons Jesse and Journey, fathered by Ultimate Fighting Championship star Tito Ortiz, and in a 2010 interview with W Magazine revealed motherhood drove her decision to exit porn. "The moment I decided to have children, I quit," she said. "I won't even do a Maxim cover."

Jameson continued to contend she was done with porn for good in an interview with "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" "I've had a lot of people question me, saying, 'Why haven't you made a comeback? It'd be easy for you to make multimillions off of one or two scenes," Jameson said. "To be honest, I made a promise to my children when they were in my tummy, that there is no way that I would ever, ever, ever go back."

Why she returned to porn in 2013

Despite her assurances she was done with porn, Jenna Jameson's retirement from the adult entertainment industry didn't turn out to be as permanent as she had promised. In 2013, she threw her hat back in the ring — although it was not quite the same way she'd participated in the past. As TMZ reported, Jameson had begun doing webcam shows, "stripping and doing sex acts online in exchange for tips."

Ironically, the same thing that led her to quit porn was behind her decision to re-enter the business: her children. "My motivation is to take care of my family," she said of her decision to do webcam porn. In the years after her retirement, noted the New York Daily News, Jameson had split with her twins' father, Tito Ortiz, and was in the midst of an expensive custody battle. Meanwhile, money had become tight; as an earlier TMZ story noted, her Los Angeles mansion went into foreclosure and was auctioned off after she fell more than $50,000 behind in mortgage payments.  

As CNBC reported in 2014, Jameson went on to host that year's erotic XBiz Awards, described as one of the adult film industry's "major events," and had also partnered with a sex-toy manufacturer for a "Jameson-branded product." As XBiz president Alec Helmy said, "I think it would be safe to assume those decision[s] are business decisions rather than personal decisions."

Jenna Jameson's sobriety journey

In 2012, TMZ was the first to report that Jenna Jameson was arrested for driving under the influence. According to the outlet — which published her mugshot — she caught the attention of police when she crashed into a pole. After failing a field sobriety test, she was arrested "on misdemeanor suspicion of DUI." A few months later, TMZ reported that she entered a guilty plea and avoided any jail time, instead sentenced to three years of probation, which included mandatory attendance of a three-month-long alcohol education program, and a Mothers Against Drunk Driving program.

For Jameson, her DUI arrest was the impetus for getting sober once and for all. So serious was Jameson about sobriety, in 2015 she launched a new Instagram account titled Sober Girls Rule, an online support group where women could share their stories and lift each other up. 

In 2019, she commemorated four years of sobriety with a heartfelt post on Instagram. "We do recover. We do overcome. We do rebuild," she wrote. "But we never forget." She went on to lament the stigma that hovers over people who live with addiction before adding, "I am public about my struggle and eventual healing to help others, but we can all be the light for someone." Two years later, she marked the anniversary with a short but effective post: "6 years. #wedorecover #sobriety #sober."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

She converted to Judaism for love

After the implosion of her six-year relationship with Tito Ortiz, Jenna Jameson met Lior Bitton, a diamond dealer. As she revealed in an Instagram post, they met when they were neighbors, "and our balconies were across from each other. We would see each other all day but never spoke." The non-talking neighbors continued that way for a year, until Jameson finally broke the silence and invited him over to her place for dinner. "He must have liked my cooking because he never left," she teased.

In 2015, Bitton announced via Instagram that they'd gotten engaged. Around that same time, reported E! News, Jameson began the process to convert to Judaism before they married, and had begun studying Hebrew. Later that year, Bitton revealed that his fiancée's conversion and their wedding preparations were being documented for a reality show. "It's a bit stressful because I'm not used to being in front of the cameras," said Bitton of the experience. "But I can assure you there won't be any 'adult content' in the show. I'm not going there."

While that reality show was apparently not picked up by any television outlet or streaming service, some of the footage shot seemingly found its way to "Just Jenna," described by IMDb as "a dramedy short that explores Jenna Jameson's conversion to Judaism and life after porn." 

The reason she quit Twitter

While Jenna Jameson maintains a large following on Instagram, she ended her relationship with Twitter several years ago. As People reported, in January 2019 she issued her penultimate tweet before deleting her account. "Alright I'm taking an indefinite break from Twitter," she wrote. "It's near impossible to just have normal conversations without hundreds of people attacking me for the past I cannot change."

She added a bit more context in a second tweet, her last before exiting the social media platform. In that followup tweet, she referenced her recent decision to convert to Judaism in order to marry fiancé Lior Bitton. "I want to clarify why I'm leaving," Jameson wrote. "My sobriety and faith are the most important things to me. I am being attacked for my faith. Being Jewish. I must protect my love for G-d above everything, my sobriety and strength stem from him and his grace." 

Jameson returned to Twitter later that year, with Jezebel reporting on some controversial tweets she issued about opposing vaccinations and an odd conspiracy theory about "social conditioning." As of January 2022, Jameson's Twitter account was inactive.

Jenna Jameson became an advocate for breastfeeding

Jenna Jameson and fiancé Lior Bitton welcomed their first child together in 2017, introducing daughter Batel Lu in an Instagram post. A few months after her daughter's birth, in June 2017 Jameson shared a photo on Instagram in which Batel Lu is breastfeeding. Instead of a caption, Jameson simply left a hashtag, #NormalizeBreastfeeding. A few days later, she posted a similar picture, with the same hashtag.

More than a year later, Jameson was still breastfeeding her daughter — and still posting about breastfeeding on Instagram. Alongside a pic she shared in October 2018, she wrote, "18 months nursing this little angel. I can't describe the incredible bond full term breastfeeding creates. It's hard work, time consuming and sometimes frustrating... but I wouldn't change one second."

While opinions vary as to how long a mother should continue to breastfeed a baby, Jameson proved she was in it for the long haul when, in April 2019, she shared another breastfeeding snapshot on Instagram. "Over 2 years with no end in sight," she wrote in the caption. She posted yet another pic in June 2019, declaring it was now "26 months breastfeeding this little lady." Even though the child's "second molars" were coming in, Jameson confirmed that Batel Lu was "on the boob non stop."

When Jenna Jameson went keto

Like many women, Jenna Jameson gained some weight during her pregnancy with daughter Batel Lu. After giving birth, she started following a ketogenic diet, described by MSN as a "low-carb diet plan" in which adherents eat a lot of fat and a "moderate amount of protein." As she shared on Instagram in 2018, she also incorporated intermittent fasting into her diet plan. 

After embarking on a strict keto diet, Jameson began posting selfies — which she split-screened with postpartum photos of herself in order to demonstrate the dramatic before-and-after effects of going keto. In one post, she shared a snapshot of herself one month after giving birth (a photo she had earlier promised herself that nobody would ever see), alongside another featuring her far-svelter self about a year-and-a-half later. A few months after that, she shared another set of before-and-after pics, revealing she'd reached her goal of losing 80 pounds, as well as detailing what she ate in a typical day. Thanks to those and other posts, reported Vox, Jameson became a regular fixture on the Women's Health website; in fact, noted Vox, between July 2018 and February 2019, the site had posted approximately 50 stories about Jameson's experience with going keto. 

In April 2020, Jameson shared with her IG followers that the pandemic shutdown was "disastrous" for her diet and she was "super ready to get back on a healthy regimen."

Her porn career has generated an impressive net worth

Jenna Jameson has made a lot of money over the years, and has apparently spent a lot as well. While her fortunes dipped considerably in the middle part of the 2010s, when her home was sold at foreclosure auction, she's since bounced back. 

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Jameson is reportedly worth $5 million. While that's a respectable sum of money to be sitting on, it's chump change compared to the kind of dough she was raking in during her porn-star heyday. According to a 2005 article in Forbes, Jameson's ClubJenna multimedia company was projected to bring in revenues of $30 million for that year alone, a 30 percent increase over the previous year. In 2006, reported HuffPost, Jameson sold ClubJenna to Playboy. While terms of the deal weren't disclosed, the sale included ClubJenna's "film production business, a video library, a network of websites and a DVD retail distribution pact."

As for where all that cash may have gone, Jameson's ex Tito Ortiz made a shocking claim in a 2019 interview with DJ Vlad. He alleged Jameson had become addicted to OxyContin and squandered her fortune. "She was losing everything," said Ortiz. "She blew through $8 million in a four-year period. I was taken aback by it. ... I told her, you're not gonna have any money one day."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Jenna Jameson was diagnosed with a rare illness

Jenna Jameson made headlines in early 2022 when she revealed her doctors believed she'd been stricken by Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that results in "muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis"; symptoms are usually temporary, lasting anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. Jameson's partner, Lior Bitton, first shared the news of her diagnosis on Instagram on January 8. As he explained, Jameson had been vomiting for two weeks before finally agreeing to go to the hospital. When she was sent home, Jameson had difficulty getting around, and ultimately "wasn't able to walk" at all.

Jameson herself subsequently offered an update on her condition, writing on Instagram that her doctors suspected Guillain-Barré, and were treating her accordingly. She also confirmed that her symptoms were not brought about by the COVID-19 vaccine — because she had not been vaccinated. "I did NOT get the jab or any jab," she wrote. "This is NOT a reaction to the jab." 

On January 12, 2022, Bitton shared that Jameson was "not doing so well" and would be undergoing "many neurological tests" to "make sure it's Guillain-Barré syndrome." He continued, "It was kind of confirmed, but after the treatment ... they have second thoughts." He also thanked Jameson's followers for their support and well wishes.