Not too long ago, the adult film industry was in a state of perpetual growth. In the late 90s and early 00s, those who were struggling to make ends meet could make six figures for a day's work if they were willing to strip down to their birthday suit and let a camera crew film the whole thing. X-rated videotapes and DVDs were in high demand, with millions upon millions of units being moved every day.
Those who appeared in these films went from being obscure actors forced into a sleazy area of the entertainment industry due to a lack of opportunities to legitimate Hollywood celebrities. Yes, two decades ago, adult films were a kingdom and those who starred in them were kings and queens. Then the internet happened. With virtually every adult film ever recorded accessible for free through their computers, adult film connoisseurs had no reason to continue spending money on DVDs and videos, and so the entire industry went from boom to, ironically, bust.
Shortly after the crumbling of the pornography empire, there was a mass exodus of the adult film industry with stars scurrying out of the wreckage as fast as their tanned legs could carry them. While many former adult film stars have struggled to adjust to life outside the business, a number of them have managed to put the past behind them and carve out nice lives in the real world. It is the latter we’re going to be focusing on today.
Here are 15 retired adult film stars who got (comparatively) regular jobs.
15 Raylene - Real Estate + Mom
Performing under the name “Raylene”, Glendora, California native Stacey Bernstein starred in a staggering 492 adult films. Somewhat ironically, Raylene’s original goal was to obtain a degree in Christian studies at Azusa Pacific University, which would then allow her to become a Christian high school teacher. For a number of reasons, that didn’t materialize right away, and when Vivid Entertainment came knocking with a big money offer, Raylene’s Christian dreams fell by the wayside.
After leaving the adult film industry in 2001, Raylene began a career in real estate. However, the global recession of 2009 forced her to return to the murky world of adult films in order to support herself and her young son. In 2014, Raylene announced via Twitter that she had brought an end to her adult film career for good.
14 Houston - Real Estate (But Holds Nursing Degree)
In 1999, Salon referred to Houston (real name Kimberly Halsey) as “a surgically enhanced cartoon bombshell” before likening her to a love child of Jessica Rabbit and Bart Simpson. While this description isn’t entirely inaccurate, it does not quite convey how drop dead gorgeous Houston was at the height of her career. During her time in the adult film industry, she starred in 78 movies, including the infamous The World’s Biggest Gangbang 3: The Houston 620, which saw her have intercourse with 620 men without a minute’s rest.
Since leaving the adult entertainment industry, Houston has seen her ups and downs. She had an unsuccessful foray into the world of real estate before being diagnosed with cancer, which she thankfully beat. Today, the former actress is known to attend church with her offspring and holds a degree in nursing.
13 Tiffany Million - Bounty Hunter And Private Investigator
Tiffany Million got her start as a professional wrestler back in the late 1980s and found early fame as a member of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling promotion. She made her first film in 1992 and made close to 100 in the following two years. Those two years made up Million’s most prolific period and she would only make a further 34 films before leaving the adult film industry shortly after.
Although Tiffany does not like to discuss certain parts of her time in the adult film industry, she does maintain a website in order to keep in touch with her fans and inform them of the latest developments in her life. Today, the former adult film star is a mother of two and is, by her own account, happily married. Using her real name, she works as a bounty hunter and private investigator for Skye-Lane Investigations, drawing on her experience in professional wrestling to keep unsavory characters off the streets.
12 Crissy Moran - Helps People With Promiscuity Issues
Although Crissy Moran’s time in the adult film industry was quite brief when compared to some of the other entries on this list, she became a favorite of the internet and shot more than 50 adult films, starting with her first in 2001 and ending with her final film in 2006. Moran left the adult entertainment industry after becoming a born-again Christian.
Since retiring from the world of adult films, Moran has begun a crusade against adult entertainment, which she believes contributes to sex trafficking and the incessant objectification of women. In 2013, Moran began working for Treasures, which is a nonprofit organization designed to help women pull themselves out of sexual promiscuity and live a life more in keeping with the message of the Gospels.
11 Shelley Lubben - Organized Foundation For Former Actors/Actresses And Help With Addiction
In keeping with our theme of actors discovering religion and leaving the industry, let’s take a look at Shelley Lubben who first began working in adult films at 24 years of age in an attempt to get herself out of prostitution. Despite her baffling good looks and obvious talents, Lubben’s career in the adult film industry would last just one year. She decided to leave the business in 1994 after a series of injuries (including uterine hemorrhaging) forced her to reevaluate her career path.
In 2005, Lubben waged an all out war on the adult entertainment industry. Two years later, in January of 2007, she established the Pink Cross Foundation. Through the Pink Cross Foundation, Lubben raises awareness of the plight of adult film stars and sex workers. The former actress plays a hands-on role in the counselling of women who have suffered as a result of the working in adult films. The organization also offers programs to treat sex and adult entertainment addiction.
10 Tera Patrick - Owns Production Company + Writer
Performing under the name “Tera Patrick”, Montana-born Linda Ann Hopkins became one of the most successful stars of her time (or anybody’s time, for that matter). After making her first movie in 1999, Patrick rose through the ranks to become a recognized face both in and out of the adult film industry. Along with appearing in 130 adult films during her career, Patrick was featured in the 2007 Will Ferrell movie Blades of Glory, starred in the music video for Everlast’s "I Can’t Move", and was included as a playable character in the controversial video game Backyard Wrestling 2.
Since leaving the adult entertainment industry, Patrick has become something of an entrepreneur. The now 40-year-old has plenty of irons in the fire to keep her busy in the real world. She owns and operates her own production company, TeraVision INC, as well as an eBay store, through which she sells her merchandise. Patrick has also enjoyed a degree of success as a writer and in 2010 released her autobiography to critical acclaim.
9 Bree Olson - Actress + Advocate Against The Industry
Despite retiring from making adult films before even reaching the age of 30, Houston, Texas native Bree Olson has left an indelible mark on the industry. With her long blonde hair and flawless face, Olson managed to succeed in the world of pornography at a time when everybody else was floundering. From her rookie year in 2006 to her last hurrah in 2011, Olson starred in over 200 adult films and captured over a dozen awards for her work.
Since leaving the adult film industry, Bree Olson has transitioned into mainstream acting and has appeared in films such as The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) and Director’s Cut. Over the past couple of years, she has been a vocal critic of the adult entertainment world and has penned multiple essays urging young women to avoid entering it.
8 Amber Lynn - Real Estate + Works With Charitable Organizations
Amber Lynn has been involved in the adult entertainment industry since going into business with her brother, director Buck Adams, in 1983. After shooting her first adult film - it’s called Personal Touch, for those who were wondering - Adams went on to star in a total of 405 further productions. Unlike a lot of other entrants on this list, Lynn has no negative feelings about her time in the adult film industry. In fact, she seems to be quite passionate about the business of porn and although she has not shot a film in over a year, she has been reluctant to announce her complete retirement.
No longer a regular on-screen performer, Amber Lynn spends much of her time these days working with charitable organizations, such as Childhood Cancer Awareness and the Southern California Toy Run. She also boasts a successful career in real estate, which seems to be the go-to business for retired adult film stars.
7 Mary Carey - Politician + Aspiring Actress
Mary Carey was stunning and she knew it. However, she had a difficult time getting herself in front of the people she needed to be seen by in order to make it in the adult film industry. For that reason, she took it upon herself to send a couple of titillating Polaroids into Playboy and the rest, as they say, is history. Carey went on to star in a total of 102 adult films and is purported to have been earning upwards of $300,000 during the height of her fame.
While winding down her career in adult films, Carey made the decision to enter politics. Promising to legalize gay marriage and place a tax on breast augmentation surgery, she ran for governor of California on two separate occasions, though she was defeated both times. Having been retired from the industry since 2008, Carey is today trying to break into traditional acting and has scored various minor roles across LA.
6 Richard Pacheco - Writes + Lectures About Being Safe
Born Howard Marc Gordon into an orthodox Jewish family, Richard Pacheco came extraordinarily close to becoming a rabbi prior to entering the adult film industry. So close, in fact, that he applied to and was accepted by the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. It was not until Pacheco learned pursuing such a career would require him to spend a significant amount of time in Israel and become proficient in Aramaic (the virtually dead language spoken in first century Palestine), that he made a U-turn in his ambitions.
Although Pacheco’s career as an active performer came to an end in the 1980s, he has not shunned the adult entertainment industry. He has been open with his children about his former career and spends much of his time writing and lecturing about life in pornography and the importance of safe sex. The would-be rabbi is also known to collect action figures as something of a retirement hobby.
5 Asia Carrera - Stay At Home Mom
For many who enter the adult film industry, it is a last resort. It is a desperation move because they are falling behind on their rent and owe money to all sorts of scary people and don't have the skills necessary to obtain high-paying employment in any other field. That wasn’t the case for Asia Carrera, however. Carrera, a proud member of MENSA, made the decision to walk away from her studies because she wanted to pursue a career in adult movies. And what a career it was. Asia Carrera would go on to become one of the most acclaimed adult film stars of her generation, performing in a total of 407 adult films from 1993 to 2003.
Today, Carrera finds fulfillment as a stay at home mom, raising her two children in St. George, Utah, where adult entertainment is illegal and she doesn’t have to worry about being recognized.
4 Randy West - Attends Promotional Events
The adult film industry is notoriously difficult for male performers to survive in, which is one of the reasons so few males have appeared on this list. However, Randy West is recognized not just as one of the finest male performers in the adult film industry, but as one of the finest performers in the adult film industry, full stop. Over the course of his career, the New York native appeared in a mesmerizing 1300 plus adult films.
West retired from the adult film business after deciding he no longer wanted to live in Los Angeles, which is where the entire industry is based. Today, the legend resides in Las Vegas and frequently appears at celebrity golf tournaments, which allows him to keep his face in the spotlight, entertain himself, and raise money for various charitable organizations all at the same time.
3 Seka - Operates Fan Club + Writer
In 1977, a 23-year-old girl by the name of Dorothiea Ivonniea Hundley decided to embark on a career as an adult film actress. Remember, the fact that it was the 70s meant there was no end in sight for the adult film industry and no limit to what a young girl could earn. Performing under the name “Seka”, the Radford, Virginia native starred in hundreds of adult films from her debut year right up to 1993. She briefly came out of retirement in February of 2007 to shoot a hardcore scene which was distributed via pay-per-view.
Today, the former Seka lives comfortably off the money she saved during her time as an active performer in the adult film industry and operates her own online fan club from her home in Kansas City. She has had flings with cooking and gardening and in 2015 released her first book, an autobiography entitled Inside Seka.
2 John Leslie - Painter
Performing under the moniker “John Leslie”, a kid from Pittsburgh by the name of John Nuzzo established himself as one of the go-to male performers of the Golden Age of Porn. Leslie and his peers, Ron Jeremy, John Holmes, Harry Reems, and Jamie Gillis, all made millions of dollars during this period, but it was Leslie who would go down as the greatest artist of the group. Transitioning from performing to directing, John Leslie pushed the boundaries of what the adult film could be and changed the industry for the better.
After retiring from the adult film world, Leslie embarked on a career as a painter, which, along with playing music, had been his dream since he was a child. Leslie lived out the rest of his days in Mill Valley, California painting pictures and visiting with friends. Leslie passed away on the 5th of December 2010 following a stroke.
1 J.J. Michaels - Works In IT And Musician
Fans of British filmmaker Louis Theroux will recognize J.J. Michaels from his appearance in Theroux’s 1997 documentary on the Californian pornography boom. In the film, Louis and his crew are put in touch with an actor who is described as being an up and coming young pornstar. That actor is JJ Michaels, a baby-faced young man who is excited for his apparently bright future in the adult film industry.
In 2012, when Louis filmed a follow-up documentary to reconnect with the porn stars he had encountered more than a decade prior, Michaels reappeared to reveal that he had left the world of adult films. Today, J.J. is living a quiet life with his wife, working in IT during the week and pursuing a music career in his spare time as a member of the interestingly named band Shattered Destiny.
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