Jenna says she had one goal in mind since she bared all for her first adult film role in the early '90s—to become the number one porn star in the world. And that's exactly what she did. "I felt very sexual all my life," she says. "And I just applied it."
Over the years, Jenna starred in more than 100 soft- and hard-core adult films, one of which became the best-selling adult DVD of all time. As her popularity grew, so did her paycheck. At the height of her career, Jenna says she made $60,000 for a day and a half of work, and at one time, her company, ClubJenna, earned a reported $30 million a year.
Even those who've never seen a pornographic film may recognize Jenna's name and image from her mainstream projects. She's been featured in feature films and television sitcoms. Jenna even has her own wax figure at Madame Tussauds Museum!
In 2004, Jenna co-wrote her autobiography, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale, with New York Times contributor Neil Strauss. This revealing memoir spent weeks on the best-seller list.
As she toured the country promoting her book, Jenna says she began to notice that more and more women were becoming interested in porn. "I looked out over the 5,000 people there for autographs," she says. "Three-quarters of them were women."
Jenna says many women used this opportunity to discuss intimate details of their sex lives. "You'd be really surprised how open women are with me," she says. "The very first [thing] out of their mouths is, 'You taught me how to give oral sex, and my husband thanks you.'"
Jenna didn't grow up dreaming of becoming a porn star. In fact, she says she always imagined having a career like Oprah's. "I always felt like I needed to be in front of an audience, and I wanted to touch people's lives," she says. "You know, I may be touching them in a different way."
As a young starlet in the adult film industry, Jenna says she set high standards and stuck to them throughout her career. "I wanted to be the number one porn star in the world, and I wanted to do it with dignity," she says. "I wanted to change things because this industry was run by men."
While filming explicit sex scenes, Jenna says she called the shots. "I really didn't understand how women could do something so incredibly personal and not be serious about it and say: 'Listen, I am not going to have sex with more than one man in a scene. I'm not going to do it in the back,'" she says. "I changed the industry for up-and-coming starlets."
At first, Jenna says she enjoyed filming sex scenes with different men, but then, she had a change of heart. "In the beginning it was new, it was fresh. I was young. I was crazy," she says. "Then, I ended up not really liking it, not having that connection [and] feeling kind of weird about it."
Jenna decided to take some time off. During that time, she says she fell in love, got married and founded her own company, ClubJenna, which she eventually sold to Playboy for millions.
From the time ClubJenna launched in 2000 until she officially retired in 2008, Jenna says her only onscreen male sex partner was Jay Grdina, her ex-husband and fellow porn star.
"That's a big misconception about me in the industry. They think, 'Oh, she's had thousands of partners. She's a slut. She's a whore,'" she says. "But in actuality, I had sex with my husband most of the time, and I think that that's why my movies sell so well. You can see love."
Jenna and Jay's love didn't last forever. In 2006, Jenna filed for divorce. Then, she fell for Tito Ortiz, a mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighting Championship star. In 2008, they announced they were expecting twins together.
In March 2009, Jenna gave birth to their sons, Jesse and Journey. Today, she's a retired, stay-at-home mom juggling 7-month-old boys.
Go inside Jenna's multimillion-dollar home. Watch
Jenna says she struggled with infertility for years, and now that she has children, she faces a new struggle. How will she explain her pornographic past to her sons?
"The moment you become a porn star, you will always be a porn star for the rest of your life," she says. "I don't know exactly what I'm going to say to my sons, but I do know that I want them to understand that their mother loves them. I don't worry about what people think. I worry about what my sons think."
Looking back on her life, Jenna says she has few regrets. Though, some nights, she says she lies in bed and wonders what life would have been like if she'd never become an adult film actress.
"I wonder whether or not I made the right decisions by getting into the industry, because I know how incredibly capable I am," she says. "I knew I had a lot of options, but this was something that I excelled at, and I knew that I was going to make a lot of money."
Jenna says she's proud of her success and the woman she's become. "I feel like I made it happen," she says. "I love who I am. I love that I can look back and say, 'I did it my way.'"
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